Author: Swarn

Background verification – Finding new grounds

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Background verification, at the moment, doesn’t need an introduction. The number of crimes, frauds, cheats, scams and similar drama has increased, and so has the need for background verification. Background verification started for the white collar employees and has spread its wings to blue collar and pink collar employees, brides, grooms, tenants and so on. The list is now endless.

All of us want to be safe rather than being sorry. Isn’t it?

Recently, I met an old friend of mine. Generally a happy girl looked quiet sad and her husband was also in some kind of shock. Eventually, she mentioned the reason for the sadness. Well, all I can say is, just a bit of presence of mind and a bit of more carefulness, could be have changed the cards completely.

This couple were looking for a good land deal. From the online sites, dealing in real estates, they found a piece of land, at a suitable location and the budget was within their reach. They contacted the dealer.

After a few meetings, the deal was closed. The couple personally checked all the original documents. They wanted to be sure. Being novice at land dealings, trust was a factor which convinced them more than the documents.

They were super convinced by the dealer and had faith that he, being such an old man, won’t do any wrong. The dealer also cooperated well and showed all the documents.

They chose an auspicious date and the deal was sealed and they assumed, that the land was theirs now.

Now, in many land deals, there are no loan facilities. You have to pay in cash/cheque/draft. This couple paid in cheque. The entire amount. A huge amount. Their entire savings.

After purchasing that land, they met an architect, showed him their land, shared how their house should look like and got the whole blue print, for their new house, ready. They were quite excited about the entire project, and these few months were like a dream come true.

The blue print was sent to the municipal corporation for approval. The result came as a nightmare.
The same plot has been registered under three different names.

They did a police complaint and everything, but the person who sold them the land is still not caught. Their money is gone. All of it.

16 augThis is not something which is uncommon these days. What’s the escape?

When investing such a huge amount of money, can’t we add in a simple step before closing a deal? Background verification.

If this couple had undertaken a background verification for the plot, the fraudulent seller would have been in the lockup. The entire history of who owned the land and when and who is the owner of the land at this moment, would be out.

Their hard earned money would be still with them. Safe.

Just to save some time and some money, don’t lose everything you own. Next time you think of a good plot, think of background verification. It’s time to be smarter. Information is currency, get a background verification done.

House help agency – background check

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Once upon a time, Emperor Akbar lost his favourite ring. Birbal came to his rescue. Birbal was a wise man and came up with a completely new idea for catching the thief. Birbal said, “Jahanpanah, the ring is here in the court. It is with one of the courtiers. That courtier, who has straw in his beard, has your ring.”

Instantly, one of the courtiers starting looking for the straw in his beard. He was caught and punished then and there. Ring was recovered.

It was that time, when things were much simpler. Apple and blackberry were just fruits, windows used to be open all the time and friends met face to face. The time has changed. Technology has changed. People have changed. Fraud, theft, scams or shams have become a common thing.

Let’s talk about the need of the hour – house helps. With the advent of the modern era, both the partners work; leaving behind old parents and small kids. House helps and live-in helps are something which have become a necessity.

Talking about a real life incident, a family needed a house help urgently. She found an agency online, which provided full-time, background checked, police verified house helps. She went ahead and called the agency.

The agency informed her that they have a full time house help available at the moment and she has all the required documents. After finalising the salary for the house help, the lady informed the agency that she will personally come and pick up the maid in the evening. The agency lady was a little apprehensive as she was busy in evening. So, the agency lady asked if she can drop the house help right away at her place. The client’s in laws used to stay with her and she didn’t expect any foul play. She was in need. She agreed.

The agency lady brought the house help and all the related documents. Her father in-law checked all the papers, while her mother in-law questioned the house help about her past experience. The parents upon scrutiny found everything fine! They went ahead and gave the agreed amount of Rs. 16,500, in cash. The agency lady gave a receipt for that. She soon left.

It was around three in the afternoon. The house help was an experienced lady and looked comfortable. She went ahead and made tea for the parents. They were very happy and enjoyed their tea. While they were enjoying the tea, she excused herself for going to the washroom. The house help didn’t return for about fifteen minutes, the parents felt a little odd. They went to check on her.

