The 2019 EMEA Employment Screening Benchmark Report from HireRight shows that a staggering 83 per cent of surveyed HR professionals discovered candidates who had misrepresented information during the recruitment process. The most common CV discrepancies found were regarding previous employment history (56 per cent) and education credentials (49 per cent). Worryingly, 37 per cent of respondents also reported candidate criminal record discrepancies. This could explain why the report found 13 per cent more EMEA companies carrying out criminal record checks this year.
Hiring bias emerged as an area of increasing concern for businesses in the 2019 Report. 39 per cent of HR professionals have known people in their organisation to rely on ‘gut instinct’ to recruit high-profile positions. The notable drop in the number of companies undertaking social media checks (from 26 per cent in 2018 to 14 per cent in 2019) could be indicative of this.
Whilst social media checks appear to be in decline, 18 per cent of EMEA businesses are now carrying out adverse media checks. This is a public record check for adverse mentions of a candidate/employee in online news publications, excluding social media. The report showed that some industries have already broadly adopted this check as part of their screening programs.
Those working in the financial services sector are up to three times more likely to run adverse media checks. 55 per cent are utilising the check on their new hires, with 46 per cent also using it on their current workforce. This suggests protecting their company reputation both pre and post-hire may be a higher priority in this regulated sector.
Many businesses may have not yet adjusted their screening practices to reflect the rise in temporary and contract work. As such, they could be leaving themselves open to unnecessary risk. The report found that only 68 per cent screen temporary or contingent workers, and just 58 per cent of businesses screen independent contractors. It also saw that for short-term or junior roles, EMEA businesses are far less likely to screen their wider workforce. Only 37 per cent of interns and 16 per cent of volunteers are subject to screening processes.
“The world of work is changing in many ways,” notes Peter Cleverton, general manager, EMEA at HireRight. “In particular, the rise in temporary and contract work in EMEA has provided opportunities for businesses and employees to operate more flexibly. However, as our research shows, many businesses are needlessly opening themselves up to reputational risk by not treating temporary workers with the same level of rigour as their permanent employees.
“Businesses are increasingly aware of how important it is to protect themselves from ineffective or deliberately harmful individuals, particularly those in senior positions,” he continued. “It is interesting to see the growing trend of businesses implementing adverse media checks in light of this growing concern, particularly within the financial services sector. It is evident that more businesses are seeing this type of screening as a more effective way to mitigate reputational damage.”