Employee verification: What do companies look for?

Filling vacancies quickly without compromising on the verification process can be quite a challenge.

Employee verification: What do companies look for?

In a scramble to find the top candidates, organisations often end up in a rush to push talent in through the door before their competitors. It is indeed a challenge for all companies to reduce the time for hiring even while ensuring that all the proper checks are carried out. The pressure is on HR to manage the whole exercise. So what do organisations prioritise while looking for the right fit for their company?

With the country witnessing growth across fields—whether it is the booming start-up sector or national and global brands taking hold of the market—it has become important for companies to find ready talent, which can fit their needs and demands, and also align with their image as it is presented to the world.

A lack of thorough background verification can lead to companies facing financial and reputational loss and it can occur in the senior roles as well. Just last year, reports surfaced about the CEO of Samsonite who had to step down on account of allegations that he had padded his resume with false degrees.

According to media reports this year, background verification companies witnessed a 13 per cent increase in screening cases as compared to last year. With growing discrepancies, especially at the junior level, organisations are taking more precautions.

Employment and education checks are on the top of the list for companies. With cut throat competition coupled with a mismatch in the demand and supply of qualified talent, it is possible for candidates to fake degrees to gain entry.

Employee background verification consists of multiple checks— a minimum of 10-12— the specificities of which depend on the employer’s needs.

Identity check

Identity checks are the most common across companies and involve authentication using national IDs, such as passport, voter ID, PAN and Aadhaar among others.

Reference checks

Reference checks are taken quite seriously by companies as they can provide better insight into the candidate as a person. It is more so at the senior levels of hiring, where it becomes all the more necessary to understand whether the candidate is a good culture fit for the company. “Being at a senior level, the person will obviously possess talent. Therefore, the important thing to know is whether that individual is a good fit or not”, says, Abhay Srivastava, chief talent officer, SVP-HR, Cipla.

Criminal checks

No company will knowingly hire employees with a criminal background. However, unfortunate incidents can still occur and organisations have woken up to the fact that at times checking the civil and criminal backgrounds of candidates can be quite necessary.

Drug tests

Drug screening is a growing area where companies test candidates for substance use. It can be embarrassing for companies to have one of their employees caught for substance abuse. However, it is not common because such tests are usually intrusive in nature and require bodily samples.

The authentication process for background verification is typically outsourced to third parties specialising in it, with the company specifying the factors that need to be given priority.

Across sectors, the same level of parity is not maintained while conducting such checks. As a norm, in a few sectors, such as IT, ITES, finance and FMCG industries, the checks are more stringent. Comparatively, those applied in the telecommunications, manufacturing, retail, travel, education and entertainment sectors are less rigorous.

Even so, there are challenges in verification. The absence of a universal database from which an agency can draw the candidates’ details is the primary hurdle. This means that individual checks need to be conducted separately by approaching different organisations, making it a complicated and expensive affair.

Furthermore, it can be time consuming, depending on the level of checks asked for by the hiring organisation. In case of urgent vacancies, the wait for candidates to be given a clean chit can prove to be long and tedious. This makes it a hard task for companies who need to fill the vacancies quickly and at the same time, also hire safely.

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