Employees are a link between the organisation and customers and they are also the ambassadors of the organisation to the outside world. There are challenges that an organisation faces when recruiting staff that will competently attract, serve and retain current and potential customers of an organisation. The challenges will include the following;
- Interview may be based on either fabricated or incomplete curriculum vitae.
- There is a tendency of candidates being coached to pass interviews
- The risk of recruiting staff with forged certificates and identity cards
- The possibility of candidates being favoured by the interview panel
- The interview process may not indicate the moral or ethical record of candidates.
- Recruitment process being based on technical know who
- The possibility of interviewing candidates that were not transparently shortlisted.
The quality of staff is therefore compromised if the right procedures for recruitment are not strictly adhered to. I found the traditional shortlisting of staff followed by written and face to face interview do not guarantee the recruitment of quality and morally upright staff. Wrong staff that cannot deliver on the mission of the organisation end up being recruited.
To mitigate against some of the above challenges, I highly recommend for a pre-employment vetting exercise to be carried on the selected staff for employment before the employment letters are issued. In practice I have found most organisations having a lot of trust in the traditional recruitment process and very reluctant to conduct a full pre-employment vetting. To many employers getting references from former employers is more than adequate. My only disappointment in life is I have never come across a reference from former employers giving exact reasons for the employee leaving the organisation especially in situations where the employees are forced to leave as a result of fraudulent activities. All do not want to volunteer information for fear of legal action! The references are vaguely written with no value in them. I remember calling one employer who had highly recommended one of the candidates with a suggestion to re-employ the candidate as he was too good to leave. I was given a big no without any explanations with a lot of information which I would never know unless I called them. In my view pre-employment vetting to a large extent prevents candidates tainted with unethical behaviour from being recruited.
The employment vetting will include the following aspects among others;
- Background checks
This involves establishing the background of candidate including the schools attended and results obtained. This is mainly a walk through a candidate’s life history while highlighting unethical tendencies from age the candidate started understanding to the current date. In my view the age of understanding is that age when candidate could be sentenced to a jail sentence in juvenile correction centre.
- Identity verifications
There are many cases where candidates have been found with forged passports and other identity cards. It is therefore necessary to go back to the issuing authority for validation.
- Academic certificate verifications
As the world is becoming a global village some candidates produce to the interview panel academic and professional certificates from foreign institutions. I have come across certificates written in foreign languages without any interpretation being presented to me for verification. I will advise that you send the foreign certificates written in foreign languages to a competent organisation for translation. You have to confirm the existence of the issuing institutions through various reference checks organisations including foreign missions
References from former employers.
There is a lot of information about the potential employee you can get from the former employers if you professionally approach them. The information will include the time of employment, the position held, salaries earned and the reason for living. Investigate any gaps in employment as gaps are often red flags for possible immoral behaviour which made the candidate to remain out of employment. The gap may relate to the time the employee was in prison serving a sentence for committed crimes.
- Police and courts of law
It is always a must for the organisation to verify with police and courts of law of whether the candidate has ever been arrested for suspected crimes. This becomes more cumbersome if the candidate has travelled and lived in a number of countries. Contacting The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) for assistance is often very useful.
- Credit reference bureaux
This aspect will give you an idea of whether the candidate is credit worthy and has continuously kept good ethical behaviour. This is so especially if the candidates will handle access to the assets and other resources of the organisations.
The traditional recruitment which includes shortlisting, written interview and face to face interview processes have got some challenges and limitations and may not always ensure the right candidates are recruited. There is therefore a need for pre-employment vetting to confirm information already obtained and also point out other aspects of the candidate which were not disclosed by the interview process. In life I have come across extremely one or two candidates that voluntarily disclosed aspects of their life that were at variance with good moral behaviour. That means majority hide anything tending to immoral behaviour during the course of their life.
John Muhaise Bikalemesa
Director: Big Drum Advisory Services Limited