Siemens has recently introduced deep background verification of candidates who have been given offers in India.
The person being hired has to give written consent for the process. Says Ramesh Shankar, executive vice-president and cluster HR head, South Asia, "Integrity from the employee's side is very important for us. Though we usually go for the basic verification, including previous employer records, relieving letter verification and education verification, in sensitive departments like supply chain management or sales, we also go for more intricate verification for these employees."
The candidates are sifted into three categories — green, red and amber. Being put into red rules out employment. If in amber, further checks are done until he or she comes into the green category. Shankar added that in today's world, integrity was of utmost priority and Siemens had zero tolerance for any violation. Hence, they’d like to lay the foundations from the beginning of one’s career. They say they’ve partnered with an internationally-reputed organisation for this purpose.
|* When someone applies for a job, he/she signs an authorisation to conduct background screening and obtain an investigative report on the personal, academic and work information provided
|* The employer then directs the background screening agency to initiate the process in the case
|* The agency initiates the process from its in-house operations team and sometimes associates with prominent HR agencies for verifying the applicant's information
|* The agency usually has close contact with police to verify whether the candidate has a clean record
|* Through franchisees, the agency checks each detail mentioned in the CV, including the residential address mentioned
|* Some companies even ask agencies to check the social media updates and information provided during this process
|* Upon authentication of the applicant's information, the agency provides a case assessment report to the client
|* If the applicant passes the background check and the employer decides to hire, promote or retain, the process is concluded
Employee background verification by companies has risen by at least 50 per cent in the past six months, according to the industry. Companies, are not just doing the basic verification such as previous employer or criminal background verification. They’re also checking lifestyle, assets owned, drug abuse testing and, at senior levels, media image of the individual.
“Employers don't leave their recruitment decisions to chance any more. With the surge in employment rate comes a precarious challenge that all human resource managers have been increasingly dealing with — inflated designations, dubious credentials, misrepresented tenure and fake educational certificates — on new hires during their pre-selection process,” said Lokapriya Jena, head, employee background screening services, at Onicra Credit Information Company.
Matrix is another such background screening company and is seeing a 40 per cent rise in the number of clients since last year. G Vishwanathan, executive director and president, said the average cost was ~2,000-4,000 per candidate. They take 15-21 business days to check the background of one candidate. The company has a franchise of about 125 chartered accountants all over India to verify employee details as needed by clients. The company even uses portals like world-check.com, which maintains a database of politically exposed and high-risk persons, in their verification process. They verify everything from education, employment track record and character checks from previous HR personnel to intricate supervisor checks.
Investment management company Ambit has been following the practice of background screening of employees for a long time. Shalini Kamath, managing director (HR and corporate communications), feels instances of fraud have still been increasing over time. “We have had instances of people even mentioning a fake company in their CV (resume),” said Kamath.
The company has two stages of verification. Everything mentioned on an individual's CV, except the previous employer, is verified before the person joins. After he/she joins, the details of the previous employer are checked. This process has been outsourced to an agency. For senior levels, a capability check is also done, by the company itself, by talking to previous employers.
With companies in India getting stricter on verifying the employee background and seeking more and more intricate details, these firms believe there is a very good market for their bouquet of products. “Though it is improper to say so, players like us can only hope and look out for more intricate information lapses and CV frauds. After all, this is our business,” concludes the head of a top Indian background verification agency.