Talent acquisition today is an exercise in brand building. Today companies are employing technology in all facets of the TA process to showcase their employer brand. It’s no wonder that even background screening, an important part of TA, has also evolved to ensure that it does not hamper the recruiting process.
Rather, the screening process has evolved with technology from a paper-based task to an online process that can be done very quickly and efficiently, utilizing much less employer and candidate time and effort. But how well versed are Indian firms with these changing trends in the screening process? What are some of the recommended best practices for companies to implement a strong background screening program so as to ensure a positive candidate experience during hiring?
Steve Girdler, Managing Director, APAC and EMEA, HireRight, one of the world's largest providers of employee background check services, serving over 30,000 customers through 16 global offices, in an exclusive conversation with People Matters demystifies some of these questions.
What are some of the evolving HR trends in India as far as hiring is concerned?
An economic superpower, it’s no surprise that one of the biggest hiring trends we’re seeing in India is simply more hiring. India is bullish in its forecasts.
Of course, the flipside is when opportunities are aplenty, retention becomes a challenge. We’ve seen a focus here on creating great employee and candidate experiences.
Organisations are increasingly looking to streamline and incorporate technology into their hiring, background screening, and onboarding processes.
What are some of the current background screening practices in India? How do they compare globally?
Most of the companies HireRight works with in India conduct basic checks such as verification of employment and educational qualifications. Some, depending on the industry the company is in and the role they are hiring for, conduct more comprehensive checks such as credit, criminal record, identity and professional reference checks. This is consistent across the globe.
While India historically leads the APAC region in terms of minimal candidate discrepancies, it generally lags behind other markets when it comes to the implementation of screening in the first place.
This means considerably greater exposure to risk than the global average.
What should HR managers keep in mind when selecting a vendor for a background check?
There are several factors companies should keep in mind and this depends on their hiring requirements and geographical reach.
First, the global presence of a screening vendor would be essential if an organization hires international workers. Even if they only hire locally, it's common for most candidates these days to have studied or worked overseas. Hence, it would be equally important for companies to screen the international backgrounds of candidates. In such cases, it would be essential, then, for your background screening vendor to be able to procure candidate background information from around the world.
Second, it is imperative that your chosen provider is compliant with relevant regulations when gathering information, as risk mitigation while building your employment brand is a key pillar of strong hiring. Background checks must comply not only with local law but also with differing state and local legislation. Hence, your chosen provider needs to monitor diverse and ever-shifting laws.
Third would be ensuring that the candidate experience does not suffer during the background screening process. The screening platform and process you use could be one of the first interactions potential candidates have with your organization. It's important for it to be as user-friendly as possible for candidates and be seen as an extension of the employer brand.
Lastly, if your background screening provider's platform can integrate seamlessly with other applicant tracking systems you are using, this helps make the screening process more efficient and seamless for both recruiters and candidates and could help reduce time to hire.
What are some of the legal challenges when it comes to the background check and screening practices in India?
In India, there is no dedicated law governing pre-emptive screening. Therefore, we need to be guided by other general laws which may be applicable to such activities. HireRight encourages our clients to work closely with their internal or external legal counsel to ensure they remain compliant with relevant regulations.
What are some of the recommended best practices to implement a strong background screening program so as to ensure a positive candidate experience during hiring?
Our candidate feedback surveys indicate that candidates value accessibility, transparency, and quick, honest answers to their questions. The advancement of HR technologies has evolved screening processes from a paper-based task to an online process that can be done very quickly and efficiently, utilizing much less employer and candidate time and effort.
It’s even becoming increasingly common for job candidates to fill in screening forms via their mobile devices. This way the process is interactive and user-friendly, resulting in an enhanced and seamless candidate and recruiter experience.
For instance, at HireRight, our Applicant Center 2.0 offers candidates comprehensive step-by-step guidance through the screening process, enables candidates to supply additional information easily, view the status of their checks in real-time, and ask any questions directly to the background screening providers instead of the recruiters. Some even feature drag-and-drop functions so applicants can easily upload their certifications, or take pictures of their qualifications using their mobile phones without having to scan the documents onto their computers.
Additionally, the background screening process should also be an extension of the company's recruiting program. The background screening platform could be customized to include elements such as the company logo, a company welcome message or welcome video so that it's in line with the company’s branding.
Given the current debate on technology vs individual privacy, how do you see technology and digitization impacting the background screening practices in times to come?
With technology often being the lynchpin of business transformation, background screening has evolved to ensure it does not hamper the recruiting process. The screening technology of today is fully digital and can be integrated with various applicant tracking and e-recruiting systems which help streamline the hiring and onboarding process for HR professionals.
While we’re constantly exploring new technologies to help improve both the candidate and recruiter experience during the background screening process, we take data privacy and consent extremely seriously. From a background screening perspective, we typically work closely with candidates and keep them informed about exactly what data is required of them, and how it will be used.
Also, protecting the personal information of candidates is of utmost importance to us. We work proactively with data vendors throughout out the world and ensure that HireRight remains compliant with its delivery of products and services. Some examples include the Ban the Box and Pay Equity legislation in the United States. With the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) set to take effect on 25th May 2018, not only have we been working to make sure that we are compliant, we’ve also provided resources to help educate our clients who will be affected by the GDPR.
The GDPR puts control of personal data squarely with the individual requiring any organization that holds, controls and/or processes personal information to be transparent with the purpose of that data, where it is held, the right of erasure and a greater focus on consent. The GDPR is also extra-territorial, which means that any organization wishing to trade in the EU needs to comply. It is HireRight’s view that the GDPR will become the gold standard for data privacy and will in some form be adopted globally in the near future.
HireRight is the Gold Partner for People Matters Talent Acquisition League Annual Conference 2018. Know more about such trends at the People Matters Talent Acquisition League Annual Conference 2018 on 30th May which will seek to address the most poignant talent acquisition challenges, what’s next in TA, and how AI and machines are becoming matchmakers for recruiters today.
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