Next to providing clarity within your organisation, a fitting screening policy also ensures you comply with important laws and regulations. To screen or process sensitive personal data there needs to be a legal basis; in this case, a legitimate interest. For an employer, this interest is ‘being able to rely on capable and honest employees’ and reducing certain risks. A well-considered screening policy explains why and how a screening takes place. It is the basis for any screening process.
Principles of subsidiarity and proportionality
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) details that processing personal data is only permitted on a legal basis. When screening (potential) employees, this would be the legitimate interest. Important requirements resulting from this, which should also be included in the screening policy, are the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.
Subsidiarity means that the objective – reducing risks through hiring capable and honest employees – cannot be achieved in a less intrusive way other than by screening (potential) employees. Proportionality implies that the means used to achieve your objective are proportional to the objective. In other words, the employment screening of (potential) employees for the position of Office Manager is less thorough than the screening for the position of CFO. The responsibilities and risks relating to a position determine which screening elements should be used.
A transparent screening policy cultivates clear communication
Another important function of a screening policy is offering clarity. You should be able to rely on a cohesive story when communicating with (potential) employees as well as internally, with the works councils for example. A screening policy explains why screening is necessary and how this should be translated to each individual situation.
Potential employees also have a right to transparency. Therefore, communicate early on that pre-employment screening is part of the application process. You can then discuss the screening during the first interviews. An additional advantage of mentioning pre-employment screening at an early stage is the preselection it triggers; mainly honest candidates with relevant knowledge and experience will apply. Candidates with a questionable work-experience will think twice when faced with an employment screening. So, immediately announcing a screening reduces the risks and it is an important step in guaranteeing integrity and quality within your organisation.