As a vast country with diverse culture, background screening in India is unique and can be complex. Our growing economy also means that top talent is required to power the country’s expansion ambitions. More employers are turning to screening services to verify candidate information and bring more people onto their fast-growing teams.
As General Manager of HireRight’s screening services in India, together with my team, I work with our customers to understand their screening requirements and to provide guidance in respect to putting together a screening program to meet their business needs. Here’s a look at how background screening has developed in India, plus four best practices to consider when conducting background checks throughout the country.
The development of background screening in India
Background screening in India is complex due to the size of the market and a lack of digitised data. Growing competition for talent means local businesses are increasingly using screening to verify their candidates’ disclosed backgrounds and to help minimise risk. In addition, many global companies are outsourcing talent to India, bringing with them global background screening requirements: these standards may be driven by their parent company culture or by contracts with customers.
But, regardless of the cause, background screening requirements give potential hires an indicator of the importance with which the company holds its corporate culture, values, and identity.
Today, screening has become more rigorous as it becomes critical for businesses to accurately verify information shared by candidates to bring in the right talent and minimise risks.
The manual nature of background screening in the market
India is an incredibly diverse country, and this drives complexity in the background screening market. Whilst India is the second-largest country in APAC by population, with 28 different states and 22 official languages, it is dominated by manual data processes with no centralisation of records.
Additionally, many records in India are yet to be digitised. This means that many checks must be conducted physically through site visits for education verifications. In addition, the employer often needs to be validated itself, which can be through a combination of site visits and checking corporate record information. At an industry-wide level, this means information validation here can be more time-consuming than in other countries where digitised/centralised records are more common.
Adapting to evolving workforce trends
Workforce trends and digital transformations are making remote working more prevalent in India. This may increase the need for background screening generally and highlight an additional requirement for periodic screening by employers, especially for resources who have access to confidential and sensitive information (personal or business).
Applying best practices to your screening programme
Here are four best practices to consider when building your screening programme, which, together with the utilisation of a partner who understands local challenges and practices, will drive an effective program:
1. Screen to mitigate risk – especially falsified resumes
With resume fraud prevalent in India due to the increased availability of fabricated education certificates and references, businesses are concerned about the quality of their hires, as well as the potential risks that unverified employees bring to the organisation.
According to the HireRight 2021 Global Benchmark Report, 70% of businesses in India reported finding discrepancies in candidates’ previous employment details. Additionally, 65% found discrepancies in their education credentials. These high discrepancy rates highlight the need to integrate background screening into hiring processes to verify and secure the best quality hires who are appropriately skilled and experienced.
2. Screen all resources — including your non-employee workforce
It is crucial to note that access to company resources and sensitive information might be available to not only permanent employees but also temporary staff. Screening your non-employee workforce (which may include contractors, temporary workers, vendor representatives, interns, and volunteers) can help to mitigate the risks that your non-employee workforce may pose to your business.
3. Quick turnaround times and accuracy are important
As businesses in India emphasise quality and efficiency, being able to verify candidates accurately and quickly is essential.
A screening provider with the right approach to technology, candidate experience, and streamlined processes can help shorten the time needed for checks.
4. Understand screening standards for your industry
Every industry has different priorities and scopes when it comes to background screening. For instance, the banking and technology sectors have more stringent policies in place and tend to screen more thoroughly.
I recommend partnering with a screening service provider who can communicate best practices regarding the checks required for each vertical and designation – one that can work with its customers to build local programs with packages that appropriately factor in risk levels.
Find out more about background screening in India: