Swiftness and Thoroughness – Will the Twain Meet?

Background Screening

Being practical while seeking what is desirable – that for me exemplifies the increasing demand on the background screening industry for being swift in doing their checks. The need for speed and the need for accuracy can often be in conflict and there could be a tradeoff involved. So, the question that must be keeping background screeners awake at night – and it should if it isn’t – is: does instant verification necessarily come at the cost of quality?

There is an argument to be made that instant background screening comes at a price and in their quest for speed companies may not be getting the protection that they need from erroneous information being doled out by opportunistic employees. And the backbone of background screening is the integrity of the check. That integrity must never be called to question; it is sacrosanct..

Weighing the pros and cons of the issue and after careful deliberation, my view is that instant verification and quality check may not be antithetical. A wise man once said that there is no decision in life that doesn’t come with some sort of balance or sacrifice. But in my view this industry may be standing at the threshold of achieving a perfect balance between swiftness and thoroughness.

Let me elaborate that point. Instant verification is the principal driver of the speed that the on-demand economy seeks and this instantaneity is currently made possible by identity checks. At least that’s the case here in India.

We announced at the start of this year that AuthBridge has built the capability of instantly verifying the identity of Indian citizens using government-issued documents, such as a passport, PAN or Aadhar card. This first level ID verification caters to the need for speed sought by on-demand services but can companies risk their reputation on a quick but less than thorough background check? Do they need to?

The answer is no, they don’t. Next in line for instant verification could be a litigation check. Companies big and small would like a very clear view that the person they are hiring has no criminal record. Hence next checks to go instant would be criminality, litigation, reputation and credit default.

Instant verification of address, education and employment still in the realms of fantasy? Or is it likely to appear on the horizon any time soon?

Intriguing, exciting question. Right? I am going to defer the answering of that question to another day. Another blog.

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Forecast of Background Screening Trends for 2016


Do you have to be Nostradamus to be able to see what the industrial landscape will be like in the year ahead? Maybe in some industries you do need to try and match the abilities of the world’s most famous astrologer, but that is not the proposition here. Certainly not for the background screening industry.

So, in spotting trends for our industry in 2016 I am not trying to gaze into a crystal ball. Far from it. My eyes are instead firmly focused on empirical evidence of the immediate past. And never losing sight of that evidence, I am trying to see what trends may emerge in the immediate future, based on customer needs.

For me, the most gratifying facet of the development of background verification space is that increasingly corporations, big and small, are realizing the risk to their reputation because of shaky hiring and on-boarding processes. It has been a long and difficult haul but no longer are we grappling with existential reasons; the linkage between background screening and corporate reputation, therefore with sustained profitability, has been clearly established.

The emergence of startup operations on the back of macroeconomic stability means the need for background verification is mounting rapidly. Moreover, we in this industry find ourselves in a happy situation where we find background checks going beyond the obvious, and very perfunctory, checks. Now our customers are demanding newer, more technology-driven screening solutions.

So, without further ado, let me get down to the task of spotting trends in 2016. There are 7 of them:

On-demand economy

The need for speed is going to propel the background screening business ahead. In the on-demand economy, instant solutions would be required without compromising on thoroughness of the checks. The business will also go beyond screening employees to include business partners, delivery staff and even house guests. Technology will enable all those checks to take place in a timely, efficient manner.

Technology, the driving force

It is technology that will drive the background screening business leveraging multiple sources and techniques to provide immediate and reliable solutions. It will bring down turnaround times considerably, apart from eventually bringing costs down as well. An automated data repository will also eliminate the risk of losing information, or of it being misused.

Instant verification

The universe of people who need to be verified is constantly growing, and growing exponentially. Businesses are loath to wait for these screenings to take place and reports generated; they want the reports here and now. And it is technology which will help us deal with the requirements of things needed pronto.

Information security

In the emerging global economy, as background screeners expand their businesses and get into more collaborative efforts, information security will assume greater importance. This will be an area of special focus for the industry with solutions sought for tightening of controls and secure sharing of data across platforms.

Know the law

Even as background screeners deal with the need for speed, it is imperative that they keep themselves abreast with global laws and lawful processes. Companies that focus on beefing up their knowledge of matters of law will find themselves better able to serve clients across disparate geographies as with experience and stronger need for compliances, customers are today far more wary and aware of legalism.

Global tracking

With mobility on the rise, clients will look towards background screeners to give them foolproof global background checks. Sectors like financial services, IT and even small and medium enterprises will greatly benefit from the ability of verification companies to deliver robust global tracking solutions.


Repositories of critical data are the future of the screening process. With technology advancement and need for instant results, repositories are the solution.

That’s it then. 7 trends for the background screening industry. The businesses that come out on top will have a superior capacity for innovation and constant reinvention, and will be agile enough to quickly capitalize on emerging opportunities.

This Blog was also featured in Business World.