Qualifications Are Tops

Verifying employee information for fraud prevention - Companies should be investing short-term capital into employee verification for long-term gain.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions - By Allyson Koekhoven.

01 November 2014

Ina van der Merwe, CEO of Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE), told Hi-Tech Security Solutions that screening for qualifications tops the list of must-haves for her clients. The company owns the National Qualifications Register (NQR™), South Africa's first commercial aggregated qualifications register, and receives a high volume of requests for local second­ary and tertiary, as well as international tertiary qualification checks.

Van der Merwe points out that the most popular verification requests are for validated matriculation certificates. This is becoming more predominant and can be in great part linked to the fact that as the rate of unemployment increases and therefore more candidates are available for each position, employers are becom­ing more discerning about picking the top achievers. This is equally applicable to tertiary qualifications.

MIE's statistics show that 49% of inter­national qualifications are unverifiable and 13-14% of local qualifications cannot be verified. In addition, in 18% of cases, there is some fault or misrepresentation on CVs submitted by employment candidates.

She says that the number of companies requesting employee screening is increas­ing and can be attributed to employ­ers realising the long-term benefits of reducing risk to the company by ensuring the right people are in place from the outset. AFIS criminal record checks are also popu­lar and highlight that 10% of all applicants have a criminal record. Credit checks follow in third place and up to the point that President Zuma gave amnesty to all with credit records in April 2014, the rate of candidates with a bad credit rating was 22%.

Van der Merwe points out that pre- and post-employment check are being imple­mented by their clients. This is particularly prevalent in companies where areas of risk are high. She cites the insurance industry that insists on bi-annual credit/criminal, and some­times qualification, checks for its brokers. The banking industry, where large amounts of cash are involved, implement employee screening checks every three months.

The PoPI Act has had an influence on the way in which employee screening takes place. Although in the past it was obligatory to acquire candidate permission for crimi­nal record and credit checks, it will become increasingly important to do so for all other verification processes. MIE has implemented an indemnity/consent form whereby writ­ten permission will need to be given by all candidates.

A new trend within the procurement environment is the vetting of all suppliers in a due diligence process that checks the names of directors, their physical addresses, company banking details and other pertinent information, to provide a higher level of protection to businesses. MIE has introduced Zoomout, which compares the names of all client employees with the names of directors of supplier com­panies to ensure that there is absolutely no nepotism.

As the minimum, she suggests that credit, criminal record and qualification verification takes place. For less than R150 companies will have the peace of mind that the person they are employing will be less likely to cost them money in the medium to short term.

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