What is Background Verification?
Background verification or BGV is synonymous with employee screening. It is the process of ascertaining the identity and credentials of an individual for the purpose of hiring, loan giving, tenancy, marriage, etc. First impressions are often misleading and one must refrain from purely relying on a ‘gut feeling’. In this modern world of databases, public records, and digital footprints ‘gut feeling’ must give way to a thorough background check by an expert agency. We deal with many strangers daily and have no clue about their past.
Often cited as the origin point of background verification, in 1908 a U.S company was held liable for an accident by one of its employees which resulted in the death of another. An apprentice performing a prank caused a colleague’s death. The employer had knowledge of the incident but continued to employ the wrongdoer. This resulted in a lawsuit based on negligent hiring. The incident gave birth to background verification. Background screening started being used by companies as a means to safeguard themselves from lawsuits based on negligent hiring. It was an insurance policy, as it were.
Companies are mandated to perform a thorough background verification of their employees and job applicants. This is done for several reasons chief among which are:
Compliance: ISO 27001 — This requires a specialist bgv company to perform bgv on the ISO 27001 certified company’s employees. Why? Well you’re dealing with people’s sensitive data, most likely, and you must ensure that your staff doesn’t have a questionable past that could cause the company legal and reputational damage from such data leakage
Avoidance of negligent hiring: Any company owes its staff a safe and pleasant workplace. Hence, you must make sure you’re not hiring a criminal, drug addict, violent or abusive person.
Resume fraud: Sourcing, on-boarding and training new employees is a costly affair. Resumes are not trustworthy and their contents must be verified, amongst other candidate credentials.
How is Background Verification done?
Address Verification: This is done in several ways that vary in effectiveness and authenticity.
#1. Mail: Believe it or not, some bgv companies send a letter to the candidate’s address and ask them to send the ‘special’ code
#2. Physical visit: Most commonly employed by bgv companies and consists of sending a verification officer to the candidate’s house
#2. Remote verification: Once Covid struck, bgv companies resorted to video calling, Geo-location and IP address capturing to verify the candidate’s address.
Education Verification: This is performed through a hybrid model i.e. government agencies, specialist vendors, and physical visits. While digitization in India has a long way to go, we have gotten off to a good start and many universities’ degrees/marksheets are now hosted by government organizations like NAD. When NAD falls short, a physical visit to the registrar’s office is necessitated and performed by a verification officer. Simple details such as an enrollment number, name, degree/marksheet copies etc. suffice.
Criminal Verification: Performed in 2 ways:
#1. Police Character Certificate: Acquiring a PCC from the SP’s office in the jurisdiction of the applicant’s claimed address/es is good but is very time-consuming. Our police is understaffed and has more important cases to solve. Hence, a PCC could take months to acquire
#2. Court Record Database Check: This is way quicker and simpler however, not as stringent as not all police stations have digitized records. It is basically a negative check to decipher whether the candidate in question has any criminal record for eg. the High court, supreme court, district court, etc.
Past Employment: This is performed by getting in touch with the HR departments, references, past supervisors, etc. through a combination of efforts not least email, phone, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, etc. to ascertain the integrity of the candidate and match the claimed past employment details furnished by them.
In a nutshell, this is how Indian companies get their job applicants verified. There are a host of other checks such as social media background screening, global database check, credit check, etc.
For any questions about BGV or if you want to get yourself voluntarily verified to see what your next employer will see or if you want to stand out from the crowd during the recruitment journey check us out and contact us!