Criminal record checks remain the employee screening check of choice and most companies across the globe conduct criminal and non-criminal background checks.

Criminal background checks are increasing significantly in companies based in the USA, while non-criminal background checks are more common in the rest of the world. A background check should include not only the verification of the information on a CV, e.g. qualifications, references, etc. In addition, it should consist of fundamental personality issues such as integrity.

Globally 93% of organisations report doing some background check, and 76% of organisations have a company employee screening policy.

In 2021, the top three reasons for conducting background checks were to:

• protect employees and customers (76%)

• improve the quality of hires (52%)

• protect company reputation (41%).

In South Africa, the criminal justice system is on its knees. According to the police, there is only a 48% chance of identifying those committing crimes. The conviction rate is down to 15%, but for the victims of rape, this is worse at a mere 11%. A criminal record check will not necessarily identify a potential employee with criminal intent in South Africa, and from within, it is believed that fewer organisations are pursuing criminal action and are keener on taking civil action against the perpetrator.

The 2022 ACFE Report to the Nations states that new employees are more likely to have a criminal record, but only 6% of fraud perpetrators had a criminal record.

It is common knowledge that the hiring process is the first place where an organisation can reduce the risk of insider threat behaviour, but the process must be more than a tick box.

Ensure your employee screening policy is updated regularly and includes more than a mere criminal record check. It must address the risk your organisation faces.

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