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Hiring without background check extremely dangerous

Bhima Rao, Jan 2, 2012:

In a scarce situation organisations hire people quickly and in the process the background verification of candidates takes back seat. Few organisations believe that the background verification is waste of time.

Organisations do realise when the mishap happens or when they face high business risk or security risk. Recent cases and few past ones emphasise as to how the acts of terrible employees has impacted business and reputation of organisations.

A) A manager of Axis Bank was arrested for cheating customers to the tune of Rs 37 lakh in Bangalore. He allegedly created fake e-mail ids, created fake documents and cheated customers in a different way.


B) A driver of a security agency fled with Rs 39 lakh cash meant for ATMs. On investigations, the police have unearthed that the security agency did not collect driver’s correct residential address, nor ascertained whether name of the person was correct or not. Police blamed the firm that it has erred in recruiting such a driver and it is nothing but negligence in selection process.

C) In a national TV show few of the panelist mention that the recent violence taken place in Maruti Suzuki plant in Manesar may also be due to faulty hiring process. One of the panelists vehemently argued that employee background verification is a must to bring people on board with good character.

D) A leading MNC hired a person for a senior level position with salary of over Rs 24 lakh per annum without verification of records.

 Through such fake certificates he could even get admitted in to Executive Post Graduate Management Programme of IIM Kozhikode.

This incident came to light only when his estranged wife who is seeking divorce disclosed recently that her husband is not a qualified person, not even passed a diploma and all his certificates are fake. 

E) A general manager production was interviewed and selected by the managing director in a garment manufacturing company and recommended to HR department to issue appointment order. Background verification was a normal practice but  the MD indicated that the candidate has good experience.

 Normal practice was to obtain all the certificates on joining date or before the completion of Induction programme, failing which, his employment number would not be generated and thus salary withheld. Even after several reminders, candidate failed to submit the certificates.

Apart from this, his performance was miserable, new problems erupted and the MD was upset. He had to sack him within a short span of 90 days. There was a huge production loss, could not meet the dispatch targets, besides few Industrial relations were also cropped up due to his behaviour. Was it required?

There are many agencies and individuals who are involved in fake qualification and experience certificate rackets. Even universities are in trouble by awarding false certificates.

Commit to conduct background verification and protect the organisation. The Indian BPO industry in its infancy stage tends to hire 400 to 500 people every month.

Companies did not scrutinise the employees closely nor did they have employee verification process in place. With all our past experience in different industry segments whether all the organisations have put in place the background verification process is a big question?  If yes, to what extent they are committed to this process which would add value for the selection process? Organisations do have time constraints and resource constraints to go for background verification, but there is no choice left to organisations who are not yet conducting background checks.

It is time to get started, quickly evolve a robust verification process and also implement them to reduce the risks in selection, to save money towards legal expenses as well to protect the reputation of the firm. It is a serious matter and therefore organisations may conduct verification of existing employees too.

HR department has to be serious to protect the company from potential dangers and provide upright candidates, take direct accountability to put in place the policy and implement it in a best possible manner. Creating a policy doesn’t mean to write some big procedure and lots of research. Each organisation can determine the process without forgetting the fundamentals of background verification.  What, how and on whom information needs to be collected and how the information of background check will be converted as a report is the most important. Ensure that background check is performed consistently and information gathered is used appropriately in hiring decisions.

What could be done


A) Check name and address and verify with original documents such as driving license, PAN number, voter list, telephone bill, passport, bank passbook and other documents. Check the residential address and note the discrepancies, if any. It is suggested that a home visit and meeting parents would confirm the declaration by the candidate and family history can also be obtained. A family photograph of kith and kin can also be demanded for reference.

B) Check all the qualification and experience certificates and cross check with the University or Educational institutes or apply for RTI to verify the education certificates (Right to information authority).

C) Thoroughly go for comprehensive criminal check. Motor vehicle report can be a good way to identify candidates with inappropriate driving records. Convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or Violation of traffic rules can be unearthed. Police records and fines imposed or any punishment awarded by any court of law is important way to assess. It is important to verify from the past employer if there are any criminal or disciplinary cases were initiated or cases are pending.

D) Verification of past employment records is vital for experienced candidates. Insist for relieving letters, service certificates, and pay slips of all the companies. Verify the employment dates, actual compensation, and job titles provided to you by the candidate and seek performance report by directly contacting past employers.

E) Background screening has many legal compliance and organizations have to comply with Laws and regulations of the land. Always better to disclose to the candidate about the background check process, obtain candidate’s advanced written consent to perform the background check. HR Department should delegate the role to an experienced and competent person to conduct background verification very professionally and tactfully. He or she should use forms, letters, checklists and other report formats. 

Employment background checks are highly beneficial for organisations as it stops future potential risks. However, it is a tricky situation, delicate, time-consuming and costly. Decide whether organisation can do comprehensive background verification or it should take the assistance of professional agency or it should be a combination of both?

(The author is an HR advisor and trainer)

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