By Ko Hui Yen, Marcel Solomon
A great screening programme gives prospective employees their first experience of your brand and company values. It builds a culture of trust as screening reduces risk and ensures the right qualifications and experience are held by those joining the organisation. It is the last mile towards the magic moment when companies and candidates are able to start their journey and create great work together.
However, background screening can have a reputation for being a little… clinical. So, it’s easy to forget that there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, such as getting the candidate experience and the technology right among many other factors. But let’s think about it – Asia Pacific (APAC) alone is home to 28 countries, each with their own unique cultures, languages, regulations, quirks… the Europe, Middle East and Africa region has 116 countries each with differing regulation and the United States has state laws to contend with.
That means we cannot simply go into automatic mode, do a quick internet skim and say job done. Did you know, for example, it is important to make physical site visits for education and address verification in India to validate information provided by the candidates, or that in Australia, only locally registered businesses can access some data sources? There are many nuances to consider for effective background screening.
That is why we have launched a new content series spotlighting what we do in Asia Pacific. Titled #BehindTheScreens, we explore the diverse nuances to consider for effective background screening in the region – all told by the people powering the process.
In the first article of this series, we delve into this in 3 specific segments – our local capabilities in APAC, compliance-led global solutions and perhaps most importantly, the people working behind the screens.
Screening in APAC
We’ve grown our team across all functions including local researchers, with over 300 team members, spread across 6 countries, with a wide range of regional language capabilities.
We also made two acquisitions last year – J-Screen in Japan and PeopleCheck in Australia. Ok, great. But what does that mean? Simply put, our teams across the region have extensive culminated industry experience, with deep industry knowledge in each market, enabling us to screen thoroughly and compliantly.
Here’s a titbit for you – it is extremely hard to track past involvement in organised crime or anti-social forces in Japan. The government does not have any publicly available databases listing members, so how can you really say with confidence that your employee has no known connections with organised crime? To solve this issue, our team of local researchers has spent years collecting data from public records and personally visiting courthouses in Osaka and Tokyo to pull together one of the largest proprietary database of known members of organised crime.
We know that to succeed in this region, we need offices in key locations, teams that understand cultural nuances, and excellent technology to deliver quick results in a fast-paced market – that is why HireRight attracts diverse customers across many geographies and verticals. We’re working with some of the powerhouse technology companies founded in China that are leading the global digital revolution in e-commerce and social media; while in India, we partner with some of the largest Indian and global companies that provide consulting, outsourcing and other shared services key to the growth of the market.
Compliance-Led Screening and Technology
Our flagship one-stop solution, HireRight Global, is all about innovating and making the most of technology to give you a consistent, yet nuanced experience no matter where you or your candidates are in the world. It is compatible with the largest number of Applicant Tracking System (ATS) providers in the market and was the first service of its kind to be mobile-friendly.
We know however that the real gold dust lies in the way we are able to navigate the complex Asia Pacific landscape and provide you with a compliant solution that fits your needs.
Let’s take regulation as an example. How do you keep track of 28 countries’ definition of data privacy and impact on background screening? In Southeast Asia alone, the laws are constantly evolving:
- Singapore updated its Personal Data Protection Act in September 2019, introducing restrictions around ID for the first time. You are now only allowed to collect, use or disclose ID data (e.g. national identification numbers) if required by law, or because you need to establish an individual’s identity to a high degree of accuracy. Fast forward to May 2020, the Ministry of Communications and Information (‘MCI’) and the Personal Data Protection Commission (‘PDPC’) released a joint statement on 14 May 2020 announcing that they had launched an online public consultation on a bill to amend the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (No. 26 of 2012) (‘PDPA’).
- Thailand announced its new privacy law in May 2019, this was due to come into force in May of this year, but with the COVID-19 pandemic has now been delayed until 27 May 2021. When finally in force, the new law introduces many familiar concepts such as fines for data breach (up to half a million Thai Baht) with a 72 hour window for such notifications.
- In Indonesia, the first consolidated privacy law has been presented to the Chairperson of the Indonesian House of Representatives for approvals. If this bill is passed Indonesia will become the fifth country in Southeast Asia to have enacted rules relating to personal data protection.
These Southeast Asia countries continue to update data regulations for closer alignment to the EU and GDPR, affecting the way background screening is done. So imagine how much more could be happening across the entire spectrum of Asia Pacific.
With HireRight Global, we predicted this approach and built solutions that would work with this regulation alignment in mind.
Bringing it back to the People
At the end of the day, background screening is a human-driven experience. It’s about the people. The candidates, the employers, the local researchers, and our global and regional team here at HireRight in Singapore, India, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong (some of them in the photo above), who are there every day learning more and more about their markets to make sure we are able to capture the diversity and the complexity that is Asia Pacific.
Want to know more? We believe in face-time, sharing our knowledge with our customers and never taking shortcuts, because we know people are your greatest asset – as they are ours! So, talk to us – we are here to help you bring the right people together in your organisation.
About the Authors
Ko Hui Yen | General Manager, APAC
Ko Hui Yen is HireRight’s General Manager for Asia Pacific, responsible for driving HireRight’s strategic growth across the Southeast Asia, Greater China, Australia and Japan markets. Prior to joining HireRight in January 2019, Hui Yen served in multiple senior leadership roles at organisations including ESI International, where she successfully established new offices and sales teams in China. She was also Managing Director at professional training & coaching firm momenta Group, which under her supervision went on to grow revenues by 15% in less than 2 years. Most recently, Hui Yen co-founded Kaleidoskope, a consulting and training firm that boasted clients including global MNCs and government agencies. Hui Yen received her bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
Marcel Solomon | General Manager, India
Marcellus is the General Manager for India, responsible for building local service delivery model, enhance customer relationships and driving HireRight’s growth in India. Having spent more than a decade in various leadership roles and with over 6 years of experience in the background screening industry, Marcellus’ strong understanding and knowledge of the local market will play a crucial role mapping out HireRight’s development and growth across India. Prior to this, Marcellus held a variety of leadership and sales positions in companies including First Advantage, Quest Diagnostics, Kelly Services and Manpower Group. Marcellus holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from Osmania University, Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing from VJIM and also has completed 1 year Executive programme in General Management from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
More from Behind the Screens series
This article is part of the Behind the Screens series which explores the diverse nuances to consider for effective background screening in Asia Pacific. For more stories by the people powering the process, click here.