The most common red flags in background checks


By Amit Singh, Senior Vice President & Head- Commercial, First Advantage India,

In today’s highly challenging and fierce business environment, introducing Employee Background Verification (BGV) Procedure, becomes vital in big as well as mid-sized companies. Owing to high competition and change in lifestyle in the last two years, companies need to be conscious while making a hiring decision, since there is an escalation in the number of candidate discrepancies in various sectors such as IT, Banking, Retail,

Hospitality, Manufacturing and GIG. This trend is largely seen at the entry level as well as at the mid managerial level, hence making background verification more important than ever.

Companies that do not have a proper employee background verification process in place could run the risk of tarnishing their reputation by hiring the wrong applicants. The companies could also potentially run into huge financial risks, data breach, safety issues and other legal disputes.


Below are a few red flags which HR managers of companies need to watch out for and give a green tick on before proceeding to hire a candidate:

Inconsistency:  During the interview process, it should be observed if the applicants are comfortable in talking about their resumes. Applicants should be able to recollect dates and locations of their past work. It would be a red flag if there is inconsistency in information from the candidate.


Education Credentials:  Applicants who share false education credentials may be considered as dishonest applicants. There is a significant rise in discrepancy when it comes to sharing information about educational qualification especially higher education. It’s been identified that to bag a particular position, some applicants may contrive to match the company listed job requirements.

Reluctance to Give Consent:  Another very quick way to gauge a candidate is if he or she seems reluctant or hesitant to give consent for background check. Applicants can be dismissed from being considered if they refuse to give consent as it could signify that they are trying to hide some vital information.

References from Professionals:  A red flag might be on the way if the applicant’s professional references do not hold strong recommendations or if multiple misleading references come up which could be due to some incidents in previous workplace or a bad exit.

Criminal Record Checks: Criminal record verification is another essential background screening tool. It becomes very important to have a green on this check as it could also affect the company’s growth. An applicant’s criminal history influences an organization’s wellbeing as well as occupation execution and capability. Criminal history can be a warning sign if the nature of the applicant’s crime impacts their ability to do the job.

Short Term Jobs: It will be a red flag if some applicants have the required work experience mentioned but have not lasted with their previous companies for extended periods of time. That would mean they have consistently had short job terms. This signifies that the candidate would not stick around in their current job applied for also as they will lack dedication.


False Information About Previous Job Roles & Compensation: Applicants can glorify their

resume by misleading their list of achievements, adding unidentified work experience and other

job roles and responsibilities. Another important point to consider is the inaccurate information regarding salary compensation. A lot of job applicants inflate the previous salary figures on the resume in order to attract high salary.


Gaps in Employment History: Gaps in employment are not uncommon but if the chosen

candidate does not have a reasonable explanation; it could signify some underlying

employment issues. Many potential employees might have genuine reasons for this

vacuum. Someone may have made a career change, fallen ill, or taken time off to care for a

loved one. If unemployment seems to be a pattern in the applicant’s history, however, the

company may want to investigate. On another note, multiple and frequent gaps in

employment could indicate that the candidate is probably hard to work with or is unreliable.


Keeping in mind the challenges, it is imperative for any organization to conduct a thorough

background check on a potential employee. A professional and effective way of doing this is by engaging the services of a background verification company. Professionals from reputed background verification companies conduct a thorough check on the credentials of the potential employee by following strict compliance guidelines. These companies are also technology-driven, with end-to-end automation and intelligent screening methods to check the background of new recruits.


Therefore, employee background Verification process is an opportunity to keep the workplace safe for all employees. It is also an important tool in retaining customers because only the right applicants can ensure customer satisfaction. Hence it is critical for a company to hire well informed applicants to focus on the growth of its business.


(The author is Senior Vice President & Head- Commercial, First Advantage India, leading background verification firm headquartered in the US)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here