Author: Akansha

Beware – A small leak can sink a great ship

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Blog Image… Tight timelines for recruitment
… Mad rush to close vacant positions
… Pressure to get the candidate with right fit
… Long process of recruitment
… Hiring a candidate is a tough deal
…One has to take many things into consideration to make a final decision.

These pressures many a times engage a manager, get them entwined, that they miss out on the most crucial aspect of bringing in a new employee – Background Check!

Pre-employment background checks have become increasingly common at most workplaces now. Earlier it was considered an unnecessary expense, now it’s a necessity. This paradigm shift in perception was ushered in post September 11, 2001 and 26/11 back here at home. In India 26/11 shook up the Indian corporate world, who then within days got their entire team’s backgrounds verified.

Ideally, finding and hiring a right candidate is not the end of a recruitment process. Background screening is the final however most crucial step of the recruitment process.

Most managers even now in the mad rush to close open positions disregard this crucial step. That’s why we recommend, that this has to be incorporated in the recruitment SOP. The moment the right candidate has been shortlisted, the offer letter issued, should mention, that a background check shall be initiated and only on a clear report being obtained will the candidate be on-boarded and issued an appointment letter.

In case of a negative background verification report, the offer letter stands null and void. Then the next best candidate can be issued an offer letter. Only once this process has been made a standard practice, will we never fail to get a candidate verified.

A carefully designed application form should include employee background check to get more details about the desired candidate. It is necessary to count upon past work experience, educational qualifications, job records, drug screening, criminal records and other verification parameters to onboard ideal candidates and create a safe working environment.

Considering the increasing cases of fudged job records and fake degrees, employee background screening is a must for small, medium and large business organizations.

There should be a well-defined screening process for all the new candidates. It should be executed in the same manner to avoid discrimination amongst employees at various levels.

Always remember…

Background screening should not be listed like just another task on your to-do list. It should be given the importance that it truly deserves.

Beware – A small leak can sink a great ship.

Employee Background Verification – Discrepancy Statistics for September 2017

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Here are the high level monthly discrepancy statistics for September 2017.
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We observed that 2% 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 employment verification (accounting for 16.7% of the total discrepancy) and education verification (accounting for 83.3% of the total discrepancy).

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Beware of what you post on social media – You are being scanned!

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Have you got an objectionable picture on Facebook?

A furious political comment on Twitter?

Open affiliation to certain ‘questionable’ forums/communities?

Are you flaunting’ socially questionable’ actions on social media?

Hold your horses, before impulsively posting your views on social media platforms!

Today, everyone is on social media! It’s become a norm to be socially active on these platforms. A lot many companies sweep their prospective candidate’s social media posts and feeds. Social media has made it a cakewalk for employers to map your interests, activities and affiliations. The manager hiring you doesn’t need to spend time with you to figure you out, they just need to spend time on your social media handles and bingo and they can picture your personality.

So, for a potential candidate seeking employment, social media provides an opportunity to look up the company and vice versa.

Social media today is literally all over the globe. Recently LinkedIn crossed the 10 million users mark in India and Facebook tops the chart with around 34.6 million active registered users in India. Twitter, though arrived late on the scene, will soon touch 16 million Indian users. These statistics clearly reflect why every company today has its presence on social media. LinkedIn too is slowly catching up.

I would like to share with you a personal experience. A fellow classmate of mine 10 years ago, while we were awaiting our placements, was offered a PPO (Pre placement offer) with the company he interned with. He was hailed a hero in the class! Rightly so, as he was the only one who was given a PPO. Those days Facebook hadn’t really caught up, Orkut was ‘the’ thing then! He had liked a page on Orkut which badmouthed the company. The title of the group was – ‘We Hate XXX’. He also had posted a comment there, putting forth a few things he didn’t like about the company. Within a few days, he received a letter from the companies HR stating, they withdraw the PPO extended to him. Reason cited was, he was inciting hate towards the company and badmouthing the company in public. They had enclosed a print screen shot of his comment and proof that he was a member of that community on Orkut. Even 10 years back, companies would scan social media platforms to keep a track of their employees/ prospective employees. Organizations are right on their part, why would they want to absorb a candidate who at the outset is disengaged and disloyal to the organization. I learnt a lesson of not ever badmouthing my organization on social platforms, early in my career.

