In the last 6 years, I have held various HR related positions; with the most recent of them being a Background Check Services Consultant for Klinsheet Consulting. It should come at no surprise to you that over time, I have experienced a whole lot of drama in my line of work. That is not to say that I do not enjoy my line of work anyway (chuckles).
Over the years, I have negotiated, conducted, overseen, and prepared reports along various categories of background check services. The background checks I have run over time range from Address Confirmation; Academic Verification; Previous Employer Check; Physical Guarantor Confirmation; Credit Check; Criminal Record Check; and so on. In the course of running these checks, I have encountered tonnes of challenges. Be it as it may, these challenges are experienced by virtually every background check officer. For the sake of clarity, let me iterate some of these challenges I refer to below:
The headache that’s caused by an incomplete database is better imagined, than experienced. Very often, the phenomenon of incomplete databases is mostly experienced when field agents make attempts to verify academic certificates from institutions of learning. While on the field, you would marvel at how most of these institutions do not have a complete database of their ex-students.
I remember when I was still a field agent and I went for academic verification in higher institutions. I always found it puzzling that the admin officers in most of these institutions had to revert to brochures before they could verify whether an individual was their alumni or not.
In this part of the world, it is not uncommon for people to become skeptical upon the experience of anything unusual. I remember countless occasions when I went to run address verification. And while trying to make findings about the person in question, neighbours often held back, as they were skeptical about giving out information they feared could cause someone to lose their job.
Non availability of guarantors
Time and time again, I had setbacks as a result of the non-availability of guarantors. As a matter of fact, the issue with guarantors is no small feat. Even till today, I keep getting reports about guarantors who suddenly make themselves unavailable when it’s time to verify them. You know, some people might be shy or not know how to express their unwillingness to stand as a guarantor.
But once it’s time to verify their stand as a guarantor, some individuals cease the advantage and continue to give various excuses until your timeframe is exhausted. Some guarantors however – maybe after communing with their lawyer – lay claim to not remembering the names of employees. Some even deny ever filling out a guarantor’s form on anybody’s behalf.
Company / organization policy
On certain occasions, I experienced scenarios whereby guarantors were actually willing to stand in for employees, but their company policies made it almost impossible. In some organizations, employees are not permitted to stand as guarantors to others. In some other organizations, visitors are not allowed within the premises. Hence, in a bid to adhere to laid down policies, guarantors wouldn’t want you to visit them at their place of work.
Before going ahead to run checks on employees, it is only proper for employers to inform their employees that background checks would be run on them. Somewhere along the process of onboarding, employees consent to having verification checks done on them anytime. However, due to the anxiety of landing a new job, many employees fail to take note of this detail, and later claim that they were not informed that a background check would be done on them.
As insignificant as these factors might appear to be, they all affect the process of running background checks in one way or the other. Firstly, many of these issues tend to cause a delay in the turn-around time of our processes. However, communicating these things to clients isn’t always as seamless as one would imagine. Even when the facts are glaring, some clients just refuse to understand; and they somehow find it easier to tag you as incompetent.
Apart from turn-around time; some of the issues we face makes it quite uneasy to compile the reports of our findings. Once, I went to verify a guarantor who was said to be the MD of a purported Oil & Gas company. Upon arrival at the address, I saw a kerosene tank with a salesperson sitting under a big umbrella. I asked around and got to realize that the name of the owner of the kerosene tank was similar to the name of the company whose supposed MD was the guarantor I wanted to verify. However, the attendant laid claim to not knowing any company by the name I mentioned.
As conclusive as it may appear, it is worthy of note that assumptions can be very dangerous when it comes to background checks. More so, it is inappropriate to come back with an assumption, when charged with the task of running a verification.
So as not to bore you with my experience; I’ll end my thoughts here and leave an open avenue to reach out to me, should you have any questions or require any clarifications.
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