Background checks lessen hiring risks

MIE's year-on-year growth has shown that background screening has become the cornerstone of managing risk within the HR environment.

Regina Pazvakavambwa

10 June 2014

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MIE's year-on-year growth has shown that background screening has become the cornerstone of managing risk within the HR environment.Background screening has become a prerequisite in a number of workplaces around the world.

So says Ina van der Merwe, chief executive officer of Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE), who adds that, while it is important to find the right candidate with the necessary qualifications and integrity to do the job, it is not always easy for businesses to accept potential candidates at face value alone.

According to Van der Merwe, the National Qualifications Register (NQR) is a commercial aggregated qualifications register that can be used to optimise the accuracy and speed of qualification verifications.

The NQR is implemented as a computerised relational database and has over 3.5 million graduate records from subscribing universities, she states.

It is updated regularly to reflect the most recent graduation status for each institution, says Van der Merwe.

She says background checks help business mitigate risk, and that 20% of all job seekers in SA represent some degree of risk.

Many candidates have been known to alter their CVs to meet the requirements of the job specification, she notes.

"The cost of checking versus not checking can be considerably high both for the reputation of the business and the losses that can be incurred when having hired an unqualified candidate," says Van der Merwe.

She adds that the risk is not only organisational but can impact anyone who decides on hiring someone to work in their home. Anyone who hires personnel, should see background screening as a prerequisite, advises Van der Merwe.

"Background checks need to be conducted with a deep respect for privacy and must always comply with relevant laws and regulations."

She adds that consent and indemnity are extremely important considerations when performing the screening checks.

Several items of legislation, including but not limited to the National Credit Act and the Constitution, protect the rights and privacy of individuals and govern the background screening process, she says.

"MIE's year-on-year growth has shown that background screening has become the cornerstone of managing risk within the HR environment."

In conclusion, background checks can be viewed as a pre-emptive measure to bolster the integrity of the organisation and the safety of employees, says Van der Merwe.

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