It pays to screen future employees, says leading private eye

With growing globalisation and employment of foreigners, screening will become even more vital. - Reuters picWith growing globalisation and employment of foreigners, screening will become even more vital. - Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 — It is important for employers to do background screening of potential employees to ensure that right hiring decisions are made as negligent hiring comes with risks that will cost employers unnecessary costs in the long run, says a leading name in the private investigation and employees screening industry.

The chief executive officer of Venovox Sdn Bhd, Rebecca C. @ Rathi, who is also Malaysia’s first woman private investigator to be appointed to the position of Chief Executive Officer, said negligent hiring would cost a company much not only in terms of reduced productivity, compromised quality and higher employee turnover, but could also land the company in an industrial court.

In an interview with Bernama, she pulls out some statistics to support her statement that employers were often the ones to lose out in the event of employment termination cases brought to courts.

“Employers lose nearly two thirds of all negligent hiring lawsuits and employees screening is a necessity considering that the cost of firing is higher than hiring especially when the employers are taken to court.”

Rebecca, who has been with a private investigations company the last eight years before taking the helm of its employee background associate/subsidiary, Venovox, said employee background screening, although a relatively new service in Malaysia, has long been subscribed by several businesses in the country such as financial and credit institutions, as well as government linked companies and others.

While most companies have their own human resources division to do basic searches before employing a candidate, there are times when a more thorough search is required and some companies get these done externally.

The background searches could be on the simplest of request from an employer such as the previous salary of a potential employee to more detailed information like a person’s credit history, work performance and people relations.

Successful companies are those that consider their human capital as their most important asset and that is why employers should be encouraged to do background screening as sometimes even a simple counter check of a resume will throw a lot of light, Rebecca said.

The areas in which people often give inaccurate or even false information in their resume include academic qualifications, work experience, capabilities, and salaries.

Work capability is particularly important for companies as some companies could end up employing unsuitable or ill-qualified candidates for a particular job and end up spending time and money on training the employee or worse still taking the consequences of mistakes made on the job and the subsequent losses, she said.

More detailed searches are also conducted when the positions being filled are that of key people in an organisation where issues of credibility, integrity and work ethics are of primary importance and which could make or break a company.

“One such position is that of a chief financial officer. Obviously, accountability is a key element here and the potential employer would want to know details of the person about to be hired as the person will be tasked with the heavy responsibility of managing the company’s finances.”

On whether the employment screening agencies will recommend hiring based on their findings, she said: “The clients make their own hiring decisions, we basically present the details and facts related to the employees as they are.  Sometimes we do make recommendations of training and such for employees with weak applications, but we do not go beyond that.”

With growing globalisation and employment of foreigners, screening will become even more vital, Rebecca said, adding that her company, Venovox which is associated with an international company, MVD International, also dealt with undertaking international screenings in more challenging countries.

To a question on whether mistakes could be made when screening an employee, she said, cross references are always made to ensure the accuracy of any information gained.

Screening also helps a potential employee, she said, citing a case where a law graduate had continuously failed to get gainfully employed after going through interviews successfully.

“This person had bad references from a supervisor from a former workplace, but a cross check done through our staff with another boss at the same place who had worked with the same person briefly, gave a different view. From further checking, it was later found that the graduate was a much younger, attractive woman who had brought out the insecurities of the older supervisor.”

Employees who are honest with their resume also need not worry, Rebecca said, adding that Venovox, which had over 300 clients currently, also only conducted searches on candidates who had given their consent to their potential

employers for background screening. – Bernama



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