AuthBridge, one of India’s Leading Background Screening and Risk Assessment Companies has been in the business, since 2005. An empaneled background check company with National Skill Registry, an initiative of NASSCOM, AuthBridge is also a member of NAPBS APAC. Over these years, AuthBridge has been an innovation-driven organization, leveraging technology with its automated, in-house applications. It has a delivery capability in 140 countries in compliance with International Standards of Quality & Compliance.
People Matters spoke to Ajay Trehan, Founder and CEO of the company about the challenges and how he fought those to build the company.
What was the inspiration/idea behind starting AuthBridge?
After graduating from IIT Delhi, I started my career as a management trainee with the DCM group and after a couple of years joined ICI and spent six years there in different capacities. Thereon, I started a financial company in 2003. One question which I was asked often, while pitching for customers in the UK and the US, was whether we carry out any background screening or not. That was where I got the concept of background screening. When I started exploring about this for our own employees, I realized this is an open market. The US market was about $3 billion and similarly the opportunity in India was huge. Discussing with many senior leaders in the industry, we realized most of them faced this issue but the best they could get were detective agencies. But background screening is pure research where the candidate gives formal consent about being screened or scrutinized.
What were the major challenges and the roadblocks while establishing AuthBridge?
The challenge was nobody really understood how to go about it. You couldn’t go to a similar market and hire people from there, since there was none. For eg, setting up an e-commerce portal, you look for candidates who are good at marketing or are best in sourcing of products, but for background screening there was absolutely nowhere we could look for talent. Understanding the business, its requirements, and the kind of talent we would require to build it were few of the challenges we had to go through. In this regard, technology helped us overcome these challenges and helped us simplify the processes.
Mostly MNCs are conducting background checks of employees. But there are cases where candidates fail in the screenings, for instance – the case of Uber. Is this failure rate more in India when it comes to employee checks? What are the reasons?
Nowadays, background checks have gone beyond the MNCs. Major sectors in India like telecom, insurance, BFSI, retail, manufacturing are insisting on conducting background checks. It would be unwise to say that failure rate is high in India without properly analyzing the data. The reason of failure rate is usually high when there is compromise on quality and depth for speed. In the advanced nations, like the US, the UK, the data of regulatory and government bodies is better structured and is easily available for verification, while in India the problem is of availability and accuracy.
According to a recent report- discrepancies like fake degrees and fudged job records rose to a four-year high in India in the 2nd quarter of 2015. What are the contributors to this trend?
A lot of companies who were not doing background screening earlier are adapting it as a standard business operation. It has become part of their hiring process. As the requirement for talent increases, candidates tend to falsify more. It is easier to get a job if they can hide a bad patch in their career or the expulsion from another company.
People also tend to falsify their resumes because the organizations while hiring don’t elaborate the requirements as per the job. For eg, companies should demand MBA as required qualification only if they think it is mandatory for that particular position. At times, organizations end up creating unnecessary pressure on people who are very talented and resourceful but probably without the ‘required’ qualifications.
What role has technology played in your organization? Are social media sites helpful in checking background of employees?
Prior to 2009, we were operating manually. Then we invested in adopting technology – which helped in transforming our way of working. We completely automated our internal workflow, and it created a lot of simple ways of doing things and faster. The intervention of technology has had significant improvements in our productivity. The ability to get accurate results has also improved – we are now able to do nationwide identity checks almost instantly, while earlier, it used to take about one to two days.
Social media sites do provide insights into the life of an individual, but it is limited to a certain level. It only provides insights into an individual’s political views, interest areas etc. So the information gathered from such sites is always questionable.