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).


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.


Adieu 2016! The BGV vow for 2017!

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ImageSeason’s Greetings readers!

The year 2016 has been quite eventful with the launch of the budget, rebate in income tax for resident individuals, changes in Provident Fund, turmoil in Kashmir, insurgency strikes on our army camps in the valley, Prime Minister Modi’s demonetisation wave, etc. The beauty is, we sailed through it all!

What is a new year all about? For me, it’s about new beginnings, a clean new slate, a brand new chapter of life. Which is why, we all make personal resolutions for a new year. Although we struggle to cope with the string of new resolutions and for most of us they usually fizzle out before they even begin. I too make a string of resolutions for myself, which do not even see through the month of January. Nevertheless, we should not discontinue this age-old tradition of making ‘Resolutions’.

As we bid farewell to the year 2016 and bring in 2017, let’s make a workplace resolution for ourselves – Let us take the BGV vow! (BGV – Background Verification)

The background screening process involves carrying out checks at different levels in the organisation like employee education check, previous employment check, address check, criminal record checks to reference checks, identity checks, drug testing, etc. The employee screening industry has been growing at a rate of 25% to 30% ever since 2007. Has your company been a part of this growth?

As per a recent background check trends report:

• Overall 10% of cases were closed as ‘Discrepancies’.
• Discrepancies in employment verification has been the highest at 43%
• Verification of education, address and employment checks are way higher in South India, followed by North India, West India and East India.
• Criminal Checks are high in North India, followed by South India, West India and East India
• In employment verification – exit formalities not being completed/staff absconding/disciplinary issues have topped the graph at 38% followed by fake documents submitted and mismatch in employment details.
• Under education check discrepancies – fake documents submitted have topped the graph with 55% followed by degrees from fake universities and degrees from unapproved institutes.

Today background verification is not restricted to sectors like IT, ITES/BPO, BFSI, it has also shown rapid growth in Ecommerce, Hospitality and Manufacturing as well.

A background check on a potential candidate and also on existing employees can yield only good news for any employer, be it from IT / Pharmaceutical / BFSI/ FMCG or Manufacturing. If the prospective screening is clear, it’s great news. If an employer has already invested time, money and resources on an employee/ candidate and the screening reports come up with discrepancies, sweat not, it’s better now than later. The more you delay, the more damage it will lead to later on. Either way, a background screening proves to be a Win – Win situation for the employer/ human resources.

So take the BGV vow for 2017!

Wishing you and your families a very Happy New Year!

Warm regards
Team JantaKhoj

Time for Action – Background Verification

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Once a frog fell in a vessel full of hot water. The vessel was on a gas stove. The frog still did not try to jump out of the vessel, instead it just stayed in it. As the temperature of the water started to rise, the frog managed to adjust its body temperature accordingly. As the water started to reach the boiling point, the frog was no longer able to keep up and manage its body temperature.

The frog tried to jump out of the vessel but with water reaching its boiling point, the frog was not able to bear it and couldn’t make it out.

The latest fad for home-based business is – crèches’ and day care centres. There are many people, who are earning well, with just few changes in their home set up and others by setting up a proper day care centre. With slogans such as – “Home away from home”, “Mom’s Care”, “Home Care”, it has become a way out for women to get back to their work. With hope that their children would be taken care of, they drop their little ones, expecting to pick their children in the same happy state.

There are many other mothers who are ready to let go of their career but daycares are not an option for them. Looking at the current scenario, where we very often hear horrifying stories of day cares/crèches – where a small girl is raped or children are given medicines to fall asleep, little kids are beaten up brutally and what not, are these mothers right in a way? Is there any way out for all of us – to send our kids to safe and happy day care centres/crèches?

The answer to this lies in one and only solution – Background Verification!

Background verification must be done for all the staff that are employed at all the day care centres/crèches, irrespective of the size of the centre.

2nd janAnother very important step towards safety of kids should be done from the side of the parents – verification of the day care centres. Parent should go ahead and get the centres verified. Verification to be done on the following points:

  1. Background verification of the centre owner,
  2. If the child-staff ratio is maintained by the centre, as stated by them and if they follow all the rules.
  3. If the centre has any complains registered in the past.

Getting back to the above mentioned story of the – frog – what was the reason that the frog couldn’t make it?

Well, the water was extremely hot, isn’t it!

Not really. The frog couldn’t make it due to its own inability to decide when it had to jump out.

With various disturbing news about treatment of children in day care centres, all I can say is that the water temperature is getting higher. Before we get affected, we need to take action. There is a way out – Background Verification. Precaution is always better than cure – what do you think?

