Identity Verification
Background Verification: A Practical Guide
Learn why your business needs background verification, what a background check includes, the everyday challenges of background verification.
October 30, 2023
min read

What Is Background Verification?

Background verification (BGV) refers to the process of verifying personal background information about an individual. Organizations typically perform background verification when recruiting new employees to ensure each candidate poses minimal risk. This process includes identity verification and several checks where the recruiter looks at the candidate or employee's address, educational records, past employment details, and resume. 

Background verification usually occurs after a candidate passes the required interviews and can take ten working days to complete. However, in some cases, the process can take longer—for example, if the employer checks for more in-depth information.

What about Photo ID Verification? 

Although employees sometimes use photo ID verification services, their primary use is for certain online purchases. For example, tobacco, alcohol, firearms, and adult entertainment follow their own rules and regulations where verification before purchase is necessary.

In this article:

Why Is Background Verification Important?

Due to globalization, Companies can connect with a nearly infinite source of international talent. Background checks can help organizations evaluate and hire from a quickly expanding and evolving workforce.

Verify Employment Qualifications

A pre-employment check can help employers decide if the information a candidate provides is valid. Unfortunately, research shows that most job applicants lie or consider lying during the job application process. 

Here are some of the most common misrepresentations. Prospective employees might incorrectly claim:

  • Ability and proficiency in skills
  • Having worked in a company longer than they truly have
  • Having a degree from an educational institution
  • Having better grades in an educational institute than they did 
  • Earning a higher salary than they did
  • Holding a more elevated position at a company than they did

Hiring a candidate who lacks the skills or ability can be detrimental to the company and impact businesses on several levels. Employers can save time, money, frustration and avoid these mistakes with the help of background screening.


Safeguard Corporate Systems

A valuable asset to any company is an honest employee who fits their culture well. Hiring employees like this may require more vetting in specific industries. For example, in industries where employees have direct contact with customers like transportation, finance, day-care, healthcare, and education, they may access sensitive customer information. 

In some cases, employees turn into insider threats which can endanger sensitive data or customers' safety. Therefore, a company must ensure that employees are trustworthy and not represent a liability. Doing so can significantly reduce the chances of security incidents originating from insiders.

Maintain Compliance

Many companies comply with regulations or industry standards. However, compliance can be complex, mainly when businesses operate globally and manage requirements across multiple countries.

Depending on the industry, each country or region may have its legal requirements for employees. Background checks can ensure that hired employees have the legal right to work, have all the required paperwork, and possess the qualifications required by law for their profession. 

What Does Background Verification Process Include?

A background verification process typically includes checking the following information about a prospective employee:

  • Identity—verifying the employee is whom they say they are by verifying their official documentation or unique characteristics.
  • Previous employment—confirming an employee worked in previous organizations as stated in their resume and their duration of employment. 
  • Criminal background—confirming an employee has a clean criminal record and whether they were involved in an activity like violent or sexual offenses, fraud, or embezzlement.
  • Education verification—confirm that educational certificates provided by the employee are valid and that their claims are genuine about their degree and grades attained.
  • Reference checks—speaking to previous employers, gathering information about the employee's past performance and behavior, and cross-referencing it with the information provided by the candidate.
  • Drug screening—in some industries, it is a regulatory requirement to test whether drugs or alcohol are present in an individual's blood system—both during initial employment and periodically during the period of work.
  • Social media check—cross-referencing information provided by the candidate with details available in social media networks. 

Challenges of Background Verification

The COVID-19 pandemic introduced additional challenges to the employment process. As a result, organizations are looking for new solutions to increase their accuracy and efficiency when screening and hiring candidates. Challenges for performing background verification include:

  • Organizations and services have experienced delays in processing time, including governmental and educational institutions, labs, and screening providers. Recruiters are thus under pressure to hire employees while struggling to complete full background checks. However, companies that employ unverified employees might expose themselves to untrustworthy individuals, potentially risking their security and reputation.
  • Recruitment process—with most companies enabling remote work and even a remote hiring process, recruiters can miss out on the essential advantages of face-to-face interviews. In addition, remote interviews make it harder to gauge a candidate's authenticity and credibility, potentially complicating and slowing down the overall screening process and presenting an obstacle for completing necessary paperwork.
  • Address check delays—in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations have refrained from sending out executives to verify applicants' addresses physically. The pandemic has also seen many individuals moving to temporary addresses, especially during lockdowns, making it harder to trace the current place of residence.
  • Police checks—police clearances are also subject to lengthy delays caused by logistical limitations such as inadequate tech infrastructure. 
  • Criminal check delays—delays affect criminal checks primarily because many sources are closed, and the workforce is scarce. In addition, some courts have restricted access to records or have suspended operations. Background verification requires such checks to ensure the employer's security.
  • Education and employment check delays—with many organizations closing due to the pandemic, either temporarily or permanently, it can be difficult to retrieve information from previous employers. In addition, educational institutions mostly switched to remote operations or reduced hours, making searching records to confirm a candidate's educational history more complicated. 

What Is Background Check Software?

Background check software allows organizations to digitize and automate various background verification processes. These tools can help request, obtain, and track each applicant's background check. Background check vendors typically combine services and software offerings—they might provide everything themselves or partner with a third-party service provider. 

Companies can leverage background check software to create a streamlined, centralized background check solution to help save time and enhance security. In addition, the software can help ensure that background checks cover all relevant details, minimizing human error. Background check software may be available as a stand-alone or optional feature set in a comprehensive onboarding or recruitment platform.

Identity Verification with BlueCheck

BlueCheck's industry-leading identity verification infrastructure helps businesses verify the identity of new employees. Our solutions are custom-tailored to the unique needs of our customers, including PACT Act and eCommerce compliant offerings. 

Schedule a call today with a BlueCheck specialist to learn more about our Age & ID Verification solutions.