While many in my class objected to this ‘unfair decision’, organizations are justified on their part to ascertain a candidate’s fitment for a position determined by his social media posts and pictures. The reality is that social networking handles of candidates talk a lot about their personality, interests and disposition in general. For example: – Using vulgar language, bad mouthing on social media could suggest behavioral issues such as immaturity and inability to resolve conflicts amicably. Similarly, endorsing grapevine about the private affairs of other people is a sign of spreading rumors and gossip that could impact their ability to function in a role that demands confidentiality.

In a recent case, a company hired a candidate after doing a professional background check, but missed out on a social media scan. Later, the employee displayed murderous tendencies by attempting to harm his girlfriend with a knife, following a domestic spat. When the company approached the police for help, they were questioned about whether a background check was conducted. It was then found, when his social media activity was made public, that he had a tendency towards violence. They found violent content on his social media platform.

By extending the verification to include social media, it can aid in gauging any extremist behavior and help avoid problematic incidents. It also serves as an indicator of a candidate’s work ethics and temperament.

Let’s look at few parameters which a company might use to undertake a social media check:

• Companies might easily trace employees who badmouthed their previous employers, based on their comments or status updates.

• Excessive twittering or round the clock activity on social media, might point out an employee’s lack of dedication towards his/her job during office hours.

• Obvious drug use.

• Discussing private company information.

• Comments containing racial slurs and other offensive language. Although it’s a personal profile, conclusions can be drawn on how a particular candidate thinks and reflect his/her sensitivity.

Social networking sites are here to stay and hence it’s necessary for both the employers and employees to ensure that they maintain certain ethical guidelines. We don’t suggest you to be weary of expressing your personal, political, social views. However, ensure, they don’t work against you in the future. It would be prudent to weigh carefully what you post; after all it is a public platform. As employers are increasingly viewing social media pages to evaluate if candidates are worthy of hiring and culturally fit in, it is advised to be careful about what you post online.
Brace yourself for social media scans!

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Employee Background Verification – Discrepancy Statistics for August 2017

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Here are the high level monthly discrepancy statistics for August 2017.

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We observed that 1.2% 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 employment verification (accounting for 75% of the total discrepancy) and address verification (accounting for 25% of the total discrepancy).

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How Safe Really Are Our Children In School?

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Blog ImageI sit to write this blog after reading the horrendous news of last week’s incident of the alleged rape of a 4-year-old girl at a Mumbai school by a peon. As the mother of a 5 year old myself, it breaks my heart to think of the anguish and trauma the little child must have gone through and what the distraught parents must be going through themselves.

Cases that were brought forth by the media recently:-

1. KVM Ludhiana sexual assault case – School under scanner for concealing offence, girls aged 3 to 6 from primary section were being sexually assaulted and molested by the staff of the school.

2. Nainital: Parents of a six-year-old girl student, along with city residents, staged a protest outside a private school in Haldwani accusing a staff member of sexually assaulting their daughter and demanding his immediate arrest.

3. Bengaluru: The alleged sexual assault on a three-year-old girl in the Marathahalli franchise of a preschool chain on Feb 17, 2017 triggered a campaign by angry parents.

4. Mumbai: Director of an international school in Mumbai booked for sexually abusing 3-year-old.

Schools today market their infrastructure, facilities, faculty, curriculum, etc. How come no schools markets – providing a ‘Safe and secure environment’ to the children. Either it’s not important enough or it’s implied, that providing a safe and secure environment goes without saying. Well, if it does, why do we see such news? Where are we going wrong?

Our government has framed policies to reduce the weight of our kid’s school bags, yet we haven’t framed a policy that focuses on our children’s safety within the school premises.

Last year it was made mandatory for schools both private and government to install CCTV cameras on the school premises. This too was issued when the Mumbai high court brought up a case in which a junior school student was assaulted by a school staff. Media post this order, again brought to light 2 assault cases on school premises. It can be said, that the aforementioned order did not bring in any significant change and neither was it a deterrent of any sort.

Being subject matter experts in verification services, we recommend, that schools should instate strict policies while hiring teachers, staff and support staff. A school/ educational institution needs to be extremely careful while hiring its staff.

Not only should a school be screening staff on their educational qualifications but should also be screening their criminal background, address, ID’s and social media presence. Most schools save time, money and effort when it comes to background checks. How many more incidents will it take for schools to take this check seriously?

