Background Verifications

Another arrow in our quiver – Aadhaar e-verification

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The government of India embarked on an ambitious journey of delivering a grand project to the citizens of the country. The endeavour was of providing a unique identity to the residents of India. With more than a billion people already enrolled in the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) – Aadhaar is increasingly becoming a standard resident authentication and e-KYC. It has been touted as India’s biggest welfare legislation. Aadhaar number is to India what social security number is to the US.
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The government is already making Aadhaar a de facto resident identification means and has already made it essential for availing many of its services.

Aadhaar aims to give a 12-digit unique identity number to all the residents by collecting their fingerprint and iris scans. Our Aadhaar number is a unique 12-digit random number issued to the residents of India after adhering to the verification process laid down by the Authority. Any individual, irrespective of age and gender, who is a resident of India, may voluntarily enroll to obtain an Aadhaar number. I too patiently stood in the long queues when the process of issuance had commenced.

As of September 2017, its database, maintained by the Unique Identification Authority of India, held the names, addresses and biometric information of more than 105 crore people.

Today Aadhaar verification is proving to be a vital tool in the process of verification. In fact not only corporate but even individuals can avail of this instant service – Aadhaar e-verification. It can also be used for the domestic help segment (maids, cooks, drivers and guards). In fact Aadhaar verification can also be used to verify tutors, hobby teachers and gym instructors. We can verify almost any individual weather a corporate worker or a household worker based on his/her Aadhaar card number.

Technology enables us in so many varied ways; today you can instantly verify via e-verification with JantaKhoj InfoServices. The turnaround time for this service is instant. We instantly confirm the validity of the Aadhaar card details entered.

So, let’s put this new arrow in our quiver to good use; get your employees’ Aadhaar verification initiated!

Employee Background Verification – Discrepancy Statistics for February 2017

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Here are the high level monthly discrepancy statistics for February 2017.
We observed that 3.8% of the overall number of cases had discrepancies (could be major or minor).

Case-Feb2017

Next, let us look at the breakup of the discrepancies to identify further which types of components (checks) were the source of these discrepancies. These discrepancies were in education and employment checks, with employment discrepancies being the most significant and accounting for 63.6% of all discrepancies.

Component-Feb2017

Three mega projects revisited – Aadhaar, NAD, CCTNS

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It was more than six years ago that we had published this blog covering the three mega projects which had the potential to tranform background verifications in India.

Let’s review the status of these projects.

Aadhaar is now a mainstream identity platform, which is being used in a wide variety of processes and applications. In fact, Aadhaar is one of the largest such platforms in the world and shows no signs of stopping in terms of enrollments and usages. We have also released our offering for Aadhaar verification.

National Academic Depository was put on high priority by the current government and has been launched. More universities and records are being added to it. We continue to stay tuned for its enrollment for background verification providers.

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems has been an ongoing project for quite some time. The project status sheet indicates that the State Citizen Portals for the project has been launched in various states. Once again, we continue to stay tuned for its availability for background verification providers.

In summary, the three mega projects have done quite well and with the inclusion of Aadhaar as a unique key across the three projects, it will become possible to have a unified view across different types of background checks.

 

Winds of change – HR Trends to watch out for in 2017

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The year 2016 has been quite eventful for us in the corporate sector. Here at home, we witnessed de-monetization; Tata Power acquiring Welspun Renewables Energy. We topped the ‘2016 Outsourcing Index’. We are the world’s biggest outsourcing destination in terms of financial attractiveness and business environment, according to a study published by a global management consulting firm.

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Globally we witnessed Microsoft swooping in to purchase LinkedIn, Ranstad acquired Monster.com, and Oracle bought Netsuite. These were the big ones in the mergers and acquisitions arena. Donald Trump being sworn in as the president of the United States is at the forefront. In today’s times, we no longer function in a vacuum. In the era of globalization and glocalization, events overseas affect us too. Business environment doesn’t have boundaries and is definitely not static. We have to keep our eyes and ears open to trends shaping up in the international market, as disruptive change is hardly a new phenomenon. We have to galvanize with the international emerging trends. Having said this let us briefly skim through a few of the HR trends analysts are talking about and try and incorporate it within our organization, workplaces and departments.

