What background checks should I do as a tech scaleup?

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You’ve spent weeks reviewing CVs and interviewing applicants, and finally landed on your perfect candidate. Success!

Naturally, you want to onboard your new team member as quickly as possible, so you can crack on with the important job of building your business. BUT, before you go any further, there are a few bits of paperwork to get sorted first—including background checks.

These checks don’t need to be arduous, but they are necessary, to ensure your brilliant new hire is who they say they are, and that they really have the qualifications and experience that they claim on their CV.

When it comes to deciding which checks are needed for each specific role, it comes down to what is relevant and appropriate. Not every role will require every possible check, as we’ll explain further below.  

Ensure that you always ask the candidate for their permission before proceeding with background checks and be transparent about how their information will be obtained. Respecting the candidate’s privacy is paramount under GDPR.

So, down to business—which background checks are required in tech startups?

  • Right to work: All employers are legally required to carry outRight-to-work checks can be carried out quickly and simply, by obtaining one of the acceptable documents, checking its validity with the candidate present, then making and retaining a copy of the document and recording the date that it was checked. If you fail to do this, you could face a fine of up to £20,000.
  • References: Research has shown that  have lied on a job application or CV - so, your perfect candidate might not be so perfect after all. That’s why it’s so important to verify a candidate’s employment history, either by contacting previous employers yourself or using a platform like Zinc to do this for you. You may choose to only check a candidate’s most recent roles, or to verify a set time period, for example, five years.
  • Education: It’s a similar situation with educational qualifications, with a shocking admitting to falsifying their degree to get a job. Yet, a significant number of employers never verify this information, which can be done simply by requesting certificates or checking with the educational institution itself.
  • Background checks: If a candidate claims to have certain professional qualifications that are vital to the role, you should also verify these. Again, this can be done by requesting original certificates or contacting the awarding institution directly.
  • Credit check: While not required for all roles, a credit check may be appropriate for certain financial services hires, including if you’re a fintech business, to reduce the risk of fraudulent activity. This is often the case where an individual will have responsibility over the finances of either the company or its customers, or where they’ll have access to sensitive financial information as part of their duties.  
  • Criminal Record: Similarly, criminal records checks aren’t standard practice for most tech roles, however if you operate in fintech, this may be appropriate for some positions where an individual is handling sensitive financial information. Criminal checks are also carried out in businesses that operate in government, healthcare or childcare, however this is unlikely to be the case for most tech startups.
  • Address checks: This can range from confirming the addresses the person has lived at to verify that the identification documents the person has provided are authentic, such as their passport or driving license. These checks ensure that the person you are hiring is who they claim to be, safeguarding your company and reducing risk.

Background checks might seem like unnecessary admin, but they’re worth the effort, to avoid taking on a fraudulent applicant, or being hit with a. And if you use a background checking platform like Zinc, they’ll be done and dusted in no time - leaving you to focus on growing your business.

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