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Four ways to get your candidate's permission before you start a background check

by , 22 May 2014
With recruitment comes things like doing background and reference checks. But did you know you have to get a job candidate's permission to do a background check first. Otherwise, you'll be violating their rights to privacy.

And if you do that, you may have to face the CCMA.

Since, you can't just assume because he's applying for a job he's okay with you looking into his past, you need to use these four tips to get their permission and keep your recruitment process moving.

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You employment contract is a vital document! You must ensure you develop it along the legal requirements. There are 16 clauses you have to include. 
And we've included the 12 others that will protect you as an employer. 

Here are four ways to get a candidate's permission to do a background check

One overriding rule of background checks is get permission in writing. This way, a candidate can't claim you didn't ask him. 
Here are the Practical Guide to Human Resources for Mangers' four ways of doing that: 
#1. Make it clear in your job advert that you carry out background checks for employment. Because you've said it in your advert, they automatically consent to it when they apply.
#2. Make job candidates fill out an application form. This form must include a tick-box to give permission to do background checks.
#3. Contact each candidate and ask them to send you a letter. This letter must give you permission to do a background check.
#4. Tell each short listed candidate that background checks are part of your recruitment process. Ask them if they're okay with this. To prove this verbal agreement, you can record the interview or ask someone on the interview panel to be your legal witness.
If you use any of these four methods, you won't be in danger of violating your candidate's rights. But do you know what you should be checking for?
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Look for these crucial things when you do a background check

Some of the things you should look for in a background check are:
1. Criminal record;
2. Driver's license and driving records;
3. Credit history; and
4. Employment history check.
For the full downloadable 22 point checklist, take a look at this article
Ensure you use one of these methods to get permission, so you can get the information you need.

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