The deafening silence – child abuse in day cares and crèches

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Blog ImageJanuary 2016 – A 62 year old man in Ghaziabad was arrested for raping a six-year-old girl inside a daycare centre. He is the father-in-law of the owner of the day care facility. The little girl apparently addresses him as ‘Dadu’. (In North India children lovingly call their paternal grandfather Dadu)

May 2016: A four year old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by her dance teacher at a summer camp in Bengaluru.

May-2016: Man held for sexual assault of a 3 year old girl child at a day-care centre. The accused is the husband of the woman who runs the centre.

25 Nov 2016: A 10 month-old girl manhandled and brutally thrashed in the crèche by the attendant in Mumbai. CCTV footage of the incident showed the female attendant hitting, kicking and throwing the child while the other kids were asleep.

Every day we wake up to the gruesome reality of India’s growing instances of child abuse. As a parent, these dastardly incidents disturb me deeply. It makes me wonder do all working mothers and fathers feel guilty because they have to leave their child/children at a daycare. I’m sure when such working parents read of all this they must be engulfed by rage, fear and would want to withdraw their little ones from the daycares.

I chose not to send my daughter to a day care! That was a choice I made, however I am cognizant of the fact that all parents do not have this choice/option. I am blessed to be working with an organization that is sensitive to my needs as a parent. But then again, we all are not lucky to find such sensitive and progressive places of work.

Coming back to the parents, who send their little ones to day cares/ crèches – Do they feel their children are safe? I am sure – NO!

Experts say children left at day care centres are at risk because the government does not have any regulation over the sector. Most of these centres operate in the unorganized sector. Anybody can start a day care in India.

So what is the solution to the horrifying incidents mentioned above?
The day care centres should have completed the criminal verification and background screening for all its staff members. It is a basic form of verifying the criminal/civil background of a candidate/employee often ignored by day care managers and owners. They should go a step ahead and get their address and ID proofs verified too.

We have to be certain that the people we entrust our little children with are not only who they claim to be, but also have a clean record. Parents must make it a point to demand that these checks are done by the centres/ crèches.

Furthermore, owners should train and sensitize the support staff; teachers and caretakers who look after the children. Owners should tell their staff explicitly to handle children as per the company policy and not in accordance to their own parenting beliefs and state the required guidelines for them to adhere too. Often attendants are maids/ayahs who are from rural/semi-urban backgrounds. They believe it is alright to whack or spank a child, because that is the practice followed at their homes and that’s why it’s important to have a clear policy on handling children.

In addition, parents should insist that the day care should follow an ideal adult-child ratio. Ideally as per me there should be one adult for every three to four children who are less than a year-old as they require extra attention. A ratio of 1:5 can work for children between one to five years.

Apart from the above mentioned precautionary measures, parents have to be aware that sexual assault with children is not the only face of child abuse. Elucidated below are other major forms of child abuse:-

1. Physical abuse – It include striking, kicking, shaking, starving or throwing any object over a child with an intention to cause physical injury on the child’s body.

2. Neglect – Neglect is that form of child abuse where a child is subjected to emotional or physical harm due to neglect of his parents, guardian or any other person.

3. Emotional abuse – It includes unnecessary and continuous criticism of a child. This abuse has a negative effect on a child’s emotional development.

4. Substance abuse – This form of child abuse includes exposing and indulging the child to alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs and illegal substances of intoxication.

5. Abandonment
– In this form of child abuse, the child is left alone without food, medicine or care. For example: – the abandonment of a child in a dark room for a long period can have deep harmful effects on the psychological development of a child. Abandonment for a longer period of time can also lead to death.

To sum up, verification of caretakers, maids and nannies at day cares and crèches is an important mechanism for reducing the risk of a bad hire that could affect the lives and psyches of our little vulnerable children. Your little ones at these centre’s are in close proximity with the staff. Ensure you leave your bundle of joy with verified staff. Verification plays a major role in averting danger at day cares and crèches, as it helps sift the good grains from the bad ones.

Background Verification is the new Hippocratic Oath

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“Only constant thing in life is – CHANGE.” – Heraclitus

Once upon a time there was a land where the whole community lived under one big glass dome. For generations the families had been born, lived and died under the glass dome. And the story that was passed down from generation to generation was if you ever did step outside of the glass dome, you would surely die. So, no one had ever dared to step outside the glass dome.

There was a young man who looked outside and what he could see was that the outside world – which was extremely pleasant. There was green glass till he could see, beautiful and colourful flowers all over the place. There were birds that flew freely. There were many small and big animals that had a lot of space to roam around. In the rainy season, he could see the rain drops but could never feel it.

All he wanted was – change. A life away from the closed glass dome. A life where he could feel free.

One fine day, to everyone’s horror, he opened the door. People tried to stop him but he was quick, he moved out and closed the door behind.

