Career advice, insights & tips for HR professionals
Pre-employment screening in-house 30/07/2012
As HR professionals working for successful organisations, which buck the trend and continue to recruit, try to cope with the increasing deluge of applicants, do they need to turn to recruiters to sift through and ensure compliance?
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Potential pitfalls during recruitment are wide and varied. Right to work legislation alone can cost employers up to £10,000 in fines from the UK border agency per bad hire. A photocopy of a passport placed in a HR folder, then in a locked draw for posterity, a traditional favourite still used by many HR professionals, does not really constitute a defendable audit trail for compliance. What if the passport is a fake? What if, for instance, the EU national has the right to work here under, say, a Polish passport? Would your HR teams know just by looking and photocopying if that Polish passport presented was real or fake?
Be wary of diploma mills
What about capabilities? What if the candidate presents a fake degree as part of the recruitment process? Reportedly many HR teams will still simply verify qualifications by taking a file photocopy of a degree certificate and in some cases, calling the institution to verify they issued that certificate. So called ‘diploma mills’ are currently profiting on these checking procedures, by establishing organisations, which produce certificates and handle verification calls, for just a fee. Those candidates desperate enough to stand out from other candidates could be tempted to engage in such a transaction. No actual learning has taken place at the ‘institution’ named on these certificates.
Moreover, whilst clearly a deception, no actual fraud has been committed, as the ‘institution’ uses their own name in production of the certificates and thus is not pretending to be another institution. Clearly though the deception is to give hirers the confidence that the candidate has skills they haven’t actually been trained in. Consequences of a bad hire of this nature could be of unlimited amounts. Someone without the right skills in the wrong role for their skills can cost the employer dearly in terms of lost trade, or even causing a breach in customer confidentiality.
So the pitfalls above indicate more in depth checks can be needed, than perhaps HR professionals have traditionally conducted. However, doesn’t that take a lot more time and resource? Perhaps more than the organisation has and can afford? Do they therefore need to turn to external recruiters for more resources and to help ensure compliance? In truth even recruiters with vast compliance departments of manual checking resources are looking now to software to streamline the process.
One of the benefits of compliance checking resources utilising software is the automation of certain checks against key databases. Something like Safe Screening, www.safescreening.co.uk for instance, can validate an uploaded EU passport scanned image. Compliance manager resources still run the software via web friendly secure access portals, however utilising this software means more checks can be conducted automatically based on minimal initial candidate detail entry. The information and correspondence between employer, candidate and even recruiter is captured in the system to create pdf download reports and time stamp everything for an auditable defendable process.
Safe Screening can even cross check qualification information against a list of thousands of genuine academic institutions to assist with spotting diploma mills. The link between Safe Screening and a leading credit checking organisation database automates address and bankruptcy checking. This software can even handle CRB and disclosure Scotland checks.
Have no fear
Automation via software can fear consultants and HR professionals into redundancy concerns, thinking they might be replaced by said software. In reality, those human resources will be able to work smarter, leaving more time for one of the key aspect of their role, which software can never do, interviewing. Only human beings can assess appropriate confidence, presentation and organisational team fit for the role during interview. For all the background checks that software can do, ultimately software assists the recruitment process to a certain point, to the human interaction stages, for which HR professionals will always be needed.
Robert Drake, director, Safe Screening
Robert co-founded the first offshore recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) company in 2002, running offices in India and South Africa and providing vetting services to most of the major recruitment companies in the UK.