To their shock, the main door was open. The house help was nowhere in the house. They called up their children immediately. All efforts proved futile. They lost a lot of money over a cup of tea. All the documents were fake – the police verification record, the ration card and the information mentioned on the receipt. All!

27julySomehow I feel – that they were still lucky; only money was lost, no one was harmed. The house help could have easily harmed the old parents and taken stuff and gone.

We all are in a hurry. So was this lady. She felt, if she delays, she will have to wait for a month or more. The time has come where we need to take an extra step to be safe – background verification.

Before going ahead and hiring a live-in house help, we should get the agency verified. It will give a clearer picture of what kind of house helps they provide, whether they have provided any replacements before, most important of all, do they really exist. If all these doubts are cleared, get the house help’s background check done. Do not be in a hurry. Be safe.

Being informed is good, as information bring choices and choices brings power. Power to hire a house help and keep your dear ones and yourself safe!

Get background verification done. Be informed. Be safe.

Is Background Verification a Guarantee for – ‘No Fraud’?

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We talk so much about background verification and the need of it. But have you ever wondered if background verification is a guarantee for ‘no frauds’?

Not really, isn’t it! Even if an employee has a clear background verification, he might do some sort of fraud – big or small.

If it is so, can’t we just ignore few muddled up resumes? Say a candidate had a rigorous technical interview and he was great with his concepts and was the best fit for the post. His background verification has a few misrepresentations – mismatch for eight months of work experience or maybe a fake mark sheet of 12th standard to match the basic requirement for that post.

We all know he is a good catch, now just a 12th standard mark sheet or few months of work experience has been faked. Can it really harm us? After all, the candidate has got a sound knowledge in his area of expertise. He is a good catch.

Can’t we just ignore the background verification results and go ahead and hire the employee?
The answer is not too difficult.

You have to hire a baby-sitter and an elderly care-giver. You have small children and old parents to be taken care of.

Hiring a baby-sitter:

One candidate for the post of baby-sitter is great with your kids. Your kids instantly love her (we do find such people sometimes!) But when you do background verification for her, it fails.

She has not been working anywhere as nanny. This is her first job as nanny. Although she is just great with kids, your requirement was a more experienced nanny.

One thing is, she doesn’t match your requirement;
Second and most important thing is: she lied to get the job; she may lie again if kids are hurt or may jumble up food-intake information as per her convenience and may not provide proper care to the kids.

Hiring elderly-caretaker:

You want a nurse who could give proper medicines to your parents and take care of them like the way they will get in any hospital.

You have many candidates; one seems to be best fit. She has great experience and her fees look good too. You go ahead and do background verification.

Sadly, her background verification fails. She is not a registered nurse. Although, she has a lot of work experience as nurse and has taken care of many elderly people at home.

Will you leave your parents with an unqualified person, who has some assorted knowledge of nursing; who has no official training as a nurse? She may be aware of the medicines given to the people she nursed, but in your case, will she be able to handle any emergency situation?

Now, getting back to our organisation problem:

Children and Elderly-Parent:- Organization
Nanny And Nurse:- Candidates with fake resumes

140712Assuming we ignore the background verification result, thinking that background verification result doesn’t guarantee anything; will you be able to leave your children and parents to them?

Talking about me, I won’t and I know when we have to spend money on the nanny and nurse, we better have a truthful qualified person!

When we hire a candidate, apart from the time we invest and the cost of recruitment, another major cost is involved after the candidate joins is – cost of training the employee.

Do you really want to go ahead with the candidate whose background verification has failed? Of course there is, as yet, no guarantee that background verified employees won’t do any frauds, but that doesn’t mean we take background verification result lightly. It’s always better to be safe than sorry; isn’t it!

Tampered Resumes – Educational Verification

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There was a requirement for a graphic designer. It was a creative post, to be filled by a qualified person. The HR department was given the task of filling the post and they started looking for a suitable qualified candidate. After going through hundreds of resumes, they found one resume with matching qualification. The interview was fixed and looking at the qualification the lady had, everyone was sure that she was a good catch.

