Recent Trends in Human Resource Management

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

TRACKING IS BELIEVING

How sure are you about a new recruit’s work capabilities? Quite sure, did you say? After all, one picks a candidate after many rounds of written tests, interviews and a third-party background check.
But these are not foolproof aids to determine the candidate’s credibility, says Ken Georgie Mathew.

An HR manager for 10 years, Mathew was in charge of recruitments for an IT major. “I found there was no way to evaluate a person’s background, including his work experience. After a point, you can only trust a candidate’s word and your judgement,” he says

Mathew has since been working on a way to make data verification a foolproof process. About 18 months ago, he filed a patent with the Indian Patents Office for his data verification tool called Authentic Track Record (ATR). Currently in the ‘pre-grant’ stage, the patent application has not received any objection. He spoke to eWorld on the invention and its applications.

What is the authentic track record (ATR)?

It is software that works online and can be integrated with the existing HR or other databases across organisations. It will facilitate data verification and can be used by individuals/organisations for maintaining a clean background record. Currently the beta version of the software is available for use at www.authentictrackrecord.com.

How does it work and what will an ATR contain?

Let me explain with an example. Your organisation asks you to get an ATR and e-mails you the link of my Web site. Once you enter the site, there is a list of data that your organisation wants you to authenticate — such as name, address, qualification, previous work experience, etc. These fields can vary, depending on how stringent a company’s HR policy is and to what depths they want authentication.

To authenticate your date of birth, you enter some details in a customised link on my Web site and send an e-mail to the municipality of the city you were born in. The officer in charge receives this e-mail and looks through his database. If the information you have sent is false, he shall click on the ‘reject’ option in the e-mail, specifying the reason for not authenticating your data. You can then correct the data and re-send it for authentication.

If the data is true, the officer will choose the ‘approve’ option and the e-mail automatically updates your ATR.

Now if you were to get a physical copy of your birth certificate it would take much time, money and effort. But responding to the ATR e-mail takes only 30 seconds.

This process is replicated for all other information one needs to authenticate.

To authenticate one’s work experience, one can list the projects one has worked on and send an authentication request to one’s manager.

Is that not uncomfortable for the employee? Usually we tend to highlight our achievements in our resume and authenticating that may make people uncomfortable.

No, it need not be. A resume contains one’s background data plus what one thinks one’s skills/achievements are. An ATR contains only verified data/facts such as one’s name, address, graduation details and the certifications he claims to have.

Now, you may claim your communication skills are excellent. That can be easily verified in an interview.

However, I cannot verify your claim of having a SAP certification by merely looking at your certificate. This is what the ATR verifies and not subjective information such as soft skills.
One can have five versions of a resume depending on which kind of job profile one wants. But only one ATR can exist for every individual.

Can an ATR be applied beyond a corporate perspective?

Yes. I can use it to track my child’s performance from kindergarten to post-graduation. If I initiate an ATR to verify her skills in LKG, I will get feedback from her LKG teachers on her strong/weak points. Teachers who handle her in UKG can see this data and ascertain in which areas of the curriculum she needs extra attention.

For governments, this can be used as a tool for tracing criminals. If a man has committed a crime in Delhi and runs away to Chennai seeking a job there, the organisation will ask the local police station for his background check.

But they have no information, as he is new to Chennai. In other words, he has a clean record and hence gets hired.

But when his ATR number is available, the police station can see his former employment details. Any gaps in the ATR will indicate suspicious behaviour that they can check for.

This is somewhat like a social security number used in the US. Do you think it is possible to commercialise an idea like ATR in India?

Yes, though it may be difficult, given our computer penetration rate. At this point in time, I have a business model where I will own the Web site and issue ATR numbers to users.

I will own servers that contain the ATR information, including e-mails sent between users and their points of contact. Organisations can hold a franchisee to access my Web site and seek to design company-specific ATRs.

The National Innovation Foundation, which works with IIM-Ahmedabad, has read my patent application and may be willing to help me incubate this project.

1 comment:

Terre Dean said...

Thanks for making me understand the significance of ATR. Really great blog post.

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