We protect our child/children with utmost care while they are with us. What do we do when they are out of our care? In schools, for example, where the onus of responsibility for the child shifts on other people. We as parents and guardians have to put our foot down and demand that schools verify the staff they bring on board.

It’s time to get assertive, it’s time to ensure our children’s schools begin screening new recruits and verify the existing ones!

Let’s make our schools safe and secure!

The ABC of background verification

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In recent times, the term ‘background verification’ seems to be used around a lot, especially in relation with jobs and employment, of any sort. It is only natural to wonder, because its meaning is quite vague, despite being obvious. Questions such as ‘What is a background check?’ or ‘What will be verified?’ are common and crucial to the understanding of background verification.

What is meant by background verification?

A background verification or background check, by definition, refers to a comprehensive review of a person’s criminal, commercial and (often) financial records and history. Employers may perform background verification on present employees, potential candidates for employment and also of existing employees in the fold from time to time. It is done not only to confirm the information given in the job application by potential candidates, but also in order to verify the person’s identity and to ensure that the said individual, does not have a history of criminal activity, financial defaulting, etc that could pose to be an issue upon their employment in the organization. Background verification, at different levels, has become a major aspect of hiring/recruitment or for the purpose of educational application these days.

An overview of the background verification process

The background verification process varies from one organization to another. Typically, at a very basic level, employers will verify if the credentials provided in the application matches not only the supporting documents that were provided, but also the records of the institution or organisation that the candidate previously worked at. Also, checks are undertaken by means of speaking to people who are sure to be objective in their opinion about the person, i.e. previous employers, superiors, mangers, etc.

Drug tests are an important aspect that is often overlooked. Drug testing can bring to light cases of substance abuse, if any. A candidates address – permanent, or current, or both can be verified by a physical visit to the submitted address. Criminal checks are of various kinds – Database, Court record and lawyer check. Herein, an employer can verify if the candidate has had any criminal or civil proceeding against him/her. Candidates submitting identity proofs can also be verified, whether or not they are genuine or fake. As we know, getting a fake ID made doesn’t cost a fortune.

Employers today are going a step ahead and securing their workplaces by getting social media scans done, wherein candidates social media handles are scanned and screened for any unwanted affiliation and association. Also, social media profiles and usage depict volumes about a candidate’s psyche and social/moral inclination.

What is and is not included in a background check?

Aspects like a ‘Character check’ are very sensitive matters and subjective in nature. These cannot be covered or captured by background verification. Also, a candidate’s future behavioural pattern cannot be predicted or forecasted. We can trace patterns, if any unwanted behaviour/s have been documented or been observed. However, future behavioural patterns cannot be outlined by any given check.

Now that you have an idea about the background verification, you can see why it is needed for any potential/existing employee/s. If an employer (be it an individual or a firm or an institution) accepts a candidate for a position without verifying their credentials and background, they may have committed a grave error that could potentially cost them heavily to rectify, if too late. In today’s highly competitive and cutthroat competitive scenario, no individual or organization can afford to make such a blunder.

A background check is the only viable solution, upholding the adage that prevention is better than cure.

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Employee Background Verification – Discrepancy Statistics for July 2017

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Here are the high level monthly discrepancy statistics for July 2017.

We observed that 0.5% of the overall number of cases had discrepancies (could be major or minor).

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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 verification (accounting for 100% of the total discrepancy).

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Do you know your tenant?

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Display of unruly behavior, non-payment of rent on time, violence, aggression, verbal abuse, etc – If your tenant displays any of the aforementioned, it’s clearly a sign of a wrong decision made in selecting your tenant. Worse, what if you’re harboring terrorists unknowingly? Is your house being used as a haven by terrorists where they are plotting their next bombing/ hijacking/ kidnapping scheme. Or even worse is there a sex racket taking place in your precious property? Letting your house on tenancy without verifying the credentials of the tenants could land you on the wrong side of the law and with a lot of stress too.

A few months back, the Delhi police swooped down on landlords over the tenant verification rule, 174 FIRs were registered. Most of you will agree that giving a house on rent is not an easy task. It could become a serious headache if not handled properly.

Landlords in big and small cities are no longer taking prospective tenants at their word. Home owners are not penny wise pound foolish, they are getting background checks done on prospective tenants. Tenant’s background verification has truly emerged as a reliable solution capable of shedding light on the tenant’s background. By conducting a background check, which could comprises of ID check, address check, employment, criminal check, among others, you are ensuring the safety and security of your leased property.

