Opinion: Identifying the gaps in your background screening processes

Edward Hickey presents a best practice guide to ensure your employment screening methods are up to scratch.

Opinion: Identifying the gaps in your background screening processes
Edward Hickey presents a best practice guide to ensure your employment screening methods are up to scratch.

According to HireRight’s recent Employment Screening Benchmark Report, background checks remain a critical component of the HR process with 86% finding lies or misrepresentations on resumes or job applications and 72% saying that screening uncovered issues they wouldn’t have found otherwise.
Employment background screening can be integral in mitigating risk and maintaining regulatory compliance in an organization and fortunately more businesses in Asia are recognizing that. Minimally, companies should screen for identity, past employment, education, and professional licenses verification, if applicable to the role. However, a standard background screening policy such as this may not be enough in today’s complex business climate. Companies need to identify and close gaps that their background screening process may have, to ensure organizational safety and security. 

Extended workforce screening – just as important
With the rise of part-time or contract workers, one of the greatest vulnerabilities is not screening contingent staff who have access to company premises, facilities and confidential information. HireRight has seen an approximately 50% increase in clients in Asia Pacific screening their contingent workforce since 2010. Some even extend their policies and requirements to recruitment agencies and firms delivering their outsourced services.  

When hiring through a staffing agency, it’s important to define accountability for conducting the background screen, as well as develop standards to be employed in deciding whether any information uncovered is significant.
Implementing a global screening policy

According to PWC’s Talent Mobility 2020 Report, mobility levels are predicted to grow by 50% by 2020. Asia’s diverse workforce comprises expatriates and returning Asians leveraging opportunities here. With their international employment or educational qualifications, it is just as important for companies to conduct global screening. However, it can be a complicated process as a hotchpotch of cultural sensitivities, privacy, employment and data protection laws need to be adhered to, aspects which may turn HR professionals off from doing it. That would be a huge mistake though as you could potentially hire someone who has lied about their overseas education or worse, committed a crime overseas. Working with a global background screening company that has the expertise in global screening can help organisations manage the complexities that come with it.

Not screening senior management
According to HireRight research in the UK last year, only one in three companies verify backgrounds of new CEOs. The more senior the role is, the more detrimental the effects a bad hire can have to an organization especially since the fallout associated with it can go public. Consequences include reputational damage and financial concerns such as fraud and falling share prices. The impact on the company’s bottom line can be crippling. The proportionality of a check should be relative to the risk of a role. Hence, executive screenings should be more in-depth, including extensive cross-referencing and a detailed analysis of the person’s experience which usually is international.

Flexibility, practicality and compliance is key
Ultimately, creating and implementing a screening programme is entirely feasible. It’s important to maintain a practical and flexible approach that can be adjusted depending on the role. It is useful to seek expert advice as a background screening specialist will have the legal and compliance knowledge to ensure your organization abides by the relevant rules and regulations. Any type of screening should always be done with the candidate’s consent and the data collected should be relevant and have a legitimate purpose to their hiring. Most importantly, it should remain confidential. Organisations should regularly reassess the effectiveness of their screening process.
About the author
Edward Hickey is the Managing Director for Asia Pacific of HireRight, a leading provider of employment background checks.

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