Your questions

It's understandable that you may have some questions about screening and the processes involved. We've tried to cover the frequently asked questions below. But, if we don't answer your question, please phone us on 020 8886 1509 or email us on info@whosreallywho.co.uk

Q: What are the risks with any application?

A: There are always risks with any application for a job or funding. This is because it's not difficult to:
  • falsify employment histories
  • fabricate qualifications
  • assume different identities (including professional identities)
  • make up false yet believable references
Appearances can be deceptive, and unfortunately employers normally only get to know when it's too late.

Q: What is the statistical risk with any application?

A: Here are some of the figures...

Staff turnover

A Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) survey showed that the average company loses one in every six staff each year. Alarmingly, one in five leavers goes after less than six months.

False identity and fraud

Research shows that seven in ten CVs contain misleading or false details, while one in twenty job candidates are not who they claim to be. A MORI survey suggests that more than 7.5 million of Britain's 25.3 million working population have misled their potential employer when applying for a job.

6% of total business revenue was lost through fraud across the UK during 2003. Half of these frauds were in the region of £100k, and 17% were more than £1m. According to a Price Waterhouse Coopers survey, almost nine in ten (89%) of UK business frauds are committed by employees.

Q: Is screening a worthwhile investment?

A: Professional screening helps companies minimise the chance of fraud and uphold their reputation internally and externally. More immediately perhaps, it also helps companies to minimise employee turnover.

With lower employee turnover rates, costs are reduced for recruitment, selection and induction training. What's more, the company benefits from happier, more productive members of staff.

An employee who contributes to the bottom line for several years is clearly a valuable asset. It's suggested that a company employing someone in a £30,000 role will, on average, invest £60,000 in them during the first year if you include recruitment and training costs. If this company needs to re-recruit a year later, it will cost them another £60,000. Of course, this won't be the case if this member of staff stays.

Q: What can the screening process reveal?

A: The whole purpose of screening is to discover who among apparently suitable candidates is actually unsuitable because of the risk he or she poses to the prospective employer.

Screening checks the validity of credentials - for example, work background, personal background, associations, qualifications, addresses and legal records. Typically, they assess a person or company's suitability for a job role or application.

Of course, there are varying levels of screening services on the market, with some being better quality and more thorough than others.

Q: What does screening involve?

A: Not all screening services are the same. Some companies only carry out media searches and search databases - for example, credit references, Company House details, finance records and courts records.

At Who's Really Who? we have several established levels of screening, and the types of background checks we include will depend on what you need. For more, take a look at our screening page.

Q: How much does screening cost?

A: We tailor screening services to client needs - from basic levels of background checks to screening for high-risk posts or investments. You can be sure that you will only ever pay for what suits you and your circumstances. And there will never be any hidden costs.

Benefits of outsourcing screening include reduced overheads, taking advantage of specialist skills, the realignment of core functions, and improved service to the core business.

Why not tell us what you're looking for by requesting a quote?

Q: Who generally uses screening services?

A: Employment screening is available to all businesses, regardless of type and size.

There are, of course, some more obvious areas of business that use screening, including financial services, education, and occupations involving work with vulnerable members of society. Screening is also increasingly used in the retail sector. According to the Centre for Retail Research, the UK is suffering from the worst retail theft in Western Europe (1.76% of turnover). 29% of these thefts are attributed to staff members.

Q: Are checks made with an applicant's consent?

A: Yes, the process is very open. Any screening carried out by Who's Really Who? is done with the consent of a candidate. In fact, this is a legal requirement. Above all, the process is about supporting trust and honesty between your company and its prospects.

Q: What should I be looking for in screening?

A: Here are some simple guidelines when making your selection:

  1. Ensure that the service provider is a legitimate company. Take extra care when a PO Box is used for the address.
  2. Ensure the company is registered with the Information Commissioner under the Data Protection Act 1998. They should be able to provide you with a registration number you can check on the Information Commissioner's website at www.ico.gov.uk
  3. Ensure that candidate consent forms are provided and processed.
  4. Check for any hidden costs, especially if the candidate to be screened has a non-UK background (as some companies may charge more for searches abroad).
  5. Agree a fixed price and timeframe before any checks are carried out.
  6. Enquire whether the service provider has the capacity to take on the volume of work.
  7. Request an employment screening sample report.
  8. If you are employing staff who need an extensive background check, ensure that the service provider can conform to British Standard BS7858.
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