Background screening involves the analysis and subsequent verification of a potential employee’s personal, educational and professional background. 

Normally such services are based on a review of a potential candidate’s CV, but in some cases, where no CV has been provided or the CV is considered inadequate for some reason, the services are provided based on the candidate’s online or media profile.

In many countries, local data protection regulations prohibit employers and educational institutions from providing any information on any individual without having received a signed authorisation from that individual. Effective background screening, therefore, involves the verification of a candidate’s background with the candidate’s full written authorisation.

High-level Verification

For higher-level executive hires, Matrix recommends high-level background screening, which, in addition to confirming the candidate’s education and employment, involves conducting independent human source enquiries with individuals who are in a position to comment on the candidate’s professional and personal reputation, management style and personality.

While such enquiries can be conducted with referees suggested by the candidate, Matrix recommends that they instead be conducted with individuals identified in the course of Matrix’s background research, as referees provided by the candidate will invariably only provide positive feedback and in some cases may even have been told what to say by the candidate.

For high-level background screening, Matrix generally confirms the past ten years of a candidate’s employment history. If required, a longer period can also be covered.  Both levels of service also include the analysis of any gaps in employment in excess of 90 days.

List of Checks and Availability of Information

Matrix conducts the following checks as part of any high-level background screening assignment:

  • Verification of education
  • Verification of employment
  • Criminal record checks
  • Analysis of corporate affiliations (directorships, shareholdings  and company representation, i.e. as a trustee or through power of attorney)
  • Media and Internet review
  • Litigation checks
  • Discreet human source enquiries
  • Reputational ‘red flags’
  • Political risk “red flags”

The availability of such information differs in each country. As a general rule, official criminal records can only be requested directly by the candidate from their national police data center or relevant government office. Similarly, litigation checks are not available in every country. Nevertheless, in some cases Matrix is often able to obtain verbal confirmation of such information in the course of its human source enquiries.

To identify potential political red-flags, Matrix conducts an in-depth review of the candidate’s extended personal and professional networks along with discreet human source enquiries to determine whether the candidate is known to be linked to any government officials or to be a member of a radical or extremist political party.

Matrix conducts high-level background screening assignments on a best-effort basis, meaning that every effort will be made to cover all of checks listed above. In some cases, where this is not possible due to data protection regulations or the lack of such information in a particular country, this will be made clear before Matrix commences work on the assignment.

Methodology

Matrix’s high-level background research services are provided using a combination of multi-language open source research and targeted human source enquiries.

Open source research involves the use of electronic and physical corporate registries, print and electronic media archives, litigation databases, credit reference databases, global regulatory and compliance databases and the Internet. Research is conducted in any languages that are relevant to each country.

Targeted human source enquiries are conducted with a wide range of individuals who are in a position to comment authoritatively on a candidate’s personal and professional reputation. These generally include former colleagues, former business partners and industry peers.

Employment and educational verification is conducted directly with the relevant employers and educational institutions.

In cases where certain information is not available in open sources, Matrix’s extensive regional contact networks ensure that such information can often be obtained by well placed human sources.

Jurisdictions

Matrix is based in London but has strategic and extensive coverage of every country in Western, Central and Eastern Europe, both in-house and with a regional network of field agents and information providers.

In addition, Matrix has excellent coverage of the Unites States, SE Asia and the Far East and Africa. The company’s global network of contacts, comprising the combined contact lists of the company’s managing directors and key senior personnel built over more than a decade of industry experience, extends as far as the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

For the purposes of background screening assignments, Western, Central and Eastern European countries generally have more restrictive data protection regulations than the United States, the Far East and Africa.

By contrast, the United States has a wealth of available public record data that can be obtained from proprietary databases.

Matrix specializes in maintaining and constantly updating its knowledge of the availability of each type of information in each of the countries that it covers.