During interview, the candidate showed her work and the interviewers were impressed, actually, impressed beyond words. She was confident, knew her work (at least that’s what everyone could see on her laptop) and had great communication skills. She was the best match and she easily talked everyone for a great salary, highest at that rank.

She joined immediately. The work was waiting for her. The manager knew that their product is going to surpass the client’s expectation. He had great trust in the new employee’s capabilities.

First day went by without much work. It just went by, in knowing the team, the team knowing her, she getting used to the office and everything else.

The second day also passed without much work! In chit-chats and in random things. Manager was worried as the deadline was not very far. But he thought, as per her calibre, she could do it in a week’s time. But it should start now; you can’t take a chance with work, can you?

To the manager’s surprise, a week had passed since she joined office but the work didn’t move forward at all. Something was not right. She always found an excuse when the work progress was asked. She had not even completed her first task in hand. Nothing!

Manager reported the same to the HR head and asked if he can do anything. HR head asked him to wait for two days.

HR right away started her background verification, to be precise, her educational verification. The result was shocking and horrific!

She was summoned along with her manager to the HR office.

coffeeHer educational verification had failed. When her manager and HR head confronted her, she started crying. She had just done a graphic designing course, from a small coaching institute. All those samples of work were her friend’s. She had very limited knowledge of the subject, the theoretical ones. Someone told her that actual work doesn’t happen in office. Once you get in, you do a little work and rest will be done by others. You will learn the work in a year or two. She was quiet convinced by this logic and managed to get all the fake certificates in no time.

Well, well, all the coffee breaks may look pleasing but there is much more what goes on in an office, isn’t it!

This lady was shown the door, but obvious! Not only her, there are many young people who do this mistake. They produce fake resumes and matching certificates. They do get jobs, at times, but they get it back on their faces, when their educational verification fails. What’s the point of faking in your resume? Background verification is here and it is here to stay!

If you want to rise in your job, don’t lie in your resume!

Brand Image – The Power of Background Verification

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One day a professor entered the classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test. They waited anxiously at their desks for the test to begin. The professor handed out the question paper, with the text facing down as usual. Once he handed them all out, he asked his students to turn the page and begin. To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions; just a black dot in the center of the paper. The professor seeing the expression on everyone’s face told them the following:“I want you to write what you see there.”

The confused students got started on the inexplicable task.

At the end of the class, the professor took all the answer papers and started reading each one of them aloud in front of all the students. All of them with no exceptions described the black dot, trying to explain its position in the middle of the sheet, etc. After all had been read, the classroom was silent, the professor concluded:

“No one wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot!”

That’s exactly how the world moves. One wrong can erase hundreds of rights. Can any organization afford to have a black spot on their brand image?

A report states almost 51% candidates play with their resume data regarding their educational qualifications. Well, it might be just a small harmless lie, isn’t it! No one is harmed by that. But doesn’t this act speak loudly about the candidates morals! When that candidate is in real need, he created wrong documents and had the courage to go ahead and submit it too.

Can’t he submit wrong documents again – maybe a little fraud. But whether this little lie/fraud will create a big black spot or just a small one, no one can say!

19thNot only the educational qualification, but work experience has also been forged at many times. There has been an incident where the owner of a dingy one-room mobile repair shop was pretending to be an HR manager of a fake IT firm and he answered verification calls and described how the candidates had worked for him previously doing data entry.

One wrong step and the entire brand image may be blemished with that! Can anyone vouch for such candidates’ credibility?

Not really!

Imagine a situation – a candidate is absolute fit to the position to be filled urgently! Background verification is to be done but due to urgency, the candidate is absorbed immediately. He has perfect technical knowledge, excellent soft skills and within a week, he shows amazing compatibility with the team. The subordinates are happy to have him and so are his colleagues and his managers.

His background verification fails! He has forged his marks so that he qualifies the minimum criterion for getting the job!

What shall you do?

