Security primer: Outsourcing employee background checks

What companies need to know when hiring a screening solutions firm

Before a company hires a screening firm, Mattice recommends the employer first have a structure in place with categories which they can easily assign a potential employee’s information to either qualify or disqualify them as a candidate. This would therefore make sure that the screening company knows what types of things to look for when investigating an individual.

During his time as head of security at Boston Scientific, Mattice said he worked closely with the company’s human resources department to create just such a structure. Security and HR worked together to determine how far back into a person’s history the background check needed to search. The process was designed to validate work and education credentials; it also searched for issues that may have arisen in previous work jurisdictions.

He added that it is “incumbent” in today’s regulation-filled business world for organizations to not only thoroughly investigate who they hire, but also who they’re doing business with.

Laws, he said, which have provisions for how and who companies hire include the Patriot Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

In today’s age of widespread Internet usage, Mattice said organizations hiring someone for an executive level position are checking social networking Web sites such as YouTube and MySpace to see what type of behavior -- if any -- has been exhibited which could later serve as a liability to the company.

The most important thing that he says companies need to keep in mind when they’re developing a methodology for background investigations is to be aware of the local and federal guidelines regarding screening procedures.

“I think (companies) have to seriously look at and clearly understand what it takes to be in compliance with laws and regulations and build a structure or program around that. And [they have to] understand what they’re willing to accept and what they’re not willing to accept,” he said.