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Know Your Delivery Guy: The Importance Of Background Checks In An On-Demand Economy

05/02/2016 8:18 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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Imagine a scenario. You order a meal from your favourite food app, punch in your details like contact number, home/office address and happily wait for your delicious meal to arrive. All sweet and simple so far, but what if the guy who delivers your food and has access to your mobile number turns out to be a creep and starts harassing you? Wouldn't the whole experience leave a bitter aftertaste? And of course you'd narrate the entire episode on social media to warn others, and the reputation of the concerned company would take a hit.

Do you think something can be done to avoid this chain of events?

The last couple of years, especially 2015, have seen an unprecedented rise in on-demand services in India -- from transportation and food to groceries, tutoring, home repair, cleaning and beauty treatments. Name it and your demand will be catered to.

Organisations in the on-demand sector do not function like traditional employers. There is quick, continuous and accelerated hiring of employees, which at times circumvents background verification processes...

As consumers rely more on "sharing economy" to make their lives easier, the sector is grappling with problems that are similar to what other industries face too -- hiring the right talent and ensuring their employees have a clean background. However, unlike other industries, the on-demand sector demands background screening to be instant. The onslaught of on-demand services has brought a new wave of clientele to background verification companies like ours; the opportunities are immense but so are the challenges.

The traditional background verification process takes anywhere between 15 days to three months, where you have to work with third parties like the police department etc. and waiting for responses can take days. Moreover, you need to ensure that the individual whose background you are screening is actually the right person. If you are not checking the person's identity first there are chances that you might be checking the records for the wrong person and the entire purpose of background verification gets defeated.

Organisations in the on-demand sector do not function like traditional employers. There is quick, continuous and accelerated hiring of employees at all levels, which at times circumvents or shortens the conventional background verification processes (including reference checks, identity check, previous employment checks etc). In times when safety of customers and other employees in an organization is supreme, circumventing a thorough background screening may be hazardous. Ignoring crucial information about a prospective employee can cause severe damage to an organisation and its various stakeholders. In September last year, a Bangalore-based man was arrested for impersonating a software engineer from Hyderabad. The culprit not only managed to get a job using stolen documents belonging to the software engineer but also succeeded in getting loans from banks using the engineer's PAN card.

A customers' safety and trust cannot be compromised. To ensure this, under no circumstances should a comprehensive background screening process be sidelined

As the on-demand economy grows even further this year there will be expedited hiring and stories of consumers being harmed by criminal acts can be expected to increase. But what these organisations need to keep in mind is that the customer is the key to their success and that a customers' safety and trust cannot be compromised. To ensure this, under no circumstances should a comprehensive background screening process be sidelined or de-emphasised.

Background verification firms are working hard to meet the demands for instant identity and criminal record checks -- for instance, we have successfully created a solution to offer instant Aadhar, PAN and passport verification. This validates that the individual facing the customer has a bona fide government-issued identity.

Criminal record verification is still some steps away from being instantaneous. Until that happens, a time-lagged check should still be conducted, keeping customer security as the driving force.

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