Olugbodi: How Background check can prevent blind hiring, fraud
Kola Olugbodi, a background check expert and an author, is a graduate of Demography and Statistics from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. He spoke with ENO BASSEY on the impact of background checks, their contributions and essence, as critical tools for corporate hiring of staff.
What is the impact of background checks on Nigeria’s corporate environment?
We started Background Check International primarily to bring back integrity and proper recruitment process to the corporate sector. This was to check wrong hiring and ensure that those who can defraud organisations are not employed.
Background check is not about hiring at face value, not just employed by what the resume of individual states. After17 years of pioneering background check operations in Nigeria, we have supported several organisations in eliminating fraud and criminal tendencies amongst their staff.
A major impact of background checks is to know your staff and not about what they said or what they claimed to be, but corroborating and verifying these claims. It is also about knowing more about the staff. This makes organisations know whether the staff has the requisite skills to secure employment. Background check also helps to ensure that some prospective staff do not have criminal records. It is also to ensure that those who claim to have work experiences displayed good character and proper conduct while they were in previous employment.
Background check has saved several corporate organisations from blind hiring and also made employment decisions with empirical and statistical evidence. The essence of background checks is that the staff, who are entitled to secure gainful employment are the ones being employed and not the ones with fictitious records. Past work records of management and other support staff that organisation’s assets committed into their hands should be cross-checked.
What can you say about the acceptability of background checks in Nigeria?
Background check is now widely accepted both in the corporate sector and other segments in Nigeria. Considering the breakdown of our clients and the volume of requisitions being handled, Background Check International currently functions in every sector of the economy: banking, oil and gas, manufacturing, and real estate among others.
It has become important for corporate organisations to see the background check as critical a tool that can aid corporate hiring. In essence, a background check will safe organisations from employing fraudulent and criminally-minded elements.
What are the processes and procedures involved in background check in view of objections by employees through legal action?
Background check is not about witch-hunting. For any staff to be verified, we advise our clients to ensure that the affected staff gives consent to the process. We counsel organisations to embark on the necessary steps that their action deserves. Everyone should be in the picture. There are cases of staff deciding to resign rather than being verified. This may be due to fraudulent activities in their previous employment. Background check is not a discrete investigation, but it is about verifying public records of institutional data about staff. A staff can either give consent or otherwise, which means appropriate actions would be taken on verification and authentication of information provided.
What can government do to regulate background check in the country?
I am glad to confirm that the government agencies and parastatals are patronising our organisation, which is a big breakthrough considering the fact that the government is embracing due diligence.
However, the issue of government policy is something that might not be immediate, even though we await government regulation to ensure strict adherence to procedures and processes. We have a body that regulates background checks in Nigeria, and I am the inaugural chairman. We are considering the government’s policy and also dialoguing with relevant government establishments.