At a mid-sized food delivery firm, a prospective delivery executive was found to be involved in a case of sexual assault at a pizza chain about six months ago. He was not hired despite the company being in a dire need of talent.
This fact came to the fore when the firm checked his identity and address but also his past criminal record.
Companies (especially start-ups) are now stepping up to conduct multiple levels of background verification for even blue-collared staff. While screening was only being done for employees above a certain pay grade, this is now seeping down to all workers. Also, all facets of an individual's past activities are being thoroughly investigated.
Data collected by background verification firm AuthBridge Research Services for blue-collared employees showed that on-demand economy runs with reputational risks of hiring a fraud or unethical candidates with a possible criminal background or a fake identity.
On-demand economy refers to new-age companies operating in segments like ride-sharing, food and grocery delivery, home services, among others.
After the BPO boom, on-demand services have created a new wave for job opportunities for youngsters in India. However, companies are preferring to err on the side of caution when it comes to background verification of staff.
“Companies are ready to spend more money to conduct multiple checks on even blue-collared workers and have also taken stringent calls to blacklist those with errant behaviour. This is because these individuals are the actual brand ambassadors of these firms and any wrong conduct have far-reaching consequences because a majority of these start-ups are funded by global entities,” said the head of a Mumbai-based background screening firm.
He added that start-ups have also begun to share data of applicant with a criminal background (open criminal case) with one another, so that they are not hired elsewhere.
According to AuthBridge, for every 1,000 candidates verified in FY18, close to 35 were found discrepant on one or more of the checks like identity, address, criminal record, criminal watch list and police verification. With an average of three checks done on each applicant, the highest discrepancy emerged for address verification at 9.58 percent.
The data also showed that about 3.3 percent of the candidates were discrepant under the Indian court record database check (Criminal Court Record & Criminal Litigation), which is a significant number when you realise these are the people with criminal history.
Ajay Trehan, Founder and CEO, AuthBridge, said background screening is gaining momentum across the spectrum and when done it ensures that companies are able to filter out talent based on crucial parameters, which allows them to make intelligent choices when it comes to hiring their workforce.
Earlier, only the white-collared workers were screened through background verification firms. Now, with a large workforce, across smaller companies, falling under the blue-collar category, firms are stepping up to manage their liabilities effectively.