3 Mistakes in a Background Screening Process that Could Affect Your Organization

Background screening is ever evolving and in need of constant adaptation, especially as technology, regulation and digitization evolves in India and across the world. BGV as it is has a bad reputation of being ever so static, traditional and slow. Legacy players have done little to let go off this dubious tag. Thus, the onus is on the buyer of background verification services, namely the employer to educate themselves on the background verification process and demand top-notch services. This article covers 3 mistakes in the BGV process that could affect the hiring organization.


Address Verification

HR and management are better off under-standing the address verification process in the employee screening journey. Address verification is performed to ascertain that the address claimed by the candidate is indeed true. This is important so the candidate can be traced back to the address in the event of any wrong-doing or even disappearance. The address serves as an additional contact point. In the US and in other developing countries this verification is performed by checking against a National Address Database. Even credit reporting agencies might offer address verification services. However, in India no such database exists, and the verification must be performed by a reputed background check agency who considers authenticity and speed above all other attributes of verification. Since address verification is performed by freelancers, mostly, there are several shortcuts like the agent not visiting the location. To counter this, background verification agencies must incorporate geolocation capture to confirm that the agent had indeed visited the given address.

Question to ask the BGV agency: How do you control and monitor the field agents to ensure they visited the address of the candidate?


Price impacts the background screening process. Believe it! The background verification industry is a red ocean and there are many service providers in this industry, some more authentic than others. Hence, to ‘get the business’ some background screeners will drastically drop their prices based on the assumption that companies are especially price conscious and will go with the cheapest service provider. Price, unfortunately does not equate to quality. Unscrupulous BGV providers will compromise on quality and cut costs so they can justify the low prices they have offered the client. This will render the background verification process useless and will endanger the employer. BGV, contrary to popular belief, is not a checkbox activity but rather an important risk mitigation one. A case in point is the past employment verification. Some agencies will simply ask the HR departments of the past employer of the candidate to fill a form and email it back to them. HR however, is generally reticent to reveal integrity issues in this form. A follow-up call by the agent of the background verification vendor is necessary and a little social engineering is required to get the HR person to reveal the facts.

Point to remember: Ask the BGV vendor to explain their processes and probe shortcomings of their methods.


A quick glimpse through some legacy background verification companies’ website will yield some buzz words that are, frankly, just that, buzz words. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have a place in the BGV process to automate the processes however, in the current landscape they play a small role because such is the nature of background verification. Human intervention will be compulsory owing to the problems with AI/ML such as false positives/negatives. Many BGV companies in the US, and some Indian ones too, claim to offer an automated background check. There are many horror stories of background verification companies shutting down or filing for bankruptcy because they reported the candidate wrongly in the BGV report. The candidates filed a court case against the vendor and the rest was history.

Question for BGV vendor: How do you use technology in the background verification process and how much do you depend on technology?

The three mistakes in the BGV process are not mutually exclusive. The bottom line is that the hiring company must be better informed about the background verification process to pick the right vendor who upholds the highest standards when it comes to authenticity, quality and TAT coupled with fair pricing. One must not judge a particular BGV vendor in isolation but rather consider the above points before making a decision. Background screening is gaining popularity and is growing at an exponential rate across the globe. The global market size is estimated to be somewhere around $7 billion. The background verification service has many applications not least in the loan disbursement, rental, marriage etc. industries and as the populous gets educated about the benefits of BGV, the market size will expand even more. Hence, it is of paramount importance for background verification service providers to buck up and improve their processes with regard to authenticity, TAT and automation while the market starts to understand the applications and upside of performing a background check.