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Background Screening Helps Better Engagement With Candidates: Steve Girdler, MD, EMEA and APAC, HireRight

The background screening process has improved with technology. Steve Girdler states the importance of background screening and the evolvement in hiring practices

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HireRight offers background checks and education verification services. In an interview with BW Businessworld, Steve Girdler, MD of EMEA and APAC region at HireRight talks about hiring trends, background screening processes, discrepancies in Indian hires and the system improving hiring patterns.

Can you talk about the latest hiring trends in the HR industry?

One of the biggest hiring trends we’re seeing in India is simply more hiring and India is further bullish in its forecasts. According to our inaugural India Employment Screening Benchmark Report, 85 percent organisations expect their workforce to grow in the coming months, 50 percent of whom estimate by 6 percent or more.

The flipside is that when there are plenty of opportunities, retention becomes a challenge. Compared to the wider region, attracting talent ranks low on the priority list for Indian employers. Instead, companies are focused on minimising turnover, nearly half of them investing in retention strategies this year, compared to only 22 percent in 2017. 

Meanwhile, more than half of organisations are looking to invest in developing more effective employee training programs, compared to only 24 percent last year.

How has background screening evolved with advancements in technology? How has the hiring pattern changed with advancement in background screening processes?

Background screening has evolved from the arduous process subsequent to the mobile technology becoming increasingly present in recruitment drives, helping employers engage with candidates better. 

Technological advancements in background checks have further enabled screening functions to be linked to third-party Applicant Tracking Systems, used by HR teams to input candidates’ data. This streamlines processes and eliminates duplicate data entry for employers. Technology also makes it easier to tailor check to reflect the employer’s brand and ethos. 

These incorporations enable employers to focus their efforts on the wider hiring experience, rather than spending significant time helping candidates to navigate the background screening process. 

How important is background checking during the hiring process? How does it enhance the quality of recruitment?

Background screening is essential in enhancing the quality of hires. A background check is often the first flag when there are discrepancies with what a candidate has shared – in fact, our Benchmark report revealed that 80 percent of employers in India had uncovered issues in the backgrounds of candidates through screening that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.  And according to our survey, more than half (56 percent) of organisations in India feel that one of the biggest benefits of screening is more consistent safety and security.

There are some significant gaps in risk management that could lead to big problems further down the line, for example, only 29 percent of organisations in India conduct checks on international hires, lowering from 37 percent last year and below average compared to APAC region.

However, background checking also shows job candidates that their potential future employer cares about their company environment, and has gone to lengths to ensure it is one that is safe, secure and puts everyone on the same playing field. 

Does background checking put an additional load on the employer; or is the system hassle free?

Honesty, transparency, attention to details and responsiveness are key to an efficient and painless background screening process. Inaccurate data, or partly providing required documentation or information are generally what leads to the process taking longer than necessary. Most employers will let you know what paperwork you need to have ahead of time to help you prepare, so take note. 

Remember also that background screening is not designed to ‘catch people out’ so much as to create a fair system for all candidates. 

What should HR look for in a background screening provider?

There are several factors companies should keep in mind and this depends on their hiring requirements and geographical reach. It’s common for candidates to have studied or worked overseas, so your background provider needs to be able to procure information from further afield. This is also important for multinational organisations looking for a streamlined background screening solution across their offices. 

It is also equally essential for the screening provider to be compliant with regulations around the world when gathering information. Background checks must comply not only with in-country laws, but depending on the market, with differing states and local legislation. 

If the background screening provider’s platform can integrate seamlessly with other applicant tracking systems, this helps make the screening process more efficient and seamless for both recruiters and candidates, and helps reduce time to hire – particularly important in India, where recruitment drives are going full steam ahead.

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