Sophisticated technologies now facilitate faking of credentials (certificates) so easily that one can procure certificates from any educational institutions (of which some are even degree mills) at a very low cost. This means getting away with studying for several years for that much desired diploma or degree. A recent edu-documentary (shown on Singapore's Mediacorp TV) takes you through the journey of securing counterfeit certificates. It can be quite disturbing to watch this as it shows how easy it has become for candidates to falsify their background. This is a a definite huge headache for talent acquisition leaders.
Traditional reference checks that involve calling on the references provided by the candidates has become pointless. Moreover, employment reference check is only a small part of the overall background check that needs to be undertaken. This involves a whole suite of checks: Criminal, Civil Litigation, Global Sanction, Adverse Media, Social Media, Financial Regulatory, Credit, Bankruptcy, ID, Passport, Right to work, Education, Professional Qualifications, Employment details and so on. It is absolutely critical to be very thorough based on the risk posed by the role. For example, a financial role might require more background checks than a marketing role. The right mix of checks need to be conducted.
What are the risks of not conducting background checks?
Huge reputational, financial and security damages can be be the consequence. Like in the movie "Catch me if you can", there's been high profile examples of companies who had undergone resume scandals include Yahoo, Samsonite, Walmart, US Olympic Committee, Radioshack, Microsemi Corporation, Machester United and the list just goes on.
Regardless of the industry or the role or the level in the hierarchy, background checks are crucial to really ascertain we know who the person claims to be. We don't know what we don't know and so we have to mitigate risks to the best extent possible. Though it's never 100%, even if we can get an 80+% insight on the individual, we are making progress in the area of risk management.
How can you start the process?
If you don't have the capability and know-how on undertaking this full suite of checks in a compliant manner, background check providers can help you with this. There are many considerations in selecting the right partner:
Eventually the aim here is to protect the organization and the workforce. Hence, comprehensive background checks are an absolute must.
Author: This article is written by Kannan Chettiar, co-founder and managing director of Avvanz - a Gold-Medal winning Technology based Background Screening Provider.