First Advantage

With India’s vast array of vendor options and employment candidates comes the responsibility of performing appropriate levels of due diligence, and this is where country-specific background screening issues begin to emerge. With no standardized government-issued identification (ID) such as a Social Security Number and no centralized databases for criminal records or employment and educational data, the process of vetting vendors and candidates within India is largely a manual, resource-intensive process that can be rife with subjectivity, inconsistency, inaccuracy and—if not carefully managed—questionable, dubious and even corrupt practices. This is a potentially huge compliance risk for many global organizations. What’s more, restrictions and permissible searches vary based on governmental departments and jurisdictions, making compliance a particularly complex burden for most organizations. Compliance can also be severely compromised by localized vendors who may have little-to-no understanding of global compliance, multinational IT or data security requirements, and lack the appropriate data security infrastructure, processes and business practices that large, global businesses often require. These risks are real, and something every employer should consider when determining how to screen candidates from India.
In addition to resume fraud, there are incidents of unscrupulous background checking practices at the local agency levels. Many searches such as criminal police verification are manual and in absence of a centralized database of nationwide criminal records, the procedures for performing these localized searches can vary by state, by city or by a local jurisdiction, and they’re often not standardized and compliant with formal processes. Bribery and other forms of fraud and corruption thrive under these conditions at both public agencies and private firms, as does non-compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other anti-bribery acts. For example, a fake police verification racket was recently uncovered in India, in which a local domestic screening provider, listed by many customers and official bodies as a reputable and credentiable.
India, the focus of this document, is a prime example. For starters, India is a hotspot that has become synonymous with the offshoring or outsourcing of key business processes such as information technology (IT), product development, shared services for back office functions, and customer support. Likewise, considering its massive population, roughly 1.2 billion people compared to 313 million people in the United States (U.S.), it’s also a hiring mecca for organizations looking to recruit the best talent to work both inside and outside the country.

For example, a fake police verification racket was recently uncovered in India, in which a local domestic screening provider, listed by many customers and official bodies as a reputable and credentialed vendor, was forging the seal and signatures of Indian police officers and issuing false criminal police verification documents

Employers must take care to work with trusted, reliable screening providers when vetting potential employees and vendors, no matter where they’re from or where they work—and India is no exception. Not doing so can damage an organization’s global integrity, credibility and brand quality, and cause it to hire unqualified or otherwise unfit employees or vendors, increasing the potential for: •Physical harm associated with employees that have a history of criminal activity, violence or harassment •Financial and proprietary data theft risk from individuals with access to privileged information •Reduced productivity due to employees with a lack of skills, expertise, education and/or training •Higher Human Resources costs to replace unfit employees •Legal risk posed by non-compliant hiring and screening processes •Corporate and personal risk for executives and directors of the organization