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Background Checking

There are basically two scenarios for conducting background checks on an individual, firstly:


Different from the work related checks that you would ideally carry out on potential new employees. These would involve checks on a prospective babysitter for example, your “significant other”, general curiosity or even a self check. The rules around these kind of checks are less defined and understood so therefore less enforced than the main subject of this article i.e. those concerned in a professional setting. In general terms no written consent is required to conduct such checks, however even if there is even the slightest hint of an employer/employee relationship, written consent is a must.


The first thing to ask yourself is what is the purpose of conducting the check…is it part of the screening process for a potential new recruit to your business? or maybe you are a landlord wanting some background on a new tenant. In both cases the results of such checks will reveal information that will enable you to make important decisions about them and their future.

There are several laws that dictate what you can and cannot do in this situation. Crucially, you must get written consent from the person involved to carry out the checks, failure to do so means you are quite simply breaking the law! In addition to that wake up call is the fact that you are ignoring and disrespecting the legally protected rights of the prospective employee or tenant. Be warned then that failing to comply can lead to legal action being instigated.

So now hopefully you have your signed consent document and your ducks in general, “are in a row”…what then can you reasonably expect a professionally managed series of background checks to reveal?

  • Confirmation of the applicants ID number.
  • Credit bureau verification, this check scrutinizes a candidates credit history. Non negotiable I would suggest for potentially high risk financial positions. Indeed “financially” focused employees should be credit bureau checked every two years.
  • Academic qualifications, both secondary (matric) and tertiary (college or university), locally as well as internationally. These checks should confirm dates as well.
  • Employment history, do the facts back up what is reflected in the applicants CV, in terms of positions and dates reflected?
  • Residency status confirmation, both citizenship and permanent residence.
  • Drivers license, key obviously for anyone who’s KPI’s include driving a company vehicle.
  • Reference checks, a sensitive area, which an employer should handle with discretion and the full “buy in” of the applicant.
  • Professional Association Membership, it could well be that membership of one or more professional associations is a prerequisite in terms of the position applied for.

So then, whilst in a perfect world we would believe and trust in human integrity, very often half truths and even bald faced and downright lies are told in an attempt to secure a position.
Alarming data reveals that almost 60% of employers rely merely on gut feel and fail to carry out even the most basic of checks. This very often results in a costly and time consuming CCMA intervention when trying to get the significantly less than capable employee off your back!

The team at Labour Associates specialize in conducting full, in-depth and reliable background checking. Let us handle this critical element of your recruitment process. We’re able to provide you with the peace of mind that you have more than a fighting chance of recruiting the right round peg for your particular round hole!

Call Andrew at Labour Associates on 078 344 8463

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