Pre-Employment Background Checks Tips

7 Essential Tips for Pre-Employment Background Checks for International Contractors

Ensure you hire qualified, trustworthy international contractors with our seven tips for conducting a pre-employment background check.

7 Essential Tips for Pre-Employment Background Checks for International Contractors


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Hiring the best talent for your business isn’t just about getting someone with the right skills. You also need to ensure your business’s safety and security, which is why it’s crucial to conduct a thorough background check.

It’s no secret that outsourcing work is a cost-effective and efficient method to scale and grow a business. More and more companies are outsourcing work internationally for at least one department, and there’s no sign that this trend is slowing down.

Because of the growing demand for highly skilled international talent, it’s imperative to ensure you have the right background check process in place to safeguard your business. Read on to learn how to ensure your employment background checks are efficient, accurate, and ethical.

What Are Background Checks?

Employment background checks are essential to the hiring process. This screening stage enables you to verify job applicants’ information and make an informed hiring decision on candidates’ eligibility for a role. It can also help you identify any risks that they may expose the business to.

Comprehensive background checks—especially for internationally outsourced hires—are necessary for both your organization and the candidates you’re vetting. They can benefit both parties in several ways:

  • Finding high-quality hires that meet your business’s standards and role requirements
  • Protecting company assets against illicit activities
  • Staying compliant and adhering to industry regulations
  • Mitigating risks associated with candidates with a criminal history
  • Avoiding in-person conflicts and improving workplace safety
  • Minimizing turnover by ensuring candidates are a good fit for the role
  • Basing hiring decisions on data, making them fairer and more objective
An employer doing background checks on a candidate

7 Tips To Efficiently Conduct a Pre-Employment Background Check

Conducting pre-employment background screening for international contractors is no easy feat. Here are seven tips to ensure your background checks are efficient, effective, and ethical.

1. Create a screening program for contractors

The right pre-employment screening process should examine vital information that can impact hiring decisions. Creating a program specifically for international background checks for contractors is a great way to improve your background check reports, especially if you’re actively seeking to outsource global talent.

This strategic move can minimize business risks, protect your workplace culture, and help you recruit quality hires. The scope of your background checks must cover important information.

Information should go beyond checking for employment verification with previous employers or a candidate’s employment history. Identity verification, age verification, education verification, and national origin are valuable information to reference.

2. Review relevant information

It’s easy to investigate a lot of different data, but it’s important to invest your time and resources efficiently by focusing on the most important information. Streamlining the hiring process with background checks that factor in only relevant information is key.

Tailoring your pre-employment background screening process based on the role or position a candidate is applying to can make hiring faster and smoother. This means matching their employment history against their submitted CV and checking for supplementary data. For example, financial roles typically require credit checks.

3. Stay aware of international laws and regulations

Every country has laws and regulations to protect individuals’ privacy and data. It’s important to look into the laws of any region you plan to outsource to, as ignoring these might get your company penalized and fined.

For instance, in the US, when you partner with a background check provider, you are legally required to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

4. Inform and get consent from candidates

Some countries have laws like the FCRA, requiring businesses to obtain written consent from job applicants before conducting a background check. This is done to ensure screening processes are carried out in a legal and ethical way.

Likewise, informing candidates that data retrieved from these screenings can impact any hiring decision also shows them respect and builds rapport. Additionally, maintaining transparency throughout the hiring process can help establish trust with your potential contractors.

5. Partner with a background check provider

While you can conduct your background checks manually, partnering with an experienced background check service may be worthwhile. Selecting a professional background screening company can help ensure the information gathered in your pre-employment screening is accurate and thorough.

There are many advantages to working with a background check company. From a complete background check report to expert screening services, compliance assurance, and comprehensive databases, there is a wide range of services and resources they can provide to fast-track the hiring process.

In the long run, having an external team dedicated solely to conducting background checks can empower you to scale cost effectively.

6. Respect your job candidates’ privacy

Respect is a two-way street. Aside from adhering to ethical practices and honoring different countries’ legal compliance regulations around personal information, there is value in respecting your applicant’s privacy.

When you provide applicants with appropriate information on background checks you may conduct, you cultivate trust and fairness.

This can promote a positive work environment and positively impact your business reputation, as candidates may share their experiences with others. This can even attract more talent to apply for your job openings.

7. Review criminal records with grace

While some may view job applicants with criminal records as a risk to the company, it is important to consider the complexities of their case to avoid unlawful discrimination.

Conducting legal criminal background checks will help you comply with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Business owner reading background check on the candidate he wants to send an offer

Things To Consider When Hiring International Contractors

Outsourcing work to international contractors is a popular strategy for businesses. This approach to finding talent globally expands the opportunity for companies to connect with workers with the right skill set, reduce costs, and further enhance contractors’ flexibility to do their best work even remotely.

It is worth noting, however, that there are pros and cons to hiring global contractors. Here are some factors you need to consider when it comes to global outsourcing.

Compliance with local and international laws and regulations

Recruiting international contractors comes with many legal considerations. Ensuring your business can comply with both your local and international laws can take some work, but it can prevent fines and other penalties.

This includes adhering to regulations like taxation and labor laws. These can protect both the contractor and your business by defining the scope of work, rights, and obligations.

You must also observe data protection policies. These include the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for Europe, as well as the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for the US.

Adhering to these regulations demonstrates that you value ethical business practices.

Currency exchange in payouts

Hiring outside your country typically means dealing with multiple currencies. This can make payments more complex, as you must account for transaction fees and exchange rates.

Finding the right way to pay international contractors is vital. Working with a bank or app that caters to your requirements can ensure contractors are paid fairly and on time.

Time zone differences

It can be challenging when teams work in different time zones. Frequent meetings may not always be feasible, so you may need to adopt asynchronous communication during more flexible work hours. Fortunately, as many as 61% of knowledge workers believe that async work reduces burnout.

Another effective approach is implementing efficient communication and coordination practices, such as utilizing onboarding documents and well-organized, accessible assets, to positively impact workflows.

However, one of the most straightforward solutions is hiring international contractors based in nearshore regions. Latin America has similar time zones to the US, making scheduling less of an issue than if you were to hire offshore contractors.

Language and other cultural barriers

Working with teammates from across the world means there will be differences in language and culture, which may cause misunderstandings or misinterpreted intentions.

Establishing a culture that fosters diversity, inclusivity, and collaboration across teams can help make these differences a strength rather than a hindrance.

Final Thoughts

Companies are no longer constrained to hiring for in-house roles. You now have access to a wide array of global talent without being limited by geographical barriers.

However, this opportunity comes with the responsibility of conducting more thorough pre-employment background checks. While this task may sometimes appear tedious, the benefits far outweigh the challenges.

Not only can you attract a diverse and multi-talented workforce, but you can also make better-informed hiring decisions, ensure your business and workers stay protected, and maintain your reputation as a fair and ethical employer.

If you’d like further information on how to hire international contractors successfully, see our independent contractor checklist to learn how to conduct a comprehensive, compliant hiring process.

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