Best Practice

What is the best practice in the PES or PEC?

The following measures and checks are possible:

  • Verification of certificates and references Verification of original documents with copies
  • Comparison of the CV with the documents
  • Questionnaire of the former employers Checking on negative characteristics (Creditreform, Bürgel, Schufa & Co.) OSINT
  • Open Source Intelligence (for everyone freely accessible information by standard search engines, so-called public sources)
  • Social Media Platforms
  • Business & Career Platforms (i.e. Xing, LinkedIn …)

Restricted and in exceptional cases, the following measures and checks are also possible:

  • Health tests
  • Alcohol / drug tests
  • Psychological tests
  • Integrity tests
  • Graphological assessment (analysis of voice and body)

In practice, the background checks on candidates and future employees are often set up into three levels:

  • Level 1 (normal employee level)
  • Level 2 (middle management level)
  • Level 3 (higher management level, employees in senior positions)

In principle, the client must have a justified interest in a review and must also prove this. The proportionality of the review must also be respected. This means that the review measures must be appropriate in terms of the scope and intensity of the position advertised. Already colloquially applies; one may not shoot with cannons at sparrows!

In the case of Level 3 (senior staff) an investigation is also often carried out in respect of the former employers of the past 5-10 years (maximum of past two employers).

One must count on a time frame of 1 – 4 weeks per detailed background check. As a rule, the more extensive and the more international the applicants’ examination is, the longer it lasts and the more cost-intensive it is.

Due to worldwide differently strict data protection regulations, the possibilities of the verifications are sometimes more or less extensive.

Furthermore, there are regions and countries where no simple results can be obtained via simple database queries (via the Internet). In this case, an on-site investigation has to be carried out in the country of residence or work. This may be the case in regions and countries (for example, in parts of Eastern Europe) where the infrastructure related to online databases (IT) simply does not exist. The use of on-site resources (investigation experts) is mostly time-consuming and cost-intensive.

In which department should the pre-employment checks be placed in the company?

Practice has shown that the subject of pre-employment checks or the systematic review of applicants is best placed in the area of the security department, corporate security or group security. Nevertheless, there are companies that do not have a corporate security or the like. The Compliance, Legal or HR / Human Resources department is then often responsible for conducting such background checks.

Sometimes, recruiting agents (headhunters, recruiters) are asked to carry out a pre-employment check for selected candidates, or are contractually obliged to do so due to the agreed agency mandate (Retained Executive Search or Contingency Search).

Some of these external recruiting agents are using external screening / vetting experts for the pre-employment checks and some do it themselves. The latter is then usually a simple comparison of the provided documents on consistency and plausibility, as well as the contact of former employers and the reinsurance that certain data in the CV are coherent. In the rarest cases, recruiters fully employ trained and qualified PES experts in their own team. In general this is from the business and commercial perspective not very economical.

Is it practical and recommended that company’s own departments conduct pre-employment checks themselves internally?

Systematic, structured and worldwide checks of applicants are generally not possible for companies themselves; sometimes only to a very limited extent. This is due to various factors and reasons:

  1. Lack of in-house competence in connection with extensive and cross-border background checks
  2. Lack of capacity (labor and working time)
  3. Inadequate cost / benefit effect and ratio
  4. Missing worldwide network of experts for possible assistance

The frequently practiced approach of human resources and personnel departments to access information about candidates through search engines such as Google, Bing & Co. has proven to be not reliable in practice. Identical names frequently lead to misinterpretations and false statements, which cannot be sustained by staff departments due to a lack of time and resources. This may lead to a false picture of the candidate, which then leads to a possible rejection of the application.

Life Demands Perfection.

Do you have further questions?

Please feel free to contact us:

Privatimus GmbH
Your contact: Sven Leidel, Partner
Phone: 040 – 5272 1221 – 0
Email: intel(at)

See also:

Privatimus Broschure for Download: Pre-Employment Checks / Screenings