When the Managing director of a small technology company, started looking at candidates to fill a key position in their company, the process was predictable and smooth, shortlist resumes, interview candidates and make an offer to the one they zero in on. That is, till the Organisation chanced upon the candidate’s Orkut profile. It turned out that he happened to be a close friend of their biggest competitor.
Often employers don’t take the time to check the candidates out. There are companies now that specialize in employee background checks and that despite the fact that one in six individuals have been found to fake some information on their resumes.
Hiring professional companies for background check is an option but even that comes at a price. So what option do smaller outfits have? Well fortunately, the internet has plenty of helpful information. In fact, the information on the web can also be used for background checks in personal life. For instance, one might want to look up information on his landlord or dig up facts on a potential suitor, one just needs to know where to look.
Start with search sites: The best place to start is on search engines like Google and Yahoo. Googling some ones name as it is more popularity called can bring up some really important details. Search using the individual’s names and their business names. If a person’s name is common, search will be more difficult. Try variations of the name and include an occupation or location. One can also look up for additional information from past employment history. For instance, the potential employer may uncover previous employers’ name and addresses. This will help the current employer in checking on potential hire’s ex co-employers which can throw up great perspectives.
Googling will also throw up personal criminal history if any. Because it will also rake up any news stories the person is mentioned in. Look for personal blogs too. Google offers a specialized search tool that works on blogs. Reading up a person’s blog musings can give a good perspective on their ethics, behavior and thought process.
Try social networking sites: many employers these days check on social net working sites such as Orkut or My Space to learn about potential hires. Here one can see what people have posted about the person on their website and how he / she have reacted. This should give a fair idea of their temperament and social skills. Professionals may not turn on MySpace, but they may use business networking sites. Linkedin.com and Ryze.com are two of the most popular sites in India. Try searching for the person’s name here and you will get a gist of his/her professional background and also names of professional relation. See what people claim about business affiliations, education and work history a potential employer may find inconsistencies here.
Alumni associations: Many colleges have groups and alumni websites. These are great places to check for the candidate’s education credentials. This is another area where people tend to fake on. Here you may be able to use the web to verify college degrees. Also visit the school’s alumni association. Many list their members and graduation dates. However, if people are not listed here, that doesn’t mean they lied. It could also be that they simply don’t belong to the alumni association. But if someone is listed, it directly proves that they graduated from the college. Also, college registrar offices normally will confirm degrees. But that takes a phone call.
Go for professional organization: Though the internet is a good place to start, if information is critical, one can turn to professional organizations like First Advantage. These companies have a thorough step-by-step process of background checking. That covers reference checking education, as well as credit check and criminal checks. Costs vary alone with the service, but the starting fee is about Rs 600 ($15) per person.