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Reference Checks Are Not Enough


Performing a reference check Many HR leaders claim that they do not see any value in performing criminal background checks. This can be equated with the thought, “I’m confident that none of my employees have a criminal record,” or “I’m comfortable with the risk that my other screening processes would unequivocally rule out the potential for an employee to have a criminal history.” When worded like that, this view is cause for at least some concern.

Most organizations will run, at the bare minimum, a criminal background check. Yet, the consensus amongst some HR professionals is that criminal checks are superfluous and reference checks are sufficient when verifying information. This logic ascribes a great deal of trust to the candidate. In the same way an insurance company would not trust a prospective client to run their own driver’s abstract, why would an employer consider references provided by a candidate to be fraud proof?

A few hiring managers have made the argument that they can verify references through LinkedIn or Google to ensure that these contacts are indeed who they say they are. For the most part, a candidate will supply the prospective employer with the reference’s name, email address, and phone number. LinkedIn and Google can only verify that the person works for said company and for how long they have been there. What failsafe is there in place to verify that the phone number provided is for the candidate’s former or current supervisor?

Depending solely on reference checks places an enormous amount of trust on candidates. It puts the onus for mitigating risk on an external candidate instead of on the prospective employer. This process assumes that every piece of information that the applicant provides is entirely honest and accurate. If this is true, then HR should simply hire individuals based on their gut instincts. If the purpose of reference checks is to validate through an objective third party that the candidate is who they say they are, that they are not a threat to the safety of the prospective employer, and that the caliber of their work is in fact up to par, does a reference check ensure all these points?

Canada has a more employee-centric culture than the US, and the default is to respect the privacy of employees, to be sensitive to their rights, and to trust them until proven otherwise. These are all worthy and admirable staples of Canadian society. However, fraud does exist, employees do fail to disclose information, and candidates do provide fraudulent references. There are employees currently in the workforce with undisclosed criminal records. Wouldn’t you want to know? If the answer is “yes,” then criminal background checks should be the first stop in your screening process.

Office Workers ISB Global Services: An Industry Leader in Background Checks

ISB Global Services stands at the forefront of comprehensive background check and identity verification services, offering an indispensable resource for businesses and organizations. With a robust suite of solutions, ISB leverages advanced technologies and extensive databases to provide thorough background checks, criminal record checks, driving record checks, credential verification, and much more. Their services are designed to help employers make informed decisions, ensuring the safety, integrity, and compliance of their workforce. By partnering with ISB, companies and organizations gain access to detailed, accurate, and timely information, empowering them to build trustworthy teams and protect their operations from potential risks. ISB is your trusted partner in navigating the complexities of modern hiring, providing the insights you need to ensure your organization's future.
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