Why Background Screening During COVID-19 is Critical in India

July 28, 2021 | Shannon Shoemaker

While implementing pre-employment background screening is common practice for those working in regulated roles and industries in India, screening has become increasingly popular on a wider scale as well. Background checks enable vital protection against hiring job candidates that use counterfeit documents or commit CV fraud in a bid to attain employment, which has particularly risen due to the global pandemic. Over the last year, detrimental economic impact has persisted in India due to the severity of COVID-19. India has a total number of over 30 million cases to date, and at one point in time had more confirmed cases than any other country in the world besides the U.S. The Consumer Pyramids Household Survey, conducted by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy  (CMIE), estimates that employment fell short by a whopping 114 million (30%) people in April 2020. With a vast amount of people out of work, and a large portion of these people being reliant on daily labor to survive, the desperation for employment has become enormous. As a result, some job candidates are using falsified information, fake qualifications or forged documents in their job applications to increase their chances of getting employed amidst the pandemic.

Despite the various legal repercussions of using a fake, falsified or stolen document, news of employment fraud in India continues to emerge on a daily basis. This includes recurrent cases of fake doctors being exposed as having no medical qualifications or experience, yet successfully attaining healthcare careers due to negligent hiring being conducted by employers, to fake government school teachers earning 46 lakh (INR 4.6 million) for over a decade by using a fake degree. In fact, the problem of employment fraud is nothing new in India; In 2017, one study found that 50% of the Indian public submits fake documents as a means of attaining employment. In consideration of India’s dire employment-related statistics, screening for discrepancies in a candidates’ background should be adopted as a compulsory measure for businesses in India, particularly when hiring candidates in technical fields such as in IT, healthcare and finance. By failing to background check a candidate before hiring him/her, your firm may easily fall victim to employing a candidate that has insufficient qualifications, a lack of necessary skills or has an unsuitable background for the role – all of which put your clients and business at risk. Inevitably, employing a candidate that submitted false capabilities or an overinflated resume which was never properly screened can seriously affect your company’s bottom line, and should thus be prevented. This includes decreased employee morale, adverse effects to business relationships/clients and potential harm to your company’s brand, reputation and workforce. Due to the high level of risk when hiring in India, employers should implement background checks to help prevent experiencing cases of employment fraud.

India’s economy has to generate millions of new jobs every year for its young and expanding population, but it perennially falls short due to numerous reasons – one of which can be attributed to the country’s insufficient hiring mechanisms. Implementing a solid background screening program can ensure that your full-time, part-time, and temporary workers are always verified and the right candidate for your firm before commencing employment. However, prior to implementing checks, organizations should first familiarize themselves with the legal and cultural nuances of screening in their location, especially if your firm hands this responsibility to in-house staff, that may not possess the legal knowledge needed when screening job candidates. For instance, it is important to remember that you must always obtain consent from your applicant before conducting a background check on him/her in India. It is also important to consider that education institutions and former employers in the region will often request your applicant’s authorization (in writing) before providing you or your screening provider with any information about him/her.

There are numerous background checks available in India, including passport checks and social media checks. The most common checks in India include employment history verification, education verification, professional qualification verification, and criminal records checks. Despite the wide variety of checks available, local legislations surrounding data privacy and anti-discrimination can likely impact the capability for screening in your jurisdiction. Cisive always conducts screening with a strong focus on your needs and maintaining compliant to your region’s laws. We have proven expertise in eliminating false positives and follow up with checks as closely as possible to ensure guaranteed satisfaction for our global clients.

For more information on conducting background checks in India, please reach out to Cisive here.


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