Gone are the days when HR management was considered a mere recruitment department. Over the years it has evolved to perform a wide array of functions. In recent times, HR departments have become one of the foundation pillars for a company’s growth.

The year gone by saw more pressure and stress in the workplace: more challenging work hours and job cuts. And it is just expected to increase. Human resource teams are trying to keep pace. The only way out is to keep reinventing and working around the already existing fundamentals of HR.

Hiring
LinkedIn’s annual Global Recruiting Trends 2017 states that there is definitely going to be an increased focus on diversity in hiring. Now, India being a diverse country, this is not new to us. We are also going to see the inclusion of more pre-hire assessments and innovative interviewing tools in the year 2017. The report states that ‘we will see technology replace a lot of traditional processes’.

We have already seen companies outsourcing their talent acquisition to third parties. A couple of months ago Tata Motors outsourced its talent acquisition (barring top management hiring) to a leading RPO (recruitment process outsourcing) company. Citigroup’s shared services centre in Pune moved to a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) in October. Others like Mahindra, Wipro, Honeywell, L&T Technology Services and HDFC Life are among an increasing number of companies in India that are embracing RPO to get an edge in securing top talent and in narrowing the challenges of replacement.

The younger generation a.k.a the millennials/ generation Y are going to make use of their smart phones more when it comes to seeking jobs and engaging with recruiters. Also, 2017 is going to see the launch of iPhone 8, which will certainly shake up the smart phone industry. As per reports, in 2017 globally 75% of internet usage will be on a mobile phone, which means more employees will use mobile devices to manage their time, check and respond to emails, check their benefits, manage their trainings, communicate with HR, look for jobs, etc.

Employee experience
Deloitte anticipates that business and HR leaders will be challenged to improve the employee experience, ensure workers remain engaged and their skills updated. After all attrition and retention issues were prevalent in 2016 as well and they will permeate into 2017. The report also highlights that HR leaders also will be challenged to redesign organizations, jobs, and the work itself around digital solutions to optimize business performance. To thrive in the digital age, organizations should focus on breaking functional groups into smaller teams, which are customer-centric and based on learning. Culture and engagement will remain top priorities in 2017

Reward and recognition systems
We would also need to re-look our reward and recognition systems. They need to be measured to know their effectiveness and to ascertain where and how they may be misaligned.

Performance management systems
In the realm of performance management, annual reviews are fast becoming outdated with employees, as employees are wanting more regular feedback and a shift from performance review (where focus is on recent projects) to performance coaching (where long-term goal development is the key and employees skills are developed with career objectives in mind). Frequent feedback is becoming a necessity in performance management programs as nearly 60% of employees say they would like to receive feedback on a daily or weekly basis. HR will need to evolve in 2017 to accommodate this rising need.

Work culture
Several years ago Richard Branson made news, with a picture of him cutting his tie with a pair of scissors. With the rise of the younger generations joining the workplace, 2017 will see continuation of such trends, with more employees demanding to drop their suits and ties, in exchange for jeans and t-shirts. Friday dressing will be incorporated by many more organizations. A lot many may go the Google way by adopting casual dressing as a part of their work culture.

Freelancing
Another trend gradually coming up is the rise of the freelancers. Instead of hiring full time employees, companies may opt for freelancers. In addition to saving a lot on your recruitment cost and other costs, you get highly motivated individuals. Most of the freelancers pursue their passion so they do not view their assignments as ‘work’. Also, the younger generation is especially keen to earn extra income. They are not bound by organizational shackles leaving them free to express their creativity. Capitalize on this growing pool of talent and reap its benefits.

Amalgamation is the key
So all the HR folks, team leaders, visionaries and great managers out there – amalgamating best Indian practices with overseas practices is the way ahead in 2017. Make use of technology and incorporate the upcoming trends within your fold to continue enhancing the overall experience for all your internal and external stakeholders’ – employees and job-seekers. We have to continue our endeavour to create value proposition for our internal and external stakeholders while we continue focusing on our core competencies.

