Employment Screening in the European Market: A Vastly Digitizing Landscape that is Becoming More Risk-Aware

By Sara Johnson, Marketing Communication Specialist, Validata


Any company’s success begins and ends with its people. Without them, there would be no foundation to build on. People don’t just determine the daily work environment, but also a brand’s integrity. That’s why in today’s growing and fast-changing corporate world, employment screening is becoming indispensable for all kinds of organizations. 


Changing views on onboarding

“We started out catering to mostly high-risk sectors like finance, where employment and applicant screening is required by law,” Harm Voogt, CEO of the Amsterdam-based Validata Group explains. “But the Covid-19 crisis has vastly accelerated working from home and global digitization. Not being able to meet face to face has changed the way companies look at recruitment. Many have redesigned their hiring and onboarding process and the demand for background checks has increased.”


Over the past year and a half, screening numbers have grown in some sectors such as software and telecom. Market-wide 28% of companies have revised or adapted their digital people strategy in light of the pandemic, a recent study by HR Executive shows. Meanwhile, 48% haven’t yet but know they need to. Incorporating screenings and checks into the digital recruitment process is a way to handle some of the biggest challenges digitizing companies have run into during this time.


71% of resumes contain falsehoods, 10-15% outright lies

These challenges include, for example, adapting to a new digital work environment, security and privacy issues, and a lack of data insight. As onboarding processes migrate even more to the digital domain, organizations are in urgent need of new ways to manage risk and prevent costly mistakes. Like mis-hires: research shows 71% of resumes contain falsehoods, and 10 to 15% even contain outright lies. Which, if unchecked, can become a great liability. 


“As the market develops and digitizes, European companies are becoming more compliance driven,” Voogt shares. “However, in a market as diverse as Europe, different countries and cultures have different views on onboarding and employment screening. So it’s important to have solutions that can be tailored to each organization’s needs. But the need itself is indisputable.”


The screening process in Europe

So what does this look like in practice? Validata Group, one of the European market leaders, helps organizations transition to an online work environment. Clients get 24/7 online access to screenings and reports, turnaround time is only five to ten workdays and the entire process is designed to be GDPR compliant.


With screening companies like Validata, candidates are proactively informed about what’s expected of them and when. “In accordance with European laws and regulations, both the future employer and the screening company must inform the candidate that the screening is taking place, and the candidate will always be able to access their personal data. We make sure that every step of the process is managed in compliance with the GDPR, which takes a lot of the plate of the employer,” Voogt adds.


Screening candidates can take the risk out of remote work, filling a real need, especially in Europe right now. “We are based in Amsterdam, which is at the forefront of European development in employment screening, and we’ve just opened a second office in Stockholm. But as work environments become more remote and flexible, we cater to countries across Europe that even use our services on a global level,” Voogt tells us.


Sourcing data

To guarantee a fast turnaround time for screenings, Validata Group works closely together with various data suppliers. The types of data that will be available to use during the screening depend on the candidate’s location. “The European Union has regulated data protection and privacy across the continent in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), but every EU member state does still have its own laws around storing and safeguarding data,” Voogt explains. “What is considered very privacy-sensitive information in for example Germany, could be data that is easily accessible in, let’s say, Norway. In addition to legislation differences, different countries might have different views on and systems for storing and centralizing personal data.”


Handling candidate data

Companies like Validata Group of course have to ensure that all the requirements stated in the local privacy laws and the GDPR are met. For (potential) clients to feel assured when using Validata’s employment screening services, Validata is ISO (27001) certified for security and has a Quality Management System which is also ISO (9001) certified. 


“In addition to our certification, Validata Group employs a Data Protection Officer (DPO), performs vulnerability tests, and has the mandatory license from the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice needed to conduct employment screening,” Voogt adds.


Commonalities and differences across Europe

Under this license, with access to data from its data partners, Validata Group predominantly performs identity checks, education checks, credit checks, and criminal background checks, as well as verifying work experience.


Although these are the five most common screening checks in Europe, not all countries on the continent value them the same. “Because Europe is so culturally diverse, we see differences in the demand for different types of checks. For example, in the UK as well as in the Netherlands clients often prioritize education checks, while in the Nordics clients often choose a credit check over a diploma check,” Voogt says.


“Right now, in Sweden, screenings are still frequently a manual and fragmented process, causing long turnaround times and a lot of hassle. For this reason, background checks are not yet as integrated into the average hiring process as they would be in the Netherlands or the UK. This is where companies like Validata can really add value to a market, which is one of the reasons why we decided to open a second office in the Nordics.”


All cultural differences aside, due to the globalizing and digitizing market, screening companies like Validata Group are seeing a great increase in demand and are expecting this trend to only develop further. Because like any recruitment or HR department will know: nothing is more important than hiring people you can rely on, especially in changing times.


About the Company:

Innovative global technology company logo

Validata is an innovative global technology company, specialized in employment screening. Validata strengthens the trust in the people you work with. Their compliant software solutions and excellent client support enable you to safely screen your candidates and employees anytime and anywhere. Validata takes the entire screening process off your hands helping you make safe and smart hiring decisions. 


For more information about Validata’s services please visit the Validata Group website

T: +31 (0) 20 535 6898
E: info@validatagroup.com