Small little fraud isn’t it! Certainly, he knows where or how to create a forged mark sheet. If this offense is not noted, this will re-insure the fact that small frauds are acceptable.

Can you really wait for the time when this candidate makes a black spot on the brand image of your organization? The decision to let go that candidate might look tough, but is there any choice?

It is said, every failure is a stepping stone to success. If the background verification fails, don’t miss a chance! Be safe and successful and keep the brand image white, without any black spots!

The need of the hour – Training

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Sigmund Freud was laughed at when he presented his ideas to a scientific community in Europe. He got back to his desk and starting writing.

Henry Ford failed and went broke in business three times before he succeeded.

Michael Caine‘s headmaster once told him, “you will be a labourer all your life”.

Van Gogh only sold a single painting in his entire life, for 400 francs to a sister’s friend. However, he didn’t stop painting 800 other works of art.

J.K Rowling was broke, living in poverty for quite a while before she thought of Harry Potter while on a train from Manchester to London.

Abraham Lincoln lost in 8 elections and failed in 2 businesses. But that didn’t stop him from becoming the 16th President of the USA.

Charles Darwin‘s father told him that he was an ordinary boy and wouldn’t do anything substantial in life.

Sachin Tendulkar played cricket for twenty years until he won his first World Cup in 2011.

Chris Gardner was a homeless man, living on the streets, in the worst poverty has to offer, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a millionaire through his investment firm.

Michael Jordan didn’t make his school’s basketball team. He went home, closed his door and cried. But that didn’t stop him from becoming one of the greatest sporting icons of all time and definitely the greatest basketball player of all time.

There are hundreds of inspirational examples – who failed miserably and came back so strong that there was no stopping. They became an example for all. Every common man/woman looks up to them and has a strong desire to be like them. There are thousands of sites and newspaper articles,  which sing about their glory.

Sadly, there are not tens, not hundreds, not thousands but lakhs of people trying to make it big, like others. Many young/old are leaving their jobs to follow their passion or something they feel is right for them. They fail and get up again to get it right the next time. They fail again. And again. And again till they have nothing to fall back on. These failures happen for a reason, it’s about time to understand the same.

The reason for all the repetitive failures is – Lack of training.

I know of a person who is passionate about photography, but he feels taking training is useless. It’s his passion and he will succeed as many have done it. They failed a lot of times and got success at the end.

Another one left a job to make an application; he won’t even release it on a smaller platform because he feels someone will copy his idea. Now, neither does he have a job nor his application has been released anywhere. He strongly feels he needs no training to do such a thing; many have made apps and have become a millionaires.

There are a few exceptional people who are experts, for others to succeed – you need to become an expert. To be an expert, there is just one way – Training.

trainingRatan Tata took a trainee job on the shop floor in his own ancestral company. He was just training himself to reach to top and stay there without falling.

Narayan Murthy worked at IIM-A as chief systems programmer and Patni Computer Systems in Pune (Maharashtra), before he created Infosys.

Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulakar, M.S. Dhoni, P.V. Sindhu, Sania Mirza and all the players, who have reached the pinnacle of success, have done so not only because of their passion but also because of the intense practice which goes on every day.

It is rightly said – Training is the essence of transformation.

If it glitters, be alert!

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Once upon a time there were two friends – Anil and Sunil. They were travelling by train from their village to the city. They both were planning to do a lot of shopping in the city malls and were discussing this. The first thing they wanted to buy was a wrist watch.

A very well dressed young man with impeccable manners was also travelling along with them. He overheard their conversation and politely asked if they would be interested in buying a couple of watches – that he had. He showed them the watches and the watches were stunning and glittered marvelously. He informed that these watches were imported and the straps were made of pure gold.

Anil liked the watches so much that he immediately agreed to buy one. Sunil however cautioned Anil not to take a hasty decision since they did not know for sure if the watch was made of pure gold. But Anil just loved the watch and wanted to buy it right away.

He paid a huge sum of money and bought the watch. It was indeed a beautiful watch and was the best in the village. Well, just for a few days, the watch stopped ticking and when Anil took it to a watch repairer; he was told that the watch was not made of gold and that he had been cheated.

