First Advantage: Keeping Screening Easy

CIO Vendor The steady economic growth of India has posed an unprecedented pressure on the organizations to identify and build an efficient and productive work force that will enable them to be successful in their business. The employers are in a tug of war, in a competitive market to hire the best talent. Efficient employees are the foundation for the growth of any organization. Unfortunately, in India background screening is not yet an integral part of the hiring process except in multinationals and large companies. Often in a hurry to fill vacant positions and to save on the cost of background screening, employers compromise on verifying the details of the prospective candidates. The employers are often reluctant about investing on candidates whose employment has not been confirmed. It is important for the employers to understand that background screening is an important process that helps them to confirm the qualification, skill sets and integrity of the candidate. According to Society for Human Resource Management, a bad hire can cost 5 times his/ her annual salary to a firm. The loss is not just in terms of financial investment but it can malign their brand name and demotivate the existing employees. Instead of considering the investment on background screening as an unwarranted cost; employers should emphasis on probity check as prevention is better than cure. A thorough background check helps in safeguarding organizational assets, company’s reputation, avert legal hurdles and thereby promote safety within the workplace and position the organization as a responsible employer.

In the last few years we are witnessing a change in the mindset of the employers. Even though background screening is at a nascent stage but the awareness about its benefits has drawn the attention of many Indian employers, who have made background screening an important step in the hiring process. It is an indispensable method that helps the employers to make an informed decision.

Identifying the challenges and to assist the employers to hire the right person, First Advantage, was established in 2003.

The Idea behind First Advantage

With competition being rife in India, candidates often resort to unethical methods to get an edge over other applicants. According to a report by First Advantage, there are over 7500 organizations in India, which operate only to provide fake employment and educational certificates. In a hurry to make quick money and grow in their career candidates often fall prey to the temptation to get forged education and employment certificates. According to the Q1 2016 Trends report from First Advantage, under discrepancy related to employment 16 per cent of the employees furnished false certificates; whereas under discrepancy related to education, 41 per cent discrepancy was related to fake certificates.These staggering figures clearly indicate that the menace of degree and experience mills is rampant in India.

While screening the prospective candidates, First Advantage realized that a significant percentage of employers from the unorganized sector do not conduct background checks; they still rely on the traditional reference check to confirm the claims of the applicants.

To protect the company, an effective background screening program is an essential part of any employer’s hiring strategy. Conducting a screening program requires compliance with the various – and often changing – regulatory environment of each country and local region, something which many employers may be uncomfortable doing.

In order to ensure a reliable and compliant screening program, companies can leverage from an alliance with a background screening partner experienced in the dynamic regulatory environment. The right provider should be up-to-date on the latest legislation governing the background screening process, helping to ensure the company continually hires the right talent while checking their credentials in a safe and legally compliant manner.

The firm has expanded in 27 locations across 13 countries worldwide and conducts over 54 million international background screens annually for 16.8 million applicants

First Advantage is one of the leaders in the domain, helping organizations to seamlessly conduct background checks on employees and vendors in compliance with the law of the land. First Advantage was formed by the merger of the screening segment of The First American Corporation, a leading provider of title insurance and settlement services based in US. By 2008, they acquired 50 companies strengthening the growth strategy. Also by 2010 they became a portfolio company of the Symphony Technology Group, a private equity firm which transforms high-potential companies into definitive market leaders. They merged their consultancy in 2013 with Lexis Nexis Screening & Verifications Inc., a company which helps to uncover the information that commercial organizations needs to get complete picture about individuals. “We have been one of the first companies to introduce enhanced database checks, GPS enabled address verification, intelligent MIS, report automation, online ordering amongst additional things. We take great pride in being a trusted partner to over 45,000 organizations worldwide. We deliver the results that businesses need to drive success and make more informed decisions”, says Purushotam Savlani, Managing Director and Senior Vice President, First Advantage.

With more than 4500 employees across the world and over 2500 in India, First Advantage has established itself as one stop shop offering best in class background screening service across the globe.

First Advantage has advanced global technology platform, superior customer service and compliance expertise delivered by experts who understand the local markets. With the best technology and skill sets, First Advantage offers tailored background screening service to suite the need of the organization. For instance, the Executive Screening program has been specially designed for senior leaders as the expectation from leaders are completely different and the risk of hiring the wrong leader is significantly high. “Our solutions are intelligently created to help our clients comply with industry standards and also help them to hire the right person with apt skills. Our customer support team is always available to assist our clients and address their queries”, adds Purushotam.

The Technologically Driven Services

The four key services offered by First Advantage are –
• Screening services for account management
• Background check solutions and implementation
• Employee screening services and support
• Background check and product training

These services together help us to serve our clients better and efficiently.

The Journey to Success

Speaking about their success, Purushotam proudly avers, “Our winning combination of excellent services and domain expertise helps us to offer best service to our clients and empowers them to take a judicious decision while hiring.”

Headquartered in Atlanta, First Advantage has office in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai in India. First Advantage has offices in North America, Europe and Asia. Since its inception, First Advantage has evolved as a leader in the domain. The firm has expanded in 27 locations across 13 countries worldwide and conducts over 54 million international background screens annually for 16.8 million applicants. In India, First Advantage services cover over 1300 towns and cities, 6300 universities, all Government verification sources and employers across varied industries. Speaking about their future plans, Purushotam concludes by saying, “With the objective to stay ahead of the competition and to serve our clients with accurate and best service, we constantly strive to upgrade the quality of our services through implementation of innovative technology and strengthening our team by recruiting domain experts. Being a technologically driven company, we are always looking out for emerging technologies that will assist us to generate effective results and reduce the overall turnaround time. Simultaneously, we are concentrating on extending our talented team to serve our clients with the best servicing experience.”