Why background screening is the last thing you should worry about

By Camilla de Villiers

Picture this: you finally land an interview with the company of your dreams, making it seem like all the time and effort taken to put together your resume and cover letter weren't all in vain. You floor the interviewers with your glowing achievements and wicked charm, and before you know it, you're practically one foot in the door.

You can't believe what a breeze it was, until the interviewers utter two words that don't sit quite right with you: background screening. A flurry of questions ensue, each making you less confident about your chances to make it through the interview process successfully.

As intimidating as it sounds, background screening remains a vital part of the hiring process. You're not alone, too – most employers conduct some sort of verification check before hiring a new employee.

In fact, we conduct over 13 million checks each year, so it's definitely not uncommon to receive questions from recruiters and employees alike about the background screening process. To help ease your mind and answer some questions about the importance of background screening, we've put together some basic facts about it:

Background screening provides a level playing field for potential hires who deserve to stay in the game
The most recent example of a credentials fraud case involved Mr. Anoop Shankar, a former assistant professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS) who landed a prestigious position at a United States university. His resume boasted a doctorate in epidemiology, a graduation from India's top medical school at the age of 21, his membership at the prestigious Royal College of Physicians, and his grant of a "genius" visa to America.

However, what was meant to have been a regular pre-appointment review brought to light that Mr. Shankar did not in fact have a doctorate degree, and did not graduate from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi1. Besides raising concerns about the role of background screening in the higher education industry, those who had worked with him on academic papers and the like were taken aback, reasoning that they had found no grounds to question and validate his credentials in the first place.

Background screening helps to ensure that individuals are granted the same opportunities as their peers, with full confidence that they are duly qualified to carry out the tasks assigned to them within their area of expertise.

It helps protect the reputation of the company, and in turn, yours
It's important to remember that the function of a background check is a necessary one to uncover any concerns prior to recruiting new talent, given that without proper and comprehensive background verification, companies risk employing people who are unqualified for the jobs they've applied for. It also ensures that the necessary steps have been taken to safeguard the assets of a company, while maintaining the safety and security of its employees prior to onboarding.

Background screening is a means to an end, not an end in itself
Even if it seems like a daunting practice, it is highly unlikely that employers put potential candidates through the width and breadth of the hiring process, only to reject them afterwards. In reality, the purpose of the background screening process is to assess the candidate's suitability of the position offered, a step only taken when employers are genuinely interested in hiring a candidate.

Getting the technology behind background screening right
According to our APAC Employment Screening Benchmark Report, 51% of APAC companies that participated in the survey have planned to invest in their HR processes, signaling the region's determination to address one of the most common gripes of HR professionals around the world – the efficiency and quality of these procedures.

Background screening has transformed with new technologies, making the process much simpler and more fluid for both candidates and employers. Creating a seamless candidate experience has also been increasingly prioritised, with the screening process adapting to become more transparent, fast, and most of all, mobile.

All in all, background screening undoubtedly plays an essential role in helping businesses make more informed hiring decisions, and chances are, making it this far means that the organisation is seriously considering your application – congratulations! So the next time you are asked to undergo background screening, stay calm, be honest, provide the information requested, and consider it a compliment – we're all on your side. 

1NBC News: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/ivory-tower-phony-sex-lies-fraud-alleged-w-va-university-n199491

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