Overview of Background Screening

Background screening (also known as Background checks) is the process of checking and verifying various pieces of personal and confidential information on an individual or organisation.

This information is used to verify whether an individual or organisation is being truthful and transparent about their credentials. Such checks are also used as a proactive step in identifying and reducing or mitigating potential hiring and procurement risk, based on tangible available information.

Background checks are often requested by employers as part of a screening process on potential employee candidates. The process may be conducted prior to, or post appointment, or during employment. Depending on the employer’s unique requirements, the overall aim of the process is often to (1) verify that a candidate is who they say they are, (2) confirm that the candidate’s academic and/or experience or other professional registration or membership claims are true, and (3) that their character and capabilities are in line with the job profile. This ethos is similar when conducting background checks on potential suppliers as part of the procurement screening process, though with the addition of verifying if a supplier’s operations and practices are above board and compliant with the legislation of the country.

The process of conducting background checks has always been especially important for employers in industries that require high security or a position of trust, such as in a school, hospital, financial institution, airport, and national services or state-owned entities, for example. However, as business and operating markets become increasingly globalised, hiring and procurement markets have become more globally competitive, and the need to have trusted employees and suppliers is greater than ever. As a result, in recent years the practice of background screening has experienced steady growth across industries. We believe this can be attributed to increasing awareness by public and private sector as to the potential reputational and financial risks of making an unsuitable staff or supplier appointment – and the desire to mitigate and manage this potential risk as far as possible.

MIE offers a wide variety of background checks that can be conducted on individuals both in Southern Africa and internationally. MIE also offers several background checks that can be conducted against suppliers/vendors.

The most widely conducted background checks performed by MIE on individuals include:

  • Qualification Verification
  • Criminal record checks
  • Credit checks
  • Previous employment history and reference checks
  • Identity checks

The most widely conducted background checks performed by MIE on suppliers include:

  • Company Checks
  • Deed search
  • CompanyWorld Check
  • Directorship Checks
  • B-BBEE Certificate Verifiation
  • SARS Verification
  • COID Verification

Other checks that can be conducted are driver’s licence checks, psychometric testing and skill assessments, membership to organisations and associations, FAIS, sequestration and social media checks on both an individual or company.

MIE verifications are in line with legislation, requiring the signed consent of the individual prior to the checks being conducted.