Conducting International Background Checks 3 Dec 2017



In the U.S., background checks for employers are fairly standard practice. In other countries, that may not be the case. If you’re thinking of hiring an applicant who is not from the U.S., they may not be familiar with the common practice. What’s more, based on their culture and experience, your request to conduct an international background check may be met with skepticism and concern.

It can be even more complex when a company decides to expand to other locations outside of the U.S. Even though you may be headquartered in the U.S., you must understand local laws about employee background checks to ensure you’re following fair and legal hiring practices.

There are a few things you can do to help ensure you’re being cautious and law-abiding toward non-U.S. employees:

Create a Standard Employment Screening Policy

Consistency is important when conducting any type of background check. Inconsistencies can be shown as points of discrimination or poor hiring practices that can lead to lawsuits. That’s why it’s important to create a detailed policy that the company can follow during all hiring procedures. Make notations about standard practices in the U.S. as well as any variations based on other locations where the company is established.

Know the International Laws and Stay Flexible

Background check regulations and requirements differ greatly by country. International laws may dictate different procedures regarding data and privacy. If you’re hiring for an international location, you must keep the most recent laws in mind, so be flexible with your policy. If you’re hiring a non-U.S. employee for a U.S.-based job, you can follow standard U.S. regulations; however, keep in mind these steps may not be familiar to the candidate. If you can clearly explain the information you’ll need and why, hopefully you’ll be met with less suspicion because you’ve helped the candidate better understand your rationale and any cultural differences.

Plan for Extended Hiring Times

You may be accustomed to a standard background check taking five business days. However, when dealing with a non-U.S. candidate or conducting an international background check for a non-U.S. location, it can take much longer. Some governments have many more regulations, and it takes time to jump through the hoops to properly access the necessary information. Additionally, it’s important to keep local context in mind. For example, getting accurate information from a candidate from a country with a regime governmental system may be extremely difficult. This type of corruption may dramatically affect the results of an international background check.

For more information about foreign labor and how to verify the candidate you hire is legal to work in the U.S., visit the Department of Labor website.