Apparently, it is no longer news that the recent COVID-19 phenomenon was felt by virtually every country of the world. Beyond having an impact on the economies of various countries; it can easily be concluded that the pandemic had an impact on all industries. Obviously, amongst other industries, the COVID-19 outbreak dealt a big blow to companies in the background check services sector. In order not to appear like one is unnecessarily over bloating issues; let us give an insight into some of the challenges background check companies faced during the pandemic.
Guarantor / reference check
Sequel to the pronouncement of the lockdown by the government, actualizing guarantor verification became an insurmountable task. The initial panic that was felt as a result of the occurrence of the pandemic in Nigeria caused everyone to become skeptical about receiving or entertaining any form of visitors. Szimilarly, beyond the skepticism of the people; background check companies had a hard time putting measures in place to keep their staff safe during the process of running their checks.
Previous employer check
Up till this moment, some organizations have chosen to continue to work from home; and are yet to resume at their physical office. Hence, getting a grasp of the previous employers of our clients’ staff has been a herculean task. Using Klinsheet Consulting as a case study; we have found out over time that running previous employer checks manually has always given us a better chance at getting some information that would normally not be communicated via digital means. But because of the pandemic; conducting our physical previous employer checks that give us the opportunity to observe the body language and tone of voice of the previous employer has been barely achievable.
Considering the nature of the COVID-19 virus, one of the earliest pronouncements of the government was for all learning institutions to remain shut down until further notice. By that declaration, all academic verification requests that had not been concluded until that moment had to remain on hold. As much as a background check company might have been willing to equip their staff with protective gear; the fact that the schools where they would have to contact remained locked down was such a limiting factor.
As a response towards curbing the menace of the pandemic, the federal government gave a directive for all non-essential workers to remain at home; save for civil servants who had attained level 14 or higher in their civil service career. Just as you would expect, the verification of NYSC certificates are run through officers who are below level 14 in the federal civil service scheme. By this, our NYSC verifications had to remain on hold through the period.
During the lockdown and curfew that was initially declared in Lagos and some other states, all activities were grounded. Upon relaxation of the lockdown, the initial rush and hike in transport fares caused address confirmation to become quite a task for background check companies.
In truth, Klinsheet Consulting has an Identity Management system that can be used to verify any address in Nigeria. However, considering the fact that our unique selling point has always been the physical verification of addresses; we found it unhealthy to send reports to our clients without a physical confirmation of our addresses.
Criminal record check
With the occurrence of the pandemic, visiting security outlets to confirm the criminal record status of individuals suddenly became a big deal. Most of these parastatals immediately became unwilling to entertain any form of visitors. This, however, came as a barrier to the fulfilment of our objectives.
As much as each category of background check had its own challenges and/or limitations; it is worthy of note that other generic factors have posed major threats to the upkeep and day-to-day activities of background check companies. Apparently, these ‘generic factors’ are numerous. However, one major part of them is the sudden hike in the cost of transport fares. This generic factor has affected the bottom-line of a lot of the core activities of background check companies.