To, sum up I would like to quote someone I greatly admire, Jack Welch- “Willingness to change is strength, even if it means plunging part of the company into total confusion for a while”, “Change before you have to”.

Employee Background Verification – Discrepancy Statistics for January 2017

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Here are the high level monthly discrepancy statistics for January 2017.
We observed that 1.03% of the overall number of cases had discrepancies (could be major or minor).

Discrepancy-Case-Jan17

Next, let us look at the breakup of the discrepancies to identify further which types of components (checks) were the source of these discrepancies. These discrepancies were in address, education, employment and reference checks, with education discrepancies being the most significant and accounting for 50% of all discrepancies.

Discrepancy-Component-Jan17

The Unverified house helps

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India, a place where, if not every but majority of houses have one thing in common – House helps. House helps are not only the ones who do the monotonous house work, but in a way, they also help Indian women to get back to the work, even when they have little ones back home.

There are many families which prefer live-in house-helps. Others prefer to have part time helps.
Considering the case of live-in house-helps, there have been a lot of unpleasant incidents. In some cases the live-in house help stole money and disappeared in thin air. In other cases it was worse, they tried to kidnap the child for money. Not to forgot the worst, few well-planned murders.

People have become aware of the various nuisances which are created due to lack of background verification of live-in maids. So, people who want to keep live-in house helps are becoming smarter and getting a background check done. But one sector which still lacks awakening for the need of background verification and that area is of part-time house helps.

I can recollect a recent incident, when my friend lost her two rings worth Rs 2 lakhs and 65 thousand. She came back from a party pretty late and kept her rings on the side table. Next morning she completely forgot about the rings. The maid came, cleaned EVERYTHING and went. About lunch time, she remembered her rings and thought of keeping it at a safe place. To her surprise, both her rings were not there.

30janShe immediately called the house help and enquired about the rings. The help said she had not seen any rings over there in the morning when she came. My friend went ahead and immediately filed a police compliant. The police did their investigation and some background checks of the house help.

That house help had a very scary background. There were two other FIRs lodged against her in other police station.
After just half an hour interrogation, the house help confessed her crime and the rings were recovered.

That house help was working at my friend’s place for more than a year. She was also working in nearby houses for even longer period. None of the families had even an iota of doubt about her background. They were all very happy with her work. The fact was different. That maid could have easily vanished and it would have been difficult for my friend to find her. But she was quick in contacting the right help and the police also hit the iron while it was still hot. The maid didn’t get time to escape.

For the part-time house helps, we generally think, it’s just a matter of few hours and somebody would be home when they come. But it could lead to danger. And it is about time to change our mind set and take background verification more seriously. Every maid should be verified for our own and our family’s safety. What do you say?

Domestic helper’s verification – a must for safer homes

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Image2Every day when I skim through the news, it’s so disheartening to see articles of crimes ranging from burglaries, robberies, murders, rapes and abductions. It seems our city, our state, our country, the world is no longer a safe place. Every year countless innocents are harmed/killed due to the above mentioned crimes. It’s heart wrenching to read of the ghastly and dastardly side of us humans. It seems to me the moral fibre of our country has deteriorated. As a society, we have gone to the dogs! In such a scenario what can we do to make a change? Various measures are being taken at macro and micro levels to nip crime from the bud. However this change will be sluggish!

If we analyse the data we will be shocked to know that the burglaries, robberies, murders, rapes and abductions we read of, have the hand of people in close proximity to us. A sizeable chunk of these cases occur either because of our domestic helpers or due to their connivance.

Now we come to the questions that who all come under the umbrella of domestic helpers? Are they just our domestics helps i.e. aya? No, when we speak of domestic helpers here we are talking about – domestic helps (aya), maidservants, manservants, nannies, housekeepers, cooks, drivers, gardeners, guards, medical attendants, etc.

While various steps are being undertaken to curb the crime rate, we have to be proactive and safeguard ourselves as well. The first and foremost step towards that is, verifying the people who work in close proximity with us in our homes.

