Demystifying Background Verification

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Oct 22, 2018, 9:00 am IST
Updated Oct 22, 2018, 9:00 am IST
Details are sent to a specialised background a verification services provider.
Effective background screening is deemed to be a necessity by employers to weed out unscrupulous candidates early in the recruitment process
 Effective background screening is deemed to be a necessity by employers to weed out unscrupulous candidates early in the recruitment process

Any working professional who has recently changed jobs or has joined a new company as a fresher is likely to be familiar with the elaborate recruitment process that most modern employers follow. One of the components of an effective recruitment process is background verification; and a new employer often seeks a written consent from the candidate for conducting this verification.

Effective background screening is deemed to be a necessity by employers to weed out unscrupulous candidates early in the recruitment process, whether they are entry-level employees or senior executives. The resignation of Samsonite’s CEO this July for submitting a fake doctoral degree as part of his application process is a case in point.

 

It should not surprise, therefore, if an employer insists on a background check from a potential hire. Once the candidate gives her consent, her details are sent to a specialised background verification services provider, who would later conduct certain specific checks as mandated by the employer. These checks typically include verification of identity, address, education, and previous employment and even criminal or police records in various permutations or combinations that the employer deems fit.

According to Ajay Trehan, founder and CEO of India’s leading background verification company, “In numerous cases, the entire verification process is largely concealed from the candidate which causes the process to seem baffling to him/her. On the contrary, the procedures and activities performed under the purview of verification are highly structured and righteous.”

It is therefore necessary to clear some myths around the background verification process that can otherwise come across as mystifying.

Background verification will violate the candidate’s privacy

Genuine background screening companies follow well-defined protocols that fully respect a candidate’s right to privacy. Even in case, a mismatch is found between the claimed information and the verified information, the employer is only informed that a mismatch exists; the specific details of the mismatch are not shared.

 

The candidate will not be informed about the checks that the company is doing on him/her

Background verification is carried out by certified background verification agencies only after the candidate has consented to it. While the consent-form that is signed with the employer may not list all the checks that it is getting done, the common background checks are listed on the sites of background verification companies in a comprehensive manner.

Candidate’s personal information will not be exposed

Background verification is not investigative work and their goal is not to uncover hidden details about the candidate. In fact, ethical BGV firms use cutting-edge data protection technologies and even deploy separate teams for conducting individual checks. They keep the information that they obtain from different types of checks (education, employment, address etc.) in separate data repositories. There is no single place where all the information about an individual is stored and no one has access to the complete data about a single candidate. Moreover, even the final report to the employer does not expose any of the candidate’s personal details.

Background Checks only benefit the employer

While the employer certainly benefits from verifying the antecedents of all new employees, these tests also help assure employees that they work in a safe environment with the right set of colleagues. According to a 2017 report by AuthBridge, one out of every six job applicants were found to have lied in their resumes, while INBA’s 2nd edition of Sexual Harassment Survey found that over 38% women claimed to have faced sexual harassment at workplace. In the light of the current events and instances, the actual number of harassment cases could even be higher. It becomes an obligation of the employer to provide you with an environment that is conducive to meet your professional goals and safe for you to grow. Ipso facto, it becomes only obvious that we cooperate and encourage these processes in our personal capacities.

A candidate can lose his job as a result of his background verification

The employer has the right to reject an individual’s candidature or even terminate his/her employment on the basis of an unsatisfactory background verification report. The only way a candidate can ensure this does not happen is to be completely truthful about their educational qualifications, past work experience (including tenure at an organisation) and provide valid proofs of identity and address.

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