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Employment Screening in the Nordics

How the game changed

Employment screening has become a vital part of many organisations’ onboarding and recruitment processes over the last ten years. It has become more important for companies to employ thorough risk management policies and ensure that they not only make better informed hiring decisions but also that their processes are completely compliant with local and national legislation. Harm Voogt, CEO of Validata explains how employment screening has grown to be an essential part of companies’ operations and why Validata is now looking to expand into the Nordics.

Employment screening in Scandinavië

The perfect solution?

‘When we started in 2009, we thought we had the perfect solution for recruitment and staffing companies. It seemed logical to us that companies would want to be 100% sure that the candidate hired would meet the clients’ expectations. However, we quickly realized that if the client didn’t ask for basic screening nothing would be done. Our solution needed to be ‘pushed’, as screening was not a priority.’

Today, however, the concept of employment screening has grown into other industries for various reasons. As Harm explains: ‘In Holland, we’ve seen quality-driven regulation grow in the healthcare sector. Credentials must be checked before candidates can start their roles. Similarly, in the Financial sector, aspects such as integrity, financial status, and criminal background checks must be conducted.’ Harm continues –  ‘and as a result of  US legislation, for example, it’s obligatory for companies handling air freight to manage the risk of terrorism and check personnel experience from the past 5 years.’

Evidently, the need for screening changed on a global level due to many macro – and micro-economic factors, alongside company size, governance, increased legislation, and the inherent need for global risk management. As such, employers found themselves being ‘pulled’ towards pre- and in-employment screening . ‘Similarly, we got to understand the market, our sector-specific expertise grew and our solution became an intrinsic need for companies that couldn’t afford to run unnecessary risks.’ Today, Validata’s solution is used by clients in over 30 countries and screens candidates worldwide.

Market opportunity – who is ahead

‘In Europe, we see that employment screening is still underdeveloped. The UK has adopted employment screening for the best part of 20 years and they are ahead of The Netherlands. However, when looking at the continent, the market in The Netherlands is more developed than in other European countries.’ Harm goes on to explain: ‘Culture, level of digitisation, data registers, rules and regulations concerning risk management all play a role in determining this.’

The next step – Sweden

‘Looking around us, we see market opportunities in more of the Northern European countries. If we consider the Nordics and Sweden in particular for example, we serve an increasing number of clients there. Vattenfall, INGKA, Tieto Evry are all companies from various sectors and they are conducting an increasing number of screenings every day on entry, C-level and board management positions.’

‘The opportunity is there and it has come because Sweden has not only a compliant driven culture but also a progressive HR outlook when it comes to labour management.’ Besides, the employment screening story has been told in Sweden for many years as is evident from the competitiveness of the market.

Employment screening in Scandinavië

The biggest upcoming challenge

‘Service checks, personal data, who are the companies, what are their specific needs and on which levels we know. We had to learn our way in the Dutch market back in 2009. Today, however, these questions are more easily answered’ – explains Harm – ‘For Sweden, it’s a matter of getting the data right and ensuring that we are compliant whilst doing business.’

To make sure Validata complies with the most up-to-date legislation, Data Protection Officer (DPO) Mirjam Peer added, ‘Validata always starts any development using ‘privacy-by-design’. This means that whichever process of personal data we draw  – any functional design – we look at both privacy and security in each step. We also have certificates that ensure we are compliant and quality driven, for example, the ISO2007 & 9001. Our department, which includes myself and our legal counsel  make certain we are qualified to manage the processing of personal data in different countries and this gives our clients the comfort of being sure. That said it is a challenge to continuously keep up-to-date as this field is continuously evolving.’

Strength in partnerships

Validata has also recently partnered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce to advance employment screening throughout the Nordics and offer Validata’s expertise to many businesses within the region. “The Dutch Chamber of Commerce are supporting us grow in this specific region. Expanding into Sweden has been our plan for the past couple of years, it comes as a natural step for our business and we have made several strategic international partnerships to support us take these first steps. I’m looking forward to what’s to come” ends Harm.

Want to know more about Validata’s services in the Nordics and what this could mean for your business?

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