In this day and age we hire helps to lessen our burden but practically it can be doing more harm than help if they are not verified. We so easily let unknown people into our homes, lives and around our families as nannies, maids, servants and watchmen. Do we know of their backgrounds? We hire helps through trusted references or somebody who has been employed in many households in the neighbourhood. A bad hire at work costs companies few thousands however a bad hire at home can cost us much more.

In most of the unfortunate cases, the loss and tragedy can be traced back to the ignorance of the homeowners who recruit these unscrupulous so-called domestic helpers. Failure to take due caution while going through the hiring process can be lethal. We hire helps based on verbal references and pay sometimes in the form of loss of valuables, abused children, broken bones, trauma, rape and even death.

As a homeowner or a tenant, you already have a number of things to worry about regarding the upkeep of your home. Having a major issue like a theft because of an employee with an unverified background can be an unnecessary headache that can easily be avoided by doing background verification on any potential or existing domestic help to make sure that they are, in fact, who they claim to be. Here are a few kinds of background checks that a homeowner can avail of:

Domestic help verification – Home staff, popularly called domestic helpers, work in close proximity to the family, and are therefore the employees who need to undergo the most comprehensive background verification. JantaKhoj provides a background verification option tailored specifically for domestic helpers, like maidservants and manservant’s, nannies, gardeners, or security guards, which includes an address check, criminal verification and reference verification (by checking with the person’s previous employers).

Driver verification – Surprisingly, your driver can be a big threat to your family’s security, for the simple reason that he (or she) is in charge of your means of transport. Recently, there have been reports of incidents where drivers – even those enlisted by security agencies – gave their employers the slip and escaped with a large sum of money. The driver verification process is therefore focused on minimising these risks and includes driving license verification in addition to the basics (address verification, criminal record check and reference check).

Tenant Verification – In today’s world, one’s word or a handshake has no value, as tenants renege on their promises without a care. If you are thinking of renting your home to a tenant, make use of this service provided by JantaKhoj that is targeted specifically at tenants seeking possession. Things factored into the tenant background verification are a permanent address verification (including the family’s reputation in that area) and the basic criminal record and reference verification.

Customised Verification – For the homeowners seeking a middle path, there is an option where you can put together your own made-to-order background verification package from the options of address verification, criminal record check, previous employment verification and a reference check. This is particularly useful if you want to go above and beyond the other packages and do a thorough check.

Although the government and state agencies try their best to ensure the safety of citizens, these perpetrators still manage to strike. You are also responsible to play an active role in ensuring the safety of your family and home. With crime rates on the rise in recent years, it has become imperative to check up on employees in your home both when you recruit them and periodically while they are working under you for maximum security and minimum worry.

We are always there at your service – JantaKhoj InfoServices: Your candidate. Our verification!

Borderless Background Verification

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‘Responsible screening is same for the shop room floor as for the executive suite’

We have seen the great technological revolution and advent of the information age. We are still evolving! Talking about background verification in the information age, the entire process of background verification has become easier and faster. Looking back at the analogue era, the background verification was a lengthy task. Fax or post used to reach the previous employer and the response also took the same mode in weeks or months. It was quite time-consuming.

In this information era, everything is digitalized. Getting background information for a particular person is rather easier and faster. Be it educational information, previous job verification or criminal check, within a few days, data can be retrieved.

The next challenge for background verification is having a seamless-system, where the borders do not matter. Globalization has made the world a smaller place. Companies are functioning across the border and people are moving out from their land to a foreign land or sometimes coming back to their land, for good. Monster India had even launched a platform back in 2010, for expatriates seeking jobs in India. According to their internal survey, Monster India found that its NRI job seeker traffic had suddenly risen by 65% in 2010 and that it had received around 250,000 such resumes in areas ranging from information technology, banking and finance, construction and oil and gas sectors, during this period.

worldLet’s say a person, either an NRI or a resident of a foreign land, moves to India and takes up a job in an Indian company; doing background verification for that person is time-consuming. First of all, different countries have different norms of background verification. Let’s see the norms of different countries:

Canada: You need to have consent of the applicant to conduct background verification

Germany: For Germans, you should avoid the term – background check, because it’s culturally not appreciated. You should call it – ‘information verification’ and they should be informed that the information they gave will be verified.

