After reviewing piles of resumes, when you finally think that you have found a match; a seemingly perfect hire, you need to be meticulous about his or her background. Your shortlisted candidate might come across as a friendly, intelligent and hardworking future employee. But, as the case with any person you’ve just met, first impressions can be deceiving. The last thing you want to do is hire a fraud, or worse yet, a criminal. Your employee is your most critical asset.
India, world's largest democracy, is a diverse and complex country with over 700 languages, 10 million students and a 484 million-strong workforce, representing a huge opportunity for global businesses. But this huge opportunity comes with risks. For companies hiring in India, it is critical to understand there is no ONE standardized government-issued ID or criminal records database, meaning that conducting identity and probity checks are largely manual and resource-intensive exercises.
Aggravating the situation is the number of organizations offering fake degrees or certificates. The University Grant Commission (UGC) frequently updates the list of illegitimate educational institutes in India and a recent list includes 21 universities and hundred more distance learning centers or 'diploma mills'. Additionally, there are thousands of companies providing fake employment or experience letters. The process of vetting staff and vendors is often rife with subjectivity, inconsistency, inaccuracy and even corrupt practices.
To sum it up, the absence of one unique national identity card, easy availability of fake education certificates and employment or experience letters have made background screening a must. This helps not just in hiring the best talent but also strengthens the security by weeding out frauds and criminals. According to First Advantage’s Q4 2014 Trends Report, there was an average of about 11 percent discrepancy among those screened.
Background screening provides in depth details about the candidates that helps employers make a thoughtful decision. The employers mostly request for verifying employee’s education, employment history, criminal record and address. According to Q4 2014 Trends Report discrepancies related to Employment, Address and Education were at 55.7 percent, 13.0 percent and 5.3 percent respectively.
Our research shows that employment history is more likely to contain discrepancies than any other component. Verification of employment history of the candidates provides information related to the candidates past experience, last salary drawn, reasons for leaving the previous company, genuineness of the certificates provided and also the performance of the employee. In this context, many companies request company verification to check the legitimacy of the company and consequently the veracity of declared experience or skills. This data is crucial for the employers as they learn more about the candidates and also confirm their skillsets necessary for the job.
Formal education is crucial for career growth and people strive hard for academic excellence. Unfortunately, with the rise in ‘degree mills’ and tough competition there is a need to verify the certificates of the employees. Screening educational credentials of an employee helps in confirming the qualification of the employee and checking the genuineness of the university and the certificates furnished by the candidate.
It is important to verify the address of the employee to validate his or her personal details. According to the 2014 Trends Report Bengaluru, Mumbai and New Delhi are the metro cities which have topped in Address related discrepancies. Address verification is also critical for criminal record check as it defines the jurisdiction for such criminal check.
With the surge in information theft, violence against women at work and criminal offenses at work, employers are insisting on verifying the criminal records of the employees to fortify the security at work.
According to the Trends Report, 26 percent discrepancies were related to criminal, document investigation, database, reference, etc. Employers have become extremely wary about engaging with any new person or organization due to the risk it poses. Employers are opting for infinity screening to avoid unwarranted threats to the company and the employees.
Infinity Screening protects the company’s brand by screening anyone associated with the company, such as contractors, vendors, re-screening existing candidates who may have committed a new offense or violation since their initial background check.
Need for Background Screening
Background verification helps in providing employees with a safe work environment. Criminal and financial background verification not just help in providing a safe work environment but also protects a company from reputational damage or potential risk to workplace safety or confidential data that result from negative hiring. Many companies are increasingly doing drug testing to ensure safety and productivity of employees and better manage the rising healthcare insurance cost.
A company’s success depends completely on its employees. Let alone the business risk, the cost of hiring, training and replacement hiring could be significant in itself. Sustaining the talent pool and providing the employees with a safe work environment is of utmost importance for every company. Hiring suitable candidates is a time consuming process, and one should chalk out a proper hiring plan and execute it patiently to be successful in hiring the right talent. A question for every business or an employer and every CXO – are you managing your human capital risk?