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Screening done right

Compliance in every company is different, but there are some basic introductory steps that everyone should undertake. As Global Service Assurance Director, for Hays Talent Solutions, I’ve had a fair amount of experience of the good, the bad and the ugly, so here’s my summary on the basics you should except when scoping out an outsourced service.

Background screening, verification, Pre-Employment Screening (PES), all of these are terms used to describe the compliance policies and checks that candidates must complete to be able to work legally and to comply with your specific requirements.

Getting startedWhen outsourcing your recruitment, your provider should work with you to map out a detailed specification of your current compliance and screening requirements, whilst also advising you on any legal requirements and recommending best practice and any process improvements that might be required.

Common pitfallsWe tend to find that there is variable control in place for contingent workers, as companies rely on their suppliers to manage this for them. This presents risks when working with a large supply list. For example, if there is no contract or formal relationship in place, they might not be educated sufficiently on your company specific processes. Many times, I have worked on a new implementation and found that current contingent workers didn’t have the appropriate checks in place, and we’ve all heard the stories in the press where workers are found to be working for months without the correct visas! Whilst it is the supplier’s responsibility to manage the legal compliance of contingent workers, such as eligibility to work, they might not know to check for specific requirements such as a client confidentiality form or a credit check.

To help address this when we manage an outsourced service for our clients, we ask compliance related questions, such as; will this candidate be handling financially sensitive data? Is a medical check required? Is this candidate going to be working with children or vulnerable adults? We make it our job to help to educate our clients and to understand their business so that we can make an informed decision on which compliance checks are required.

One size does not fit allI have found that companies can sometimes take a blanket approach to compliance for all roles and locations within their organisation. This can lead to a costly and lengthy on-boarding process when it might not always be warranted and in some cases may not be legally permitted. In the United States for example, you can’t verify the candidate’s right to work until after an offer is made, where-as this check would be conducted much earlier in the process for most other regions.
We also need to take data protection legislation into consideration which differs by region. In Germany, although we must sight the candidate’s eligibility to work, we are not able to photocopy or keep a copy of it on file, where as in the UK, it is a legal requirement to have an employee of the hiring company (or agency if contingent) view the original right to work document and certify and retain a copy on file. In Poland on the other end of the spectrum it is not a legal requirement to view right to work documents at all!

The process around obtaining references can also differ by region. In Germany, it is not commonplace to conduct them as applicants will have received a letter of reference from their previous employer, which will have rated their performance. References can be taken if requested but explicit consent from the applicant is required.

Registration documents can also differ by region. In our Hays business in Singapore, Hong Kong and China, we ask our candidates to declare that they are registering with Hays of their own free will. By acknowledging the declaration on the registration form, candidates are providing their acceptance and agreement to working with Hays and acknowledge the information they provide is true and correct and that they have approached Hays for work of their own free will.

Vendor Management Systems (VMS), such as our propriety 3Story Software (3SS), can be configured to allow all requirements to be identified at requisition stage, pre-populated into the system. This could be per location, job family, job title / grade or even by cost code or hiring manager – a receptionist might not need the same level of checks that a financial analyst would.

Your outsourcing provider is then responsible for creating the tools and processes to manage the governance surrounding this and to ensure that your direct delivery teams, as well as your managed suppliers, comply with all requirements. Within your VMS, your teams should have the visibility to check that a candidate does have all of their compliance in place (within data protection guidelines) allowing you to effectively manage, monitor and report on compliance on an ongoing basis.

Compliance isn’t just for new startersCompliance isn’t just about upfront checks, it’s also an ongoing process of ensuring visas are still valid and any qualifications, memberships or certifications are renewed if required. For example, in Australia, to protect our client’s, candidates and ourselves we insist on an online Health and Safety training course to be completed prior to start date as well as annual refreshers for all of our contingent workers.

Making compliance part of the processOne of the most important elements within the recruitment process is managing expectations upfront, with both the client and the candidate about what to expect and what the average length of the onboarding process is. To support this we have produced some very simple process flows that our sourcing and recruitment partners share with our hiring managers and our candidates.

This manages their expectations around timescales, and highlights any bumps we might come across along the way, such as a negative reference or a failed criminal background check. This also helps us to save you time and to manage fallouts in the screening process effectively.

From speaking to our clients, we know that one of the key frustrations is for them to find the best person for the job and to make an offer, only to find out that they don’t satisfy legal and compliance requirements.

Self-elimination is helpful at the application and screening point, so we make sure we educate candidates on the requirements. This ensures our candidates get the best possible experience and doesn’t waste any of their valuable time and ensures that our hiring managers don’t need to review resumes or interview candidates that we know won’t pass the compliance checks.

If your business is looking to mitigate risk, consider outsourcing your contingent workforce, and speak to your preferred outsourced provider about implementing a robust process and technology to be able to record, monitor and report on legal and company specific compliance requirements. 


Elly Solomou
Elly Solomou
Global Service Assurance Director, Hays Talent Solutions

Joining Hays in 2005 as an onsite consultant for one of Hays Talent Solution’s local government accounts, Elly progressed her career to manage key accounts in the UK, including clients in the Financial, IT and Public Sectors, before taking the opportunity to move to Sydney in 2012.

Elly worked across Australia and New Zealand, and was responsible for the successful delivery of Hays Talent Solution’s accounts and the governance and compliance function as well as the project management of the implementation of expanded services to numerous clients.

Elly transferred back to the UK in 2014 where she is now responsible for ensuring we have the correct tools and processes in place globally to support ongoing governance and mitigate risk in the delivery of our services to both our client’s and candidates.

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