Mexico: Consent from the applicant is a must. Also, the criminal records are maintained at state level, so having a correct postal address of the applicant is important.

Likewise, different cultures have different processes. Having said that, having a seamless-society where the background verification becomes easier and faster is the hope for the New Year. So let’s bring in 2017, with new hopes for a better and border less background verification process.

Looking behind the curtain: Background checks

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Blog ImageFaced with escalating instances of forged data from job applicants, organisations are hiring professional background verifiers to salvage the situation. The awareness about the significance of verification has increased among organisations.

Most employers conduct background checks on job applicants as part of the hiring process. A background check can uncover important information such as criminal records, any lacuna in education records put forth, discrepancy in employment details submitted, it also helps us ascertain an applicant’s cultural fit via social media scans.

Today background verification is not limited to sectors like IT, ITES/BPO, BFSI, and it has shown rapid growth in e-commerce, hospitality, healthcare, travel, educational institutes, automobile sector, manufacturing sector, security and staffing.

We would like to put some background verification growth rate data forth : ITES/BPO have topped the graph at 29%, followed by IT at 12% being the second highest, followed by BFSI, Security, Staffing at 11%, e-commerce at 9%, automobile, engineering and manufacturing at 7%, healthcare at 3%, education institutes and travel sector at 1%.

Here are some more details to further my case:-

• There are approximately around 7500 companies operating just to provide counterfeit education certificates, so it is not very hard to get a forged certificate/degree.
• No platform for companies where information of fraudulent candidates can be found.
• Many candidate’s cover their gaps by extending their employment duration.
• Some also falsify lofty titles to leverage higher pay.

Let’s take a look at the most harrowing problem plaguing human resources managers at work – The common discrepancies found in resumes. Some of the common discrepancies we find are:-

Dates of employment – Candidates think they’re smart and try and cover up/omit potentially negative employment situations like gaps between jobs, short-term employment or gaps after graduation.

Education – As stated above there are agencies specialising in providing counterfeit degrees and certificates. So next time you see a fancy college name stated in a resume and the candidates profile doesn’t reflect the pedigree, the alarm bells should ring in your head, it could be a fake degree. The candidate may have never attended the college or maybe did attend college, however never completed the mentioned course.

Experience, accomplishments and job titles – People often inflate previous experience, undertakings and job titles when they apply for jobs where they aren’t qualified or feel they will face hard-hitting competition.

Remuneration – Candidates pump up their stated salaries in an effort to increase their starting offers. Unfortunately, upon verification, the employers discover the exaggeration, if any.

Criminal history – Some people lie through omission of facts regarding their criminal history and background. This is a very sensitive aspect of unearthing candidates past.

In the age of an intensely competitive job market, you can no longer literally rely on visual checks of your candidate’s qualification certificates or do email reference checks on your own. Many surveys have revealed that educational qualification and work experience are one of the credentials most commonly manipulated by job applicants.

As for potential candidates reading this, who feel a little exaggeration or a little lie won’t hurt anyone! Watch out – fudging the facts can backfire! A little fibbing on your resume might not seem like a big deal when you’re applying for a low-ranking position, but you never know where your professional career will end up. A perfect example of the same is Yahoo’s ex CEO, Scott Thompson; he was under heavy fire for apparently stating in his resume to the board that he had a computer science degree from Stonehill College when he actually had an accounting degree.

An ounce of prevention is worth much more than a pound of cure! So all the managers out there, outrun these fibbers, liars and fraudsters by getting a verification done on each and every candidate you hire without fail. Minimise the adverse effects of fibbing candidates by undertaking proper candidate due diligence.

Employee Background Verification – Discrepancy Statistics for December 2016

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Here are the high level monthly discrepancy statistics for December 2016.
We observed that 1.22% of the overall number of cases had discrepancies (could be major or minor).

Dec16-Case

Next, let us look at the breakup of the discrepancies to identify further which types of components (checks) were the source of these discrepancies. These discrepancies were in education and employment checks, with employment discrepancies being the most significant and accounting for 75% of all discrepancies.

Dec16-Component