As the people in the glass dome watched intently, the man waved back to them and looked all around him. And then, to everyone’s’ amazement, the man began to dance softly in the green, green grass — moving this way and that way, trying out his arms and legs that seemed to work perfectly well. He smelled the beautiful flowers, felt the fresh air and enjoyed the freedom he finally got.

After that night passed and the man survived and was super happy, it was time for a big change and the glass dome door was open. The myth was broken and everyone enjoyed the world outside the closed dome.

There was a time when there were many frauds/incorrect information/erroneous hires of various employees, house helps and drivers among others. Not only on the job front, but also on the personal ground, marriages happened just on basis of word of mouth. There had been many irreversible/reversible damages.
It was like the organization was a dome and the hires’ were considered to be true irrespective of the truth, that may be. No one ever ventured out to separate the facts and fiction. And then there was – background verification.
Background verification has opened that closed door and is seeking the truth. The right and worthy candidates are being honored and the wrong candidates are shown closed doors.

5decBackground verification can cover a variety of credentials:
 Identification documents
 Educational qualification
 Employment history
 Address
 Criminal records
 References
 Social media history
 Credit history

Organizations as well as individuals can benefit from background verification. Background verification is more a boon than a cost and hence it has become the new Hippocratic oath which organizations of every size and individuals seem to be taking. Let’s do no harm.

Employee Background Verification – Discrepancy Statistics for November 2016

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Here are the high level monthly discrepancy statistics for November 2016.
We observed that 2.47% of the overall number of cases had discrepancies (could be major or minor).



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 education discrepancies being the most significant and accounting for 67% of all discrepancies.



Demonetization – The phoenix will rise from the ashes

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Blog Image‘The Phoenix rising from the ashes’ popped into my head one day while I was casually skimming through the demonetization news. As a child I had read in Greek mythology – the phoenix is a mythological large bird with a long life span. Cyclically it settles in to its nest of twigs which then burns intensely, reducing the bird and the nest to ashes. And from those ashes, a fledgling phoenix rises – renewed and reborn. That’s what I hope this demonetization wave will do for my beloved country. Like a phoenix India will rise from the ashes of despair and soar.

Our honorable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi on 8th Nov’16 made a historic announcement of phasing out our two major currency denominations of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000. It is one of the boldest decisions, I have seen any Prime Minister make, at least in my lifetime and I have been around for some time now. This is a major re-boot for our financial system and a mighty kick to the black money both hoarded and in circulation.

As part of the Demonetization process, our Prime Minister had announced the decision to withdraw the old higher denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 in circulation and issue new currency notes of Rs 2000 and Rs 500. This as per him and noted economist and financial experts, aims to address the unaccounted money problem, corruption, the issue of fake currency and funding for terrorism. Reduction in cash transactions will help multiply digital and plastic transactions such as cheques, credit card and mobile wallets. This measure would improve the liquidity in the overall system and could lead to lower interest rates in the long term. Demonetization of high value currency notes in India will provide a big boost for Digital India.

Demonetization, in combination with Aadhar number linking with Jan-Dhan Yojna, could be a decisive move towards digital money economy, which can have significant benefits for the country in the long term. In my opinion, it will far outweigh the inconveniences caused due to logistical issues in the process of replacing 86% of the currency in circulation.

These measures are expected to result in higher tax revenues, higher GDP growth and lower interest rates. Having said that, a major portion of our Indian financial system is traditionally used to dealing in physical cash, the transition is not going to be easy. As evident there has been an initial natural resistance towards the big change.

I am a premium account holder with a leading private bank; I also stood in the sun, with the common man in a long queue for a long time – to exchange INR 4000. It wasn’t that dreadful, as its being made out to be. We are used to standing in queues. We stand in queues for movies, cricket matches, for a new Apple iphone and even when we go to cast out vote. There are always ways to mitigate problems and alleviate exasperation. Let’s endeavor to ease out inconveniences and not be a part and in some cases further problems and miseries.

We have to learn from history and take cognizance of the fact that demonetization has been used by countries like USA and Australia too, for the same reason. And it worked for them. In the 1960’s USA phased out all currency denominations above $100. It worked for them, it will for us too.
Amid the crunch, some businesses are offering interesting methods to get the illegal notes exchanged. Gyms, Salons, boutiques, etc are offering to take in and offering discounts / long-term memberships for people seeking to get rid of wads of illegal cash. Cash dumping has also been witnessed. People are using ‘cash mules’ to get their money exchanges at banks.

As I pen up, I would like to say – In India normally change is slow however under duress change is swift. Soon the brouhaha will die down and we will see a new India – a cleaner India rise from the dust.

The phoenix will rise from the ashes!