Background checking on the increase despite hiring slowdown

Experian Background Checking, the specialist candidate verification service, today revealed that the volume of recruitment background checks carried out in the first quarter of 2009 has increased by three per cent, despite the sharp drop in recruitment levels owing to the recession[1]. The increase, measured against the same period in 2008 (January to March), demonstrates a tightening of recruitment practices across all sectors and company sizes.

With the economic downturn, attrition rates in companies are low as employees opt to stay where they are to retain their jobs in an unstable market and businesses recruiting are setting high standards for candidates to reach.

Avis Easteal, General Manager at Experian Background Checking, commented: “The tightening of recruitment practices is a response to the wide pool of candidates that employers can now select from. In times of recession, candidates are more likely to exaggerate their skills and or qualifications on their CV and employers want to be sure of selecting the right candidate. With companies reigning in costs at every opportunity, they don’t want to make a costly recruitment mistake.”

In addition, over the last quarter Experian has seen organisations increasingly looking beyond traditional employment references and requesting additional authentication, criminal record and adverse finance checks. Seven per cent of criminal record checks undertaken over the period highlighted convictions not disclosed in the application thus demonstrating the importance of this check.

Avis Easteal commented: “Organisations are increasingly aware of the financial, legal and reputational risks that recruiting a new employee can expose them to. Employers are becoming more diligent in their decision making and carrying out checks on the character of the candidate through Criminal Record and adverse finance checks rather than just focusing on their ability to do the job. Criminal record and adverse finance checks give known facts on which a decision can be made. Firms are rightly cautious and vetting candidates to a greater degree.”

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