Background Checks for the 21st Century

7 Minutes

At Elliott Scott HR we are always looking for new and innovative companies to partner with. ...

At Elliott Scott HR we are always looking for new and innovative companies to partner with. This is what led us to connect with M.INT. A screening company for the 21st Century, their ‘Smarter Vetting’ process delivers highly innovative and powerful reputation and security risk protection, generating strengthened brand integrity & company culture.

We recently sat down with Director Alek Filemonowicz to find out more.

What makes M.INT different?

M.INT, derived from Media Intelligence, is focused on providing the greatest possible value and ROI when it comes to pre-employment screening. As opposed to traditional background checks, M.INT’s Smarter Vetting is highly informative and actionable – empowering our partners’ screening strategies. We specialise in analysing publicly available online data such as that which can be identified in public records, social media, blogs, news and digital archives.

To this effect, we are unique in mitigating reputation, behavioural, security or financial risks posed by candidates. We are bridging a gap that has been created by the evolution of communications technology (and resultant new social norms) and the inadequacy of traditional screening practices to keep up.

There are now better measures of identifying fit and addressing risks than there were when the fax machine and VHS were fashionable – which is coincidentally when reference checks were the best means available. But their value has since eroded, particularly in the UK where concern over legal action has rendered reference checks somewhat toothless and ultimately little more than calendar validation exercises.

Effectively, organisations that are still relying solely on 20th century solutions (reference, credit, DBS checks) are left uninformed and consequently at risk of incurring the significant costs and damages caused by 21st century threats; including unprofessional conduct, discriminatory or predatory behaviour and sensitive information disclosure.

How organisations can benefit from using ‘Smarter Vetting’

The benefits are significant. Reduced bad hires, reduced staff turnover, reduced costs. Stronger candidates, stronger culture, stronger brand integrity. Today’s public and consumer scrutiny of organisations has never been greater. Companies are increasingly being held accountable for the public behaviour of their employees. HR leaders and executives concerned with employer brand and company culture need to ensure that their new hires are suitably aligned with organisational values.

Organisations can apply Smarter Vetting for every level of candidate. While the cost of a bad hire is typically greatest at the executive tier, the volume of bad hires tends to be most significant at graduate and mid-management level, where the cumulative effect can have a severe impact on workplace environment and performance. As such, we cater our offering proportionately to match the requirements of each given position – entry, mid or senior.

We partner with companies of all shapes and sizes; from financial services, executive search and law to professional sport, media and non-profit. Working with both regulated and unregulated industries, we ensure that our partners are not only compliant but well insulated from candidate risks. The impact of your digital footprint on your career In a world where public online conduct is accessible to myriad viewers, including co-workers, clients and the public at large, all employees are in effect brand ambassadors.

How you represent yourself online matters. Candidates demonstrating patterns of unprofessional or otherwise adverse behaviour that could impact a company’s reputation or security may not represent the best addition for an organisation’s culture or legitimate interests. Conversely, candidates who do not display adverse content and whose footprints support their suitability for a position may strengthen their candidacy.

It’s worthwhile to note that M.INT’s reporting stands to benefit not only our partners but also candidates themselves, who are better informed to remedy any inconsistencies or exposure that their digital footprints could present if left unaddressed. M.INTs ‘Smarter Vetting’ process Smarter Vetting delivers a faster and more reliable screening service than traditional suppliers. Using a secure online portal, our partners can submit a request in 30 seconds and receive a report within 3-5 business days. 

Applying a candidate-friendly, GDPR compliant and ethical methodology, M.INT only investigates publicly available data identified in the Open Source and reports only that which presents potential reputation, behavioural, security and/or financial risk. M.INT categorically never queries private communication and does not report on protected characteristics (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy/maternity, race, religion, sex). For this reason, it is absolutely critical that online checks are carried out in a responsible manner by a professional third-party specialised in Open Source Intelligence. 

In the early days of this digital ‘Wild West’, many companies sought to carry out online research themselves –some profess to still doing so. This approach can be unreliable and disproportionate to candidate privacy, leaving organisations at risk of potential discrimination under the Equality Act, noting the inevitable exposure to inconsequential data and protected characteristics. 

Using M.INT, companies can actually help protect candidates by ensuring that their digital footprints are assessed responsibly. Staying savvy in the digital world Job seekers should not be discouraged from continuing to embrace the digital world – just apply a couple of key rules. 

  • First, never befriend unknown persons online or provide your login credentials to prospective employers or other parties. 
  • Second, before you share, be comfortable with what your post may say about you to prospective employers. 
  • Finally, familiarise yourself with your online privacy settings to manage your public profile effectively. For HR Teams and Executives alike - review your background check procedures and see if they are adding value to your hiring process. You might find that the approach you are taking is outdated and needs to be brought in line with the 21st century.

To find out more about M.INT Analysis visit their website here.