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October 12 2023

“What’s in a name?” Why background screening matters

Verifile: Celebrating two decades of safer screening processes

Recently, during a training exercise, our team was commended for discovering a surname mismatch. The name on the ID the candidate had loaded onto our platform didn't match the one on their application form.
Why does it matter? A detail like this might seem small, but it can mean the difference between a safe hire and a liability. Cases like this can have severe consequences.

How the Huntley case transformed UK background checks

It’s 20 years this year since the conviction of Ian Huntley, the school caretaker who was found guilty of the murder of ten-year olds, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. 
Huntley had applied for a job at Soham Village College using his mother's maiden name, "Nixon." A comprehensive check under his actual surname would have revealed a criminal record. 
If this information had been available during the recruitment process, it’s unlikely Huntley would have been appointed to the role, potentially preventing the tragic outcome.
This case changed how checks are processed in the UK. The disclosure of an applicant’s mother’s maiden name became mandatory when conducting criminal records screening.

Why comprehensive checks matter

These stories are fundamental to our mission here at Verifile. It was actually a name discrepancy incident that led to the founding of Verifile back in 2004. 
While working for Brinks Israel as a driver, Saguy Unger (real name Ilan Kupperman-Segal) drove away with five million Shekels. Unger had applied for the job with Brinks under a false name in order to conceal his criminal record. 
This story is even more incredible when you consider the company Unger was working for provided armed security services. Our Founder and CEO, Eyal Ben Cohen, realised, if a security company wasn’t aware their employee posed a risk, there was obviously a need for a more effective background checking system.

The hidden dangers of name inconsistencies in hiring

On the surface, a name omission or discrepancy may look like an innocent oversight – and sometimes it is. But given the outcomes in the stories mentioned above, can you run the risk of not fully checking your prospective employees, including every “persona” and identity they’ve had?
The bureaucracy and ‘red tape’ around background screening can feel intrusive for candidates and cause additional hassle for employers but it's important not to lose sight of the ‘why.’ 
When it comes to hiring, a name is more than just an identity. At Verifile, our two decades of experience have taught us how important it is to dive deep into a candidate's history. Even a small discrepancy can be a red flag.
These steps are crucial. They ensure every individual entering your organisation has been thoroughly vetted and is who they claim to be. A missed detail could be the difference between a safe hire and a liability that could have severe consequences for your organisation.

Verifile: Celebrating two decades of safer screening processes

For us, obsessing over discrepancies, omissions and typos within data can sometimes feel
like a thankless task (and pointing out people’s mistakes doesn’t make you popular!). But we
are proud of the work that we do. 
Verifile will celebrate 20 years of incorporation next year. We are deeply committed to delivering products and services that consistently offer our clients peace of mind.
Making the world a safer and more honest place to work has been in our DNA from the start. We take pride in how far we have come, and are excited for the future.
Here’s to the next 20 years, and the partnerships with customers that we’ll create along the way.