Friday, 22 April 2016

PRE-SCREENING AND HR COMPLIANCE


The function of Human Resource Management is the integral part of most employers’ efforts that enable them to identify, hire and retain the people for their organization to execute its strategy and achieve its goals.  However, HR compliance remains as critical as any other functions of HR within any organization.

There are a range of rules and regulations governing the employee-employer relationship that HR professionals must understand and navigate in order to ensure their organizations avoid any potential harm to the organization’s reputation. Hence, compliance of these rules and regulations stand as an essential component for any organization to be successful in today’s business environment.

Accomplishing compliance can be elusive goal for most of the organizations and should be treated as a process of defining employee’s behavioral aspect while organizations focus on hiring best candidates to achieve growth, turnover and competitive advantage. There is however, a very limited emphasis on knowing the prospective employee’s background and determining the true identity of the person.

Many a times, such the background screening helps the organization to weed out inefficient workforce and retain quality human resource. A non-existence or non-compliance of background verification or screening program may not only allow a misfit hiring but may also cause more serious issues resulting in financial and reputation loss. Additionally, organization incurs the overall cost to company. Consider a serious offence being done by such an employee, there is significant reputation damage as well as loss of morale of other employees. Compliance to verification process can substantially mitigate these risks and resultant losses.

Research by various background verification companies indicate that at an average 35-40% candidates submit falsified information on their resumes ranging from job titles, responsibilities at given position, educational background, compensation etc. This ends up for an honest candidate to lose out on the opportunity while a dishonest incumbent may be selected as reliance is primarily placed on the resume.

There may also be a backdrop of the candidate having a criminal or an offensive record that may harm organization’s reputation; therefore, it is critical for an organization to have proper screening process in place.

The pre-screening process also helps in complying with specific regulations and laws in some countries.

In today’s hustle bustle, the management of organizations is primarily focused towards finding the resource fitting their job description and is involved in conducting technical interviews while Human Resource Departments are checking if the candidate will culturally fit their requirement and discussing their remuneration etc. Background verification, in general, are conducted before offering the position. The complete screening is concluded after the appointment letter is issued of after the successful candidate has joined the organization. The correct hiring procedure however suggests for the verification process to be carried right before offering the position. It is therefore essential for organizations to establish the system of background screening as integral part of their recruitment procedure.

Following aspects must be considered while conducting background verification:

a)    Candidate’s proof of identify
b)    Current and mailing addresses
c)    Copies of academic records
d)    Copies of service letters from previous employers
e)    Work visa, permit, tax certifications, where applicable
f)    Criminal background certification, where applicable (endorsed through union council)
g)    Bank/ credit rating (to identify whether candidate is regular or defaulter with payments)

It is also essential for organizations to check the integrity of candidate from the last two employers or if required, full employment history should be verified.  It is the responsibility of HR department to ensure proper authorization from candidate for conducting verification as it requires accessing candidate’s personal information.

Based on the information received, a decision making mechanism should be established for any discrepancies or inaccuracies between the information provided by the candidate against the information received as part of screening process ranging from falsified identity to the submission of forged academic records.

As a principle, the candidate should be informed of the discrepancy. In case of criminal or offensive record, management must determine if law enforcement authorities are required to be involved.

In this modern era, there are number of highly capable employee background screening software applications available in market. Organizations may choose the one that will suite their organization structure and employee strength. These applications come with a full range of tools and features enabling to collect, store and organize all employee records with greater speed and efficiency. These applications also help in keeping a track of vendor identifications and all their compliance records. They also facilitate in sending out timely reminders whenever a certificate nears expiry and has to be renewed.

Selecting the right candidate with affirmative background for the job is the first step towards developing an efficient organization. Great stress should therefore be laid on ensuring that the recruitment procedure is highly competitive and all successful applicants undergo pre-screening process.

It is the organization’s responsibility to hire candidates with high ethics, integrity and personal values. A thorough compliance of screening policy safeguards the organization from incorrect, fraudulent and criminal hiring, thereby mitigating the operational and reputation risks.