SecUR Credentials, one of India’s leading employee verification companies, has completed nearly four million candidate checks. Rahul Belwalkar, CEO, SecUR Credentials, explains why background verification plays an important role in the people oriented hospitality industry
What was the inspiration behind SecUR Credentials?
The SecUR team has a background of risk management experience, across industries and processes. With a collective experience of close to a 100 years, across the leadership team, whenever we discussed risk management practices (beyond the financial and information security risk most organisations tend to cover), we realised that the Human Resource is both – the organisation’s greatest asset, as well as one of the biggest (and most under-estimated) windows of risk. Any employee, who is not really what he/she appears to be on paper, is a huge internal threat to the organisation. This realisation is what inspired us to set up a venture focused on filtering out this risk, and to make the workplace safer.
How does the verification process work?
From Day 1 of setting up the business, we were clear that we would adopt operational processes which were completely technology enabled. We have invested in a JAVA based platform, which we have christened SYMPHONY, on which all our processes run. So, everyone from the CEO to the field analyst working with us in a remote part of India will work only on SYMPHONY. This enables us to ensure that every transaction or process interaction, is captured digitally from the word Go. Not only does this enable us to capture each step in the process and track it, it helps us to analyse all this data to build up our IP. We are now taking the next step of making SYMPHONY mobile-enabled, so our teams are able to function effectively, no matter where their physical location.
The background verification process is tailored to the needs of the organisation. We offer a barrage of services including – education, previous employment, criminal history, identity; address verification, drug test, database and media searches, reference checks, credit check and psychometric test. Using multilayered checks via SPOC and on-ground personnel, SecUR Credentials ensures 100 per cent error-free reports with 95 per cent adherence to turn-around times as specified in the service level agreement.
Tell us about your new initiative SecUR Number.
The SecUR Number is a 10-digit code that unlocks an independent background verification report, purchased by the job-seeker, which pre-verifies key information on their resume. Once a job seeker is allotted their SecUR Number, they can include it on their resume enabling prospective employers to access and download the report. Any potential employer, with whom the candidate shares their SecUR Number, can view the verification report after registering themselves as an employer, for free.
Unlike most of the background screening which is currently aimed at corporates for their pre-hiring requirements, the SecUR Number will be a self-certification tool which will be used by potential candidates to demonstrate that their resumes are genuine, and have been screened and certified by one of the country’s largest employee screening companies.
The benefits of the SecUR Number are two-fold. On the one hand, it will enable genuine job-seekers to stand out from the rest of the pack, especially the hordes of resumes which contain some fake data or discrepancy. On the other hand, from the employer HR perspective, they get the confidence, that prima facie, the resume they hold in their hands is genuine, and they are not wasting time, energy and resources in interviewing and recruiting a candidate, whom they will need to later exit because of a faked resume. While the organisation may still choose to conduct its own background check process later, as part of standard HR practices, it can even choose to use the SecUR Number as a pre screen tool.
How has SecUR benefitted the hospitality sector?
The hospitality industry is largely services based and therefore relies strongly on people. Background verifications are paramount in such a space due to the impact negative elements or miscreants can have on the brand and thereby the earning potential of the business. Benefits come in the form of safeguarding the existing staff and clients from potentially embarrassing or detrimental effects.
Do you see a trend in hotels opting more and more for employee background screenings?
Yes, there is definitely a trend of more and more for employee background screenings in the hospitality sector. This is not just to the risk of financial loss from inflated resumes, but also the risk of criminal elements seeping into the system, and the close physical proximity the employees have with the end customer.
In India, how do companies view background screenings?
As a result of some of the issues faced by Corporate India the employee screening industry operates with a wide gamut of client industries, stretching from IT/ITes, banking and other financial services, insurance, telecom, pharmaceutical, automobile, construction, infrastructure, aviation, hospitality, hospitals, all the way to educational institutions, security service companies, broking companies, and many more. Effectively, almost every large and mid-sized employer in India today is a client, or potential one, for the background check industry.
Where some corporates were mostly conducting employee background checks in-house, mostly in the form of reference checks, they have now moved to outsourcing this process to specialised firms like SecUR Credentials. There is a realisation now that internal HR teams have neither the resources nor the skills required to conduct robust background screening checks.