Employee Screening In The Netherlands

Companies worldwide must adopt responsible hiring practices, which include employee background checks. Screening employees’ history allows recruiters to understand whether they are a good fit for the company. More importantly, background checks help HR staff make informed hiring decisions. 

Like many countries, companies can legally conduct employee screening in the Netherlands. A thorough background check process is instrumental in hiring trustworthy candidates, reducing employee turnover, and building a strong work culture within the company.

What is Employment Background Screening?

Employment background screening is a detailed process of validating selective personal and professional records associated with employees in consideration. It has become an industry standard to evaluate a candidate’s credibility and professional competency for the selection process.

Employers can conduct background checks in the Netherlands during the hiring process or during employee onboarding. Hence, employers may screen prospective candidates or existing employees to maintain a productive and accountable workforce. Companies may request a Human Resource (HR) background report after a conditional job offer to the prospective candidate. 

Fortunately, employers in the Netherlands can outsource this responsibility to firms with innovative solutions that assure global employment compliance, thereby eliminating any risk associated with hiring international talent.

Benefits of Background Checks in the Netherlands

  • ~Hire top talent in the industry: Employee background screening ensures the claims made by prospective applicants on their qualifications - universities, multinational companies, and other organizations - are valid. 
  • ~Minimize financial risk: Thorough pre-employment background checks on prospective applicants filling important job positions can protect businesses from any vulnerabilities. 
  • ~Safeguard from any legal liability: Criminal background checks are necessary to safeguard employers from being held legally liable for an employee’s actions. 
  • ~Improve long-term outcome: Hiring and recruitment are cost-driven and time-consuming. The exercise of employee screening makes a vast difference in the long haul, especially when hiring management-level executives.

Are Employment Background Checks Legal in the Netherlands?

Employee screening process in the Netherlands is strictly monitored and regulated by EU General Data Protection Regulation. Hence, employers must ensure that their background check procedures are compliant with the local laws and do not breach individual privacy.  

In the Netherlands, employers must have a legitimate reason for conducting background checks on employees and notify them before going through with the check. Also, employers can legally ask applicants to submit a certificate of good behavior obtained from a Dutch municipality or the Ministry of Justice & Security. This certificate declares that the potential employee has not committed criminal offenses relevant to their work performance.  

Employers may seek additional information from Judiciary Service Justis or the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) to better deal with the nuances of employee screening in the Netherlands.

Things to Know When Performing a Background Check in the Netherlands

Credit report

Employers seek credit reports for conducting a background check in the Netherlands to determine applicants’ credit information. Credit reports become crucial for positions involving partnerships or account-based job positions. 

Criminal record

Police certificates are not issued in the Netherlands, but the local municipality gives a certificate of conduct (Verklaring omtrent het gedrag, VOG) to individuals. 
Employers can seek a VOG from prospective candidates to determine their criminal history. 
It is a crucial criterion to qualify for a job in vulnerable sectors like childcare services or taxi services. 

Employment history

Employers access the employment history of prospective candidates to verify various claims made by them in the job application. 
It is a part of a pre-employment background check in the Netherlands to determine a candidate’s productivity level, skillset, and ability to work as a team player. 

Educational history 

One of the most common flaws in an applicant's resume is the false educational qualification. Employers can run thorough background checks on applicants’ academic history. They can either engage HR or hire employment compliance solutions. 

Social life

HR background checks in the Netherlands are now more feasible, thanks to social media platforms like LinkedIn, Meta, or Instagram.  
This check helps determine how prospective candidates conduct themselves in public, their opinions, behavioral characteristics, and hobbies or personal interests.

Information Essential for a Background Check in the Netherlands

The Netherlands’ background check law requires employers to strictly adhere to Article 88 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

Only data directly relevant to the job post in question can be sought for an employment background check in the Netherlands. Furthermore, companies can save the collected data for employee screening only for a limited period. 

