In 2017, 90% of all cyber claims had a human cause

Pre-employment background checksContrary to popular belief, it’s not always the machines that make the errors. Research by Willis Towers Watson shows that 66% of cyber breaches were down to employer negligence or malicious acts – in other words, insufficient technical security only accounted for a third of the cyber violations.

Furthermore, IBM’s Cyber Security Intelligence Index found that in 2016, 60% of all cyber attacks were carried out by insiders, with nearly 75% of them having malicious intent. Insiders are one of the most prominent threats to your data, but how do you deal with them?

Digging up the past

Pre-employment screening is something of a grey area. On the one hand, it gives you an indication of who you’re dealing with, but on the other, it can seem like an invasion of privacy. Is it right for a person’s employability to be affected by actions in their past? Can they be dismissed for their past actions? Do you have a right to delve into their personal life and character? There may not be any legal repercussions for performing such a check, but the ethical questions are numerous and substantial.

The decision should be purely based on the situation. Not all screening is the same, and de-pending on the sensitivity of the data, the checks can be more in-depth and more thorough. Additionally, it’s typically the air of mystery that can cause employees to become nervous about the checks.

Make sure everything is clear

Enforcing transparency around your policies on pre-employment screening is the best way to reduce this nervousness. Have a written policy that states your stances on background checks, when they will be performed and on whom. When hiring, make it clear how and when these checks will be performed – your potential employees will appreciate the honesty.

Many of the ethical questions tend to arise from the issue of consent. Does the person being screened really have a choice in the matter when the alternative might be losing a new job opportunity? By making it clear from the outset that these checks will occur, you give them that choice back, removing the pressure and as a result, removing the nervousness.

Remember that this screening will collect a lot of personal and sensitive data about the target. You must be very careful about how you store or process this data to ensure that you remain GDPR compliant.

Don’t go in alone

One thing is for sure, if you’re serious about background checks and pre-employment screening, then a bit of digging on social media isn’t going to cut it. At Blackhawk, we can conduct comprehensive background checks on both existing staff and potential employees, giving you an in-depth of their history and motivations. Our services are tailored to your business and ensure that you fall on the right side of the statistics.

To find out more about how we can help, give us a call on +44 (0)20 8108 9317.

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Background checks: an ethical debate


Background checks occupy an awkward middle ground. On the one hand they can offer your company much greater security and peace of mind, but on the other hand at times they can feel like an invasion of privacy. How can you tell if your employment screening is going too far, and what can you do to remedy it?