FilePino Asks: Which practices protect the interests of both employers and applicants during background checks?

FilePino Asks: Which practices protect the interests of both employers and applicants during background checks?

Your rank-and-file staff, including your administrative officers, perform some of the most important tasks in a company, essentially making them the business’ backbone.

This makes it incredibly important — especially for those operating startup businesses in the Philippines — to put together a team of skilled, trustworthy employees who can help achieve the business’ goals. However, how do you make sure that you’re hiring only the right personnel?

This is where background checks — long considered to be an integral part of any business startup checklist — come in.

Part and parcel of the usual hiring process, background checks are usually done not just to confirm and vet the information supplied by the applicants in their CVs, but also, to filter out any bad apples, or as HR would say, any applicants who are not the right fit for a company.

Conducting background checks, however, can be quite tricky, as the process — when done incorrectly or without the proper diligence — can actually violate a person’s privacy by unnecessarily probing into sensitive information that may not even be relevant to the position for which the candidate is applying.

Here are some ways that an employer can ethically conduct a background check on its potential employees, while at the same time, protect their company’s interests:

Transparency and consent with background checks

The applicant should be properly informed of the company’s desire to collect and vet information related to his or her background, in accordance with Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012. It is important that employers not forget to do this, as this is a crucial step in getting the applicant’s informed consent.

Stay within parameters and collect only necessary and relevant information

As important as they are, employers must remember that even the most stringent of background checks have limitations, particularly when it comes to collecting and processing information regarding private individuals.

What this means is that employers — and the third-party recruitment agencies — must only collect and process information that is relevant to the individual’s application. This includes their educational background, employment history, professional eligibility, and any criminal liabilities.

Be consistent with the background checks

It is important that employers keep their background checks uniform and consistent. This means subjecting individuals vying for the same job to the same searches and investigations. Not only will this create a more streamlined process, this also protects the company from accusations of bias and other discriminatory practices.

Establish constant communication with the applicant

Employers must make it a point to constantly check in with the applicant during the entire process, especially when sensitive information that could potentially affect their employment comes up. This is important since direct communication not only allows the applicant to explain and address any issues that arise, it also gives the employer a chance to better evaluate the applicant.

Protect the security of the applicant’s data

Employers must always consider the safety and security of the sensitive information they collect and process. This means protecting them against any unauthorized access, misuse, alteration, and destruction. One way to do this is by ensuring that only people who are directly involved in the hiring process have access to the data.

In addition, employers must only retain the applicant’s information for only as long as necessary. Once they have decided on the individual’s application or a defined and agreed length of time has passed, the collected data must be disposed of in a secure manner.

Risk mitigation is one of the most important considerations an entrepreneur must think about when starting a business in the Philippines.This applies to all your systems, whether it’s supplies or operations. It also applies to who you invite to join your company.

While you need to hire the best people you can for your company, you also must be mindful and aware of how you obtain, store, and disperse personal information. It is incredibly important that employers stay in absolute compliance with existing laws, such as the Data Privacy Act. By doing so, not only does a company protect its potential employees, it also protects its own corporate interests as it will be acting in an ethical, responsible, and law-abiding manner.

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