An effective instrument in investigating the social status, business and investment claims, and lifestyles of people remains in background screening.
In this exclusive interview with Abuja Bureau Chief, Bizwatchnigeria.ng, MESHACK IDEHEN, the Managing Director, Background Check International, (BCI) who pioneered background check industry in Nigeria, Mr. Kola Olugbodi, spoke on why background checks are of utmost importance
What is the importance of background check in the light of present day economic and business realities?
The need for proper background screening cannot be overemphasized. This is because it has become imperative for corporate organizations to adopt a workable action plan to thoroughly evaluate and investigate claims by employees or business investors as the case may be. Background check is not limited to employees only but it also cuts across every strata of the society.
The significant role of background check in eliminating fraudulent claims and false information needs to be highlighted and accorded its rightful place by all and sundry. When this is done appropriately, all hands should be on the deck to ensure that background screening is established as not only a culture but also a norm in every facet of our lives.
Can we justify background check in the face of other pressing issues corporate organizations, businesses and individuals are grappling with?
A famous management expert, Mr. Peter Drucker, once said that chances are that up to 66 per cent of your company’s hiring decisions will prove to be mistakes in the first 12 months. This is indeed true as a result of several sharp practices being perpetrated by employees.
It has also been found out that close to 10 percent of most company’s workforce either has criminal backgrounds or criminal tendencies, while about 70 percent of all lost revenue in organisations are due to employees’ theft, internal fraud and collusion.
Several job applicants also make false claims as, from experience; close to 33 percent job applicants falsify their education and employment records and credentials. Background check is therefore a risk averter, which is a potent tool to forestall negligent hiring and also safeguarding organizational assets.
You can see from this that it is highly justifiable to give background check premium position in the scheme of things.
Does your company have link with other bodies around the world knowing fully well that the world is now a global village?
In the first place, it is important to note that Background Check International (BCI) pioneered the business and operation of background check in Nigeria. BCI came into being in 2005 therefore opening a new frontier in the issue of security both for corporate and individuals.
Now to affiliation, let me stress that security operations have always been collaborative efforts because of the need for information sharing, peer review mechanism and exposure to developments in other climes. BCI really has extensive relationship beyond the shores of Nigeria all for the purpose of cutting edge delivery to clients as well as application of international best practices in our operations.
At the corporate level, BCI the first African member of the prestigious Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) based in the USA. And at the home front, we are member of the Nigeria Institute for Industrial Security (NIIS).
Interestingly, I am the coordinator of the African Alliance group among background screening firms across Africa and an Advisory Board member of the International Due Diligence Association based in the USA. Invariably, we are indeed living up to its vision to become Africa’s leading authority in background screening, due diligence and risk management matters.
Background Check International has over the years raised the bar of transparency and integrity in corporate governance. We are positioned strategically to chart the way forward to stem fraudulent practices that hinder organizational growth.
Your offerings and services as a company are numerous. How relevant would you say are these products and services to the economic wellbeing or corporate organizations and individuals?
Let me say this first that any organization whose mission has no value to add to the general economic wellbeing does not worth its existence. Having said this, BCI offerings are germane to the wellbeing across board – individual, corporate organization and the country at large. Look at the enormity of fraud and corruption that the country has been battling with.
Diligent background check of the characters before being saddled with the responsibilities that provided platform for them to go into corruption would have cut them off from getting those positions right from the word go. Our offerings at BCI are end product of research on the challenges confronting the nation and the society at large.
None of our offering is irrelevant therefore. Among others we offer quality service delivery in background checks of educational qualification, professional certification, criminal record check, risk assessment report, investors due diligence, employment background check, litigation aid due diligence, insurance claims and other areas.
BCI has been able to expose corporate organizations to the dangers of employing staff without proper verification. Our goal at Background Check is to make Nigeria investment friendly for investors through our strategic offerings.
What can you say on the need to curtail employment risks?
Let me shock you by saying that touts can inadvertently get employment into a reputed organization if background check and screening is not deployed at that time employment is being given to individual. Anybody can claim anything in terms of qualifications and character when being interviewed by the employer.
The onus is therefore on the organization to conduct background checks to ascertain the veracity of such claims. Go double check at the institution such claimed to have attended; check within his neighborhood his character and even possible check him out if he has criminal records or tendencies.
All of these are what background will deliver to any discerning employer or individual. And at BCI, the competent, skill, reach and contact are readily available. For instance, the prevailing child kidnapping by so called house helps would not have arisen in the first place if the house helps have had their background profiled and checked by a competent background check outfit.
Some will claim they are coming to Nigeria for the first time, but whereas they have been around for long being a member of a cartel specializing in child kidnapping. With background check, you are immune from such a horrible experience, preserving the sanctity of your home.
For use at background check it should become a matter of policy for corporate organizations to not only audit new staff but also the old staff to forestall the incidence of theft among other misdemeanor. Corporate organizations should not be in haste to employ staff without conducting thorough background screening as such hasty decision exposes the tangible and intangible resources of the organization to fraud and abuse. Background screening is very apt to eliminate fraud and other unethical behavior that are prevalent in corporate organizations.
The word negligent hiring has become a part of our economic lexicon. How would you describe negligent hiring?
It means employing with negligence attitude, employing on the assumption that all that the prospective employee said are true, without any conscious effort at double-checking claims. The case of negligent hiring is one that should be addressed without further delay. Negligent hiring in most cases turn out to be a sour point in the history of organizations as a staff negligently employed may cause the organization a lot fortunes that they are not supposed to spend.
Negligent hiring may be interval or untowardly displayed negligence. Internal display negligence leads to work place violence when a staff may decide to assault a fellow worker which may lead to some injuries and of course the displeased staff may go to court and sue not only the staff as a culprit but also the company.
What is the place of background check in corporate governance?
Believe me corporate Nigeria will definitely have respite from frauds and corruption if background screening becomes an integral part of the corporate vision and business model. The task to minimize the chances of fraud and dishonesty traits in corporate governance also comes under the purview of background screening. Through this, individuals with fraudulent claims are checkmated from reaching the upper ladder in the management of companies.
How do you think we can entrench the practice and culture of background check in Nigeria?
The foundation of such entrenchment is the need for dissemination of information about the overall importance of background check in Nigeria. A major emphasis is to create a lot of awareness and help Nigerians have in-depth knowledge about the operations of background screening. Everything is all about risk and this should be clearly understood by all and sundry.
Background check is all about risk management, fraud risk, safety risk, and relationship risk. What background check does is that before making decisions there should be verification and clarification. The act of doing this saves you the risk of trusting blindly. The person to be employed must be verified in case he absconded from the previous employment before being employed in a new company.
It is important to know the background of every potential employee to eliminate the risk of employing a fraudster and criminal. It is important to probe the criminal record of the employees to save the company from having the same criminal occurrence. So people must to know that the risk is there and know what to do when the signal is received.
I need to add that background check is not about witch-hunting, but instead, it is about having square pegs in square holes. It is about separating wheat from the chaff. It is about ensuring that the people qualified for jobs and positions are the ones that get them, and not fraudsters that have fake results, exaggerated resumes and devious characters. Why should wolves get the jobs of sheep, just because the wolves have sheep’s clothing on?