It was not difficult to guess that, isn’t it?

Now that we have read the above story, consider the following situations:
A house help agency has many house helps. The agency says that they have done the background verification for all the house helps. You like one of the house helps. Plus you are in dire need of one.

What do you do?

You hire one of them, right!

Somewhere in Bangalore….
The family hired the help and she was great. She charged only Rs. 12000/- for 24 hours. The agency wanted the entire salary to be paid to them and they would pay the girl and her family, which looked okay to the family. They were very happy. It seemed that they won a jackpot.

After a few months, the girl committed suicide.

02mayAfter a lot of investigation, the facts came to light. The girl was an orphan and was a beggar. She was picked by this agency. They never paid a penny to her! The whole feel was extremely glittery. The house help was great, she charged so less and (as informed by the agency) already had her background verification done; the agency knew the family (as they were paying her salary to them). It was all good to go.

Hence, more the glitter, the more careful you need to be!

There are not one but many cases of house-helps fraud backgrounds, many from Bangalore. It is a busy city with more and more couples working, leaving behind old parents and small children in the house to be taken care off.
Apart from what happened, there were many more possibilities – theft, kidnapping or worse. She was a stranger to the agency and to the family. If she wanted to do harm to the family, she could have done that. She could have vanished in thin air without any trace left behind. She had no family or no one rather. Having said that, what happened was also equally bad!

It’s time to be more careful and take background verification more seriously. It is better not to be penny wise and pound foolish.

Background Verification – Being Prepared

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A wild boar was rubbing his tusks against a tree.

A fox passing by asked him what he was doing.

“My tusks are my weapons,” said the boar. “I’m sharpening them.”

“Why waste time sharpening your weapons when there’s no danger in sight?” said the fox. “You’re being foolish.”

Just then a hunter appeared on the scene. Frightened by the boar’s sharpened tusks, he turned on the fox instead and shot him dead.

You have to be prepared; isn’t it!

Imagine a situation where the human resource department has to do bulk recruitment or just one recruitment but they have a strict time constraint. Within that time span they need to advertise, do initial screening, fix an interview and then complete the final HR round. After all these steps; there is one more step before handing over the offer letter and that is – background verification.

To get the work done on time and to fasten the process, these companies could hire a third party vender – companies that provide background verifications at a zooming speed. But then, apart from the time constraint, there is one more constraint the HR department faces and that is budget.

Now, background verification is a new addition to various recruitment steps. It still needs to get the importance – it holds. It is a step that – people usually take lightly. Considering own experience and the very important, face value, candidates are hired.

What happens when the initial preparation is not done properly?

News 1:
Shyam worked in Hewlett Packard’s (HP) Bangalore office for three years without any issues. And then, he quit. A few months later, Shankar joined the company and when he was in the canteen one day, some employees were surprised that he looked exactly like Shyam. Of course, Shankar denied any knowledge of Shyam. However, in the HR verification, it turned out that Shankar was indeed Shyam.

What transpired was that Shankar had failed to get his college degree. So, his girlfriend, who worked in the company, used her brother Shyam’s degree to get Shankar a job. In the course on three years, at the company, Shankar passed and got his own degree. So, he re-applied, this time with his own degree, and got in. This time with real identity.

18th aprilNews 2:
The Uber rape case in New Delhi has revealed the murky underbelly of slapdash background checks in India.

There are many more stories which tells us that we are not giving much time for preparation. And who is at the loss! Cost of background check for one employee is actually not a cost, it is the much needed preparation. A company’s goodwill is at stake! So, it high time we take background verification more seriously and are prepared! After all, you can’t buy back your goodwill, you can just earn it!

Time for a big Change – Aadhaar e-verification

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Long ago, people lived happily under the rule of a king. The people of the kingdom were very happy as they led a very prosperous life with an abundance of wealth and no misfortunes.

Once, the king decided to go visiting places of historical importance and pilgrim centres at distant places. He decided to travel by foot to interact with his people. People of distant places were very happy to have a conversation with their king. They were proud that their king had a kind heart.