As per a magistrate – verification of tenants is mandatory in order to avert grave danger to human life and safety and to prevent injury. Also a verification of tenants is a mandatory statutory and legal requirement by the government of India in many states now.

Screening potential tenants is one of the wisest and most important things to do. What are the benefits of getting a screening done on your prospective tenant:-

1. You can ascertain their address, so that if tomorrow they go absconding or there is a police case against them, you know for sure where their permanent address is.

2. You can get their ID check done to make sure; they are who they claim to be.

3. A criminal verification will ensure you are not letting your property to an anti social element to further his/her anti social ways.

4. Employment verification should be carried out to ascertain where the tenant works and what do they actually do.

These checks are highly recommended by us because each check looks into a different but crucial aspect of the prospective tenant’s profile.

It’s advisable to invest a little time, money and effort now to carry out the tenant verification than to deal with a problem later, when it may get worse and take longer to deal with. Therefore, a stitch in time saves nine!

Domestic help verification – A necessity in urban India!

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Case 1 – A gang of women thieves whose members worked as domestic helps in an upscale area in Delhi was recently busted by Delhi Police. Two women had approached a family based in South Delhi and offered to work there as domestic helps. When turned down, they offered to demonstrate their skills and were let in. But as the family got busy, the two women broke open an almirah and fled with goods worth lakhs.

Case 2 – Residents of an apartment complex in Noida woke up to a riot-like situation on Wednesday morning, when a mob stormed its gates and vandalised the premises. According to the residents, the female domestic help was allegedly caught stealing money from an apartment.

Case 3 – A domestic help was arrested for allegedly stealing gold jewellery worth Rs 10 lakh from the house of a senior citizen.

Case 4 – Three have been held for duping people through a fake domestic help placement firm.

What’s the common thread amongst all the cases mentioned above? Prima facie, it all has domestic helps involved. Also, they are all cases that have occurred across India in the last one month. However, the most significant piece of fact here is that – No background verification was done for any of the domestic helps employed.

Are we not concerned for the safety of our loved ones? Has dependence on these helpers reached such heights that we cannot even wait to get a verification done before we hire them and let them in our homes? Or are we ready to pay these helps the salary they ask for, but not ready to pay a paltry sum of money for verification?

Whatever it is that has kept you from getting an antecedent or a criminal verification done, should no longer hold you back.

I do not want to quote and write ghastly episodes that have taken place because of this negligence. Recently the country has witnessed sadly, a notable surge in crimes ranging from robberies, burglaries, home invasions and even personal atrocities such as murder and rape. Most of these crimes, as expected, have been committed by domestic helps. This is why police, other authorities and JantaKhoj emphasise the significance of conducting domestic help verifications. It is mandatory to get tenant/domestic servant/driver/guard/gardener verification done.

We would like to recommend some checks which as an employer you should get done:-

1. Education verification – Get the qualifications as quoted by the domestic help crosschecked. This is especially helpful if your domestic help will be required to perform extra duties such as helping your kids with homework/studies, etc. Also, if you are getting a home tutor for your child, this is mandatory.

2. Employment verification – There is nothing more full proof than a testament from a previous employer. This will give you an insight of the helps personal character, behaviour and work responsibilities carried out.

3. Criminal verification – Background checks lay bare any criminal activities that the help may have committed. You can get the concerned persons criminal and civil history checked. After all you do not want suspected/convicted murderers/rapists/thieves anywhere near you or your loved ones.

4. Address verification – You may have asked the domestic help to submit an address proof, which you’ve careful stowed away. Now this piece of paper hoarded away in your cupboard is no deterrent, if an address check hasn’t been done on it. An address check will help you ascertain whether the domestic help has/is residing at that address or not.

5. ID Check – Identity theft and faking is rife amongst this group. Get that Aadhaar/voter card you’ve kept in your file/cupboard checked. Also if you have a driver, you would want to be certain that he is who he says he is and he is most absolutely the owner of that driving license he submitted to you.

Should you wish to avail any of these services or wish to have a talk with us on background verification – We are just a call away!

Employee Background Verification – Discrepancy Statistics for June 2017

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Here are the high level monthly discrepancy statistics for June 2017.

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We observed that 1.2% 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 verification (accounting for 50% of the total discrepancy), employment verification (accounting for 33.3% of the total discrepancy) and reference check (accounting for 16.7% of the total discrepancy),
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