Article: Background checks: Slippery tracks and solutions


Background checks: Slippery tracks and solutions

Background checks of employees are essential during recruiting. However, there are many problems involved and solutions require many precautions. Knowledge of these problems, solutions, and precautions helps a company's HR department to take an informed decision about a candidate
Background checks: Slippery tracks and solutions

Background check (BGC) is an employee screening mechanism to verify the viability, truthfulness, identity and in some cases the criminal and behavioral tendencies of a potential candidate, particularly for a position that requires high security or trust. It is an important component of the hiring process, regardless of the size of the organization or the nature of the industry. It’s through this system that a company’s HR department can take an informed decision as to whether a candidate will prove to be an asset to the organization or a liability. 

Three Aspects of BGC

  • Problems

  • Precautions

  • Solutions

The recent resignation of a senior White House official, who was discovered to have lied on his resume about working in a New York-based law firm and the fact that he had a Master’s Degree, is an apt example of how lapses in the employee screening process can occur even at the highest levels. Despite the fact that this embarrassing situation could have been avoided entirely with a simple phone call to the official’s supposed former employers or university, it serves as a reminder of how basic even basic verification checks are. Not to mention the harm overstated salary and educational credentials does to a company’s bottom line.

At times, these checks can be complicated, sometimes even delicate and require the expertise of an external specialist agency.

However, even with additional assistance, there are several pressing issues that one needs to consider. Some major ones are discussed below: 

Problems Involved in  BGC

Problems in Organizations

  • No central information system in organizations

  • Too much bureaucracy

  • Need for National Skill Registry

Hiring Experience

  • Consent of the candidate must be taken before asking any entity, to follow a correct legal procedure

  • Courtesy & integrity must be maintained to protect a positive image of the company


  • Delayed response from employers, institutions & governments

  • An easy and efficient system is essential

Solutions to overcome these challenges:

1.    Hiring an authorized background screening partner

Organizations outsource verification of employment history and credentials to authorized background screening companies. These companies can verify education, employment and other credentials as provided by the applicant, keeping in mind the legal issues associated with geography. With the right background checks in place, an employer can not only mitigate the compliance, safety, reputation and legal risks associated with poor quality hires but also take comfort in the fact that they are doing so ethically.

2.    Getting the right technology in place

Technology has found its way into many an HR Process. Background verification companies have used tech to fill the institutional voids like data integration and lack of appropriate infrastructure for accurate background checks. Driven by proprietary workflows, industry experience, employer networks, and tech-based solutions, these companies providing the appropriate possible picture to HR decision makes within the stipulated time-frame.

3.    Government Initiatives  

One of the most significant challenges for employee screening in India has been the lack of a common identifier. In the absence of a common unique identifier (example - Social Security Number in the US), doing any search across criminal, education, residential records etc. needs an intelligent search using a combination of the individual’s name, father’s name, date of birth etc. Now, many kinds of standard documents are listed by the government, which can be furnished to provide the identification details. Companies can use any of the identification documents in case the employee is not comfortable giving Aadhar number. This is especially in the wake of the Supreme Case judgment that protects the candidates’ right to maintain their privacy.

Some precautions

  • Employees shall respect the companies' stress on legality only when they see the employers practicing ethics and legalities

  • Often employees lose jobs because of an unethical work environment and peer politics, despite following all rules and performing well

  • A background check also needed for previous employers and management of the candidate

Companies would be avoiding any possible future legal battles with the employees by avoiding unethical and illegal activities. Background checks are difficult, but as far as investments go, they have an undeniably high ROI. Businesses that ignore the verification process run the risk of not merely employing untrustworthy, incompetent candidates, but nurturing an atmosphere wherein deceit on the part of the job seeker is rewarded.  

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Topics: Recruitment, #Hiring

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