As per the Medical Examination Act, employers can conduct medical background checks for jobs demanding specific medical standards. The act prohibits employers from asking candidates about their health status or illnesses during recruitment. Employers can only ask such medical questions during a pre-employment medical examination. 

Process Involved in Background Checks in the Netherlands

There is no established precedent for employment background checks in the Netherlands. Employers may either do this internally or outsource the responsibility of the pre-employment background checks to local or global firms.  

Job application 

You could contact the personal references provided by the job applicant or look for relevant information on the Internet. 
It proves to be effective for a preliminary background check. 

Viewing the blacklist

Blacklist is a public registry maintained by the Dutch Data Protection Authority  (DPA). 
Employers can consult a blacklist to determine whether the applicant's name appears. 

Application procedure for the certificate of conduct 

A certificate of conduct (Verklaring omtrent het gedrag, VOG) is issued to those who have not committed any recorded criminal offense. 
Employers can ask candidates for a VOG even if it is not compulsory for the position. 
Employees can get a VOG from their local municipality or submit an application form to the Central Agency for Certificates of Good Conduct (COVOG) of the Ministry of Justice and Security.
Freelancers or self-employed professionals may authorize their clients to apply for a VOG on their behalf.
Companies willing to work with the Dutch government can apply for a VOG online for their employees using eHerkenning. They can prepare an application for an employee who will receive an email and complete the application with DigiD.

Use or store personal data from employee 

The Netherlands mandates all employers to comply with Article 88 of the EU GDPR. As per the article, EU member states may provide for more specific rules to ensure the protection of the rights and freedoms in respect of the processing of employees' personal data in the employment context.
Employers need a compelling reason for background checks to use an employee’s data like the name, address, phone number, or citizen service number.

Industries and Situations That are Most Suitable for Background Checks in the Netherlands

Typically, the following industries benefit from a thorough criminal background check in the Netherlands to ensure the maximum integrity of the shortlisted candidates.

  • ~Everyone who works in education
  • ~Everyone who works in childcare
  • ~Everyone who works in healthcare 
  • ~Professionals dealing with confidential information (such as lawyers, accountants, or mortgage advisors)
  • ~Individuals working in  sensitive areas (hazardous chemical plants, power plants, etc.)
  • ~Vehicle industry - driving instructors, driving school owners, and taxi drivers
  • ~Professionals managing projects under the public-private partnership agreement 

Apart from job applicants, employers can run a company background check in the Netherlands on self-employed contractors, temporary staff, employees provided by temporary staff agencies, trainees, and volunteers. 

The list is not exhaustive. Any business would flourish by employing reliable candidates with professional integrity. Thus, we recommend all employers conduct background searches in the Netherlands for maximum benefit.

How Does Multiplier Help With Background Checks?

Any business with global ambitions looks to reduce risk and manage its reputation by full compliance with the local labor laws. Partnering with a global PEO-EOR like Multiplier is one of the most effective ways to avoid compliance issues while hiring globally.

Multiplier offers all-in-one platform solutions for drafting compliant contracts, managing accurate payments and taxes, and creating competitive benefit and insurance plans.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is an employment background check in the Netherlands compliant with GDPR?

Employers can use or store personal data for employment background checks in the Netherlands in compliance with Article 88 of the GDPR. Multiplier’s employment compliance solution offers a better way of managing global payroll, benefits, taxes, and compliance allowing businesses to expand seamlessly.

What information can employers examine during employee screening in the Netherlands?

There must be a legitimate reason for any employer to conduct employee screening in the Netherlands. In compliance with the GDPR, employers can gather only limited data during the pre-employment phase. Common information like phone number, address, criminal record, credit score, employment history, and medical examination (under law) is accessible. 

How much time does a typical employee screening in the Netherlands take?

The total time to conduct an employee screening in the Netherlands will depend on the complexity of the research. While some screenings are automated, others like obtaining certificates of good conduct, and medical examinations can take multiple weeks.

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