Understanding & Using Background Check for Employment in Nigeria

In the face of mounting competition within the Nigerian business landscape, organisations are intensifying their focus on maintaining exceptionally high standards. As such, business leaders conduct background checks for employment to identify trustworthy individuals who can drive business growth significantly, enhance reputation, and embody the desired work culture. 

However, attracting the best talent to your team goes beyond having a great resume. To retain high standards and remove hiring risks, it has become critical to look into a candidate’s background and verify their criminal records, employment history, credit rating, social media history, etc – before employing them. 

A wrong hire can significantly harm your organisation’s productivity, cause internal conflicts, reputational damage and costly litigation battles. As a result, an effective way to protect your business from hiring risks and potential employee issues is understanding and carrying out a comprehensive pre-employment background check. 

What Is a Background Check for Employment? 

As mentioned earlier, inherent risks come with seeking the right candidates to drive your business success. With a considerable amount of resources invested into the future of your organisation process, it is essential to carry out due diligence to ensure only credible candidates make your team. 

A background check for employment is an investigation into a candidate’s history, including previous employment, criminal record, education, referees, and other relevant information. It is one of the most effective screening techniques to determine the validity of candidates’ information. It also helps you identify red flags or potential risks that may endanger your teams’ and clients’ safety and security. 

Incorporating employee background checks into your recruitment process provides clarity and validation to hiring decisions. By doing so, you can confidently screen out potential problematic hires early enough. Conducting an employment verification check on new hires is also a legal obligation in some industries, and failure to do so may result in legal, financial and reputational consequences for your organisation. 

Why Is a Background Check for Employment Important? 

Although the most important reason for conducting a background check is to ensure you choose the right person for open positions, it is also critical to protect your business from individuals who display reckless behaviours or fraudulent tendencies. A comprehensive employee background check can provide information on a candidate’s culture fit and potential risks. 

Running a background check for employment can also help you verify candidates’ information provided on their CVs or during interviews. Unfortunately, it’s a common occurrence for candidates to falsify or lie about their achievements, prompting an increasing demand for background checks. 

In addition, maintaining compliance with state and federal laws is another reason for an employment verification check. Although this may be industry-specific and only relevant to specific positions, conducting background checks shows you did your due diligence during recruitment. Ultimately, conducting background checks can protect your employees by improving workplace safety. 

Are background checks for employment legal in Nigeria? 

Conducting background checks is legal in Nigeria and, as mentioned earlier, can help you maintain compliance in specific industries. 

In addition, the Nigerian constitution mandates that every corporate or government employee must hold an NYSC completion certificate. Similarly, the financial service industry performs KYC checks on customers and employees. 

What information can be checked? 

A background check for employment determines the candidates’ suitability for your open positions and work culture by providing information on the following: 

Employment history 

A background check can help you assess the requisite work experience and verify the accuracy of a candidate’s resume by providing information on their previous employment, including job role, duration of employment, employee’s performance, compensation and reasons for leaving. 

More often than not, the employment history check is done within the employee’s probationary period in order not to jeopardise their chance of still being in employment. 

Education and credentials 

Depending on your job requirements, a background check can verify candidates’ education and the authenticity of their credentials. In addition, you can check the legitimacy of any professional licenses and certifications that may be required to perform on the job. This helps you ensure they have the qualifications to perform on the job. 

Criminal history 

This is one of the most common and important screening methods in many organisations. It verifies whether potential employees have criminal records, including prior arrests, pending cases, and past convictions and sentences. Getting a hand on this information helps you mitigate significant recruitment risks by hiring someone with a criminal history. 

Credit history 

Some organisations also check the candidate’s credit history, which reveals their financial stability. The credit history check determines how responsible candidates are with money and provides information on outstanding debts, bankruptcies or other financial issues. 

Social media activity 

Social media background check is gaining popularity in Nigeria. You may choose to also investigate a potential employee’s social media profile and activity to get insights into their personality and ensure they’re a good fit. Running a social media history check can provide information on negative behaviour, such as bullying, extremist political or religious views, excessive foul language and more. 

Drug use/history 

Like social media checks, the drug test is increasingly becoming a standard procedure for many employers. It may be necessary to prevent a lack of productivity and maintain a safe workplace. 

Other background checks you may consider include; 

  • Residence/Address verification 
  • Referee/Guarantor Verification 
  • Previous employer verification 
  • NYSC certificate verification 
  • Driving records. 

How to Run a Background Check for Employment in Nigeria 

Conducting a proper background check in Nigeria is critical to ensure you have credible employees, and it can be straightforward if you follow the right steps. These steps include: 

Create a background check policy 

Establishing a background check policy is important to guide the conduct of the process and ensure applicable laws and regulations are followed. The policy should specify the kind of checks to be carried out, when they can be conducted and the process for obtaining the candidate’s consent. 

Define the scope of your background investigation 

It is important to identify the areas your background checks will cover, such as employment history, education verification, criminal history, reference checks and social media history. The scope of your background checks may vary depending on the position, level of risk involved or your organisation’s policies. 

Inform your candidates 

In Nigeria, obtaining consent from candidates before conducting a background check is critical. While doing this, you must also explain the scope and impact the process will have on your hiring decisions. This disclosure will prove crucial for legal purposes. 

Conduct the background checks 

Once you’ve obtained the candidate’s consent, it’s time to make the necessary calls, meet relevant contacts and enlist the help of an online background check website.  

Partner with a reputable background check company in Nigeria 

On the other hand, verifying the authenticity of documents or checking if your candidates have criminal records can be a time-consuming process and a distraction from core business operations. As such, outsourcing your background checks process to a reputable and reliable background checks service provider like Workforce Group with access to relevant information sources is critical to the success of your business. 

Review the results to determine candidate’s validity 

After completing your background check process, review the results critically to determine the candidate’s worthiness. Your decision to progress with any candidate must depend solely on the entirety of the results from the background check process. 

If the information you review raises red flags or other concerns, you can evaluate whether this will be a risk to your organisation and move on to other candidates who may be better fits. 

Whether it’s time, cost, organisational reputation or the safety of employees and clients, hiring the wrong person can significantly affect your organisation. A comprehensive background check for employment can help you make informed hiring decisions and provide reassurance that your chosen candidate is qualified for the job and is a good fit for the organisation. 

How We Can Help… 

For over 19 years, we’ve been the partner of choice for Nigeria’s most prominent brands across several industries. We offer them accurate, reliable and comprehensive pre-employment verification services to reduce inherent hiring risks, create a safer work environment and ensure only the right candidates fill their open positions. 

You can partner with us today, and let’s help build a team of trustworthy and high-performing professionals. To get started, kindly schedule a free consultation with one of our expert consultants today or send us an email to hello@workforcegroup.com.

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