After several weeks of travel, the king returned to the palace. He was quite happy that he had visited many pilgrim centres and witnessed his people leading a prosperous life. However, he had one regret.

He had intolerable pain in his feet as it was his first trip by foot covering a long distance. He complained to his ministers that the roads weren’t comfortable and that they were very stony. He could not tolerate the pain. He said that he was very worried about the people who had to walk along those roads as it would be painful for them too!
Considering all this, he ordered his servants to cover the roads in the whole country with leather so that the people of his kingdom can walk comfortably.

The king’s ministers were stunned to hear his order as it would mean that thousands of animals would have to be slaughtered in order to get sufficient quantity of leather. It would cost a huge amount of money also.
Finally, a wise man from the ministry came to the king and said that he had another idea. The king asked what the alternative was. The minister said, “Instead of covering the roads with leather, why don’t you just have a piece of leather cut in appropriate shape to cover your feet?”

The king was very surprised by his suggestion and applauded the wisdom of the minister. He ordered a pair of leather shoes for himself and requested all his countrymen also to wear shoes.

29th marchThere are few changes which are revolutionary in nature and happen for the good. Aadhaar card is one such initiative. In a country like India, where people belong to organized and unorganized sectors, are from rural and urban areas, there are many who don’t have a valid PAN card or passport. They don’t need it. They don’t pay taxes and for other things they need their ration cards. Ration card is not a valid address proof, which leaves just a permanent address or rent agreement. Many don’t have either.

In such a cases, having an Aadhaar card is a ray of hope – of having a genuine identity proof, for everyone, irrespective of age, gender, working class sector, financial sector or place one lives. It is mandatory for all.

At present, there are 105 crore registered people in the Aadhaar database. An, almost, instant validation of an individual, is a feather in the cap of Janta-khoj. Any individual can get their or their employees’ Aadhaar e-verification done, almost instantly. Be it a driver, a house help, a blue collar employee or a white collar employee or just a would-be groom, everyone can get verified instantly.

With Aadhaar, demographic and biometric details are attached. Going by a simple daily life example, if we need to hire a house help or a driver and they come with a valid Aadhaar card and specifies all her demographic details, it can be verified instantly through Aadhaar e-verification. Once the Aadhaar verification is successfully completed, they can be hired but if in any case, they commit any foul/fraud, we not only have their photo but also their demographic details with us, as we have their validated Aadhaar card number. Makes life easier and safer, isn’t it! So Aadhaar e-verification is a big change and it is here to stay! Let’s be safe and verified!

Happy Women’s Day!

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Happy Women’s Day to all the wonderful ladies out there! Now, that women day has just passed, we all experienced the whole mega-celebration for the women we are! Few stores gave free vouchers/coupons, few gave free drinks and few gave one free lunch with four. Many companies gave flowers and gifts to the female employees and celebrated their womanhood.

There were many commercials which celebrated women in the most beautiful way. Few inspired us to take out time for ourselves; few captured how much work we put in everyday, in the best possible way. All were done marvelously! It made us, all women feel, that we truly are super-powered-women in our own ways.

Let’s get to the history of Women’s day celebration? Seeing all the arrangements made and the entire celebration, I felt the whole purpose of the day was lost!

fig1 15marchThe original aim of celebrating this day was – to achieve full gender equality for women of the world. Sadly, we talk about the gender equality but when it comes to pay-gaps, education, health and safety, there is a huge gap to be filled.

In education, according to National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) June 2015, shows the following:

Age Group Male Female
Up to Seven Years 83% 67%
Up to Graduation(In Rural Area) 4.5% 2.2%
Up to Graduation(In Urban Area) 17% 13%

Considering the gender pay gap in India, a new report shows the figure stands as high as 27%. The median gross hourly salary for both genders is as follows:

Male Female
Median Gross Salary Rs. 288.68/Hour Rs. 207.85/Hour

Considering crime against women in India, it is said that crime against women is reported every two minutes.

Not one day, but women have to fight for these three basic things every day. Of course, everything which has been celebrated is true, but we need to look beyond it and address the major issues too!