Background screening has been an effective instrument in investigating the social status, business and investment claims, and lifestyles of people. The Managing Director, Background Check International, Mr. Kola Olugbodi in this interview with Mary Ekah, spoke on why background checks are of utmost importance

Why background check if I may ask?
The need for proper background screening cannot be overemphasised. This is because it has become imperative for corporate organisations to adopt a workable action plan to thoroughly evaluate and investigate claims by employees or business investors as the case may be. Background check is not limited to employees only but it also cuts across every strata of the society. The significant role of background check in eliminating fraudulent claims and false information needs to be highlighted and accorded its rightful place by all and sundry. When this is done appropriately, all hands should be on the deck to ensure that background screening is established as not only a culture but also a norm in every facet of our lives.

How then can we justify background check in the face of other issues corporate organisations and individuals?
Let us take it from the statement from Peter Drucker that chances are good that up to 66 per cent of your company’s decisions will prove to be mistakes in the first 12 months. This is indeed true as a result of several sharp practices being perpetrated by employees. It has also been found out that 10 per cent of most company’s workforce has criminal backgrounds or criminal tendencies. 70 per cent of all lost revenue is due to employees’ theft, internal fraud and collusion. Several job applicants also make false claims as 33 per cent job applicants falsify their records and credentials. Background check is therefore a risk averter, which is a potent tool to forestall negligent hiring and also safeguarding organisational assets. You can see from this that it is highly justifiable to give background check premium position in the scheme of things.

Does your organisation have link with other bodies around the world knowing fully well that the world is now a global village?
In the first place, it is important to note that Background Check International (BCI) pioneered the business and operation of background check in Nigeria. BCI came into being in 2005 therefore opening a new frontier in the issue of security both for corporate and individuals. Now to affiliation, let me stress that security operations have always been collaborative efforts because of the need for information sharing, peer review mechanism and exposure to developments in other climes. BCI really has extensive relationship beyond the shores of Nigeria all for the purpose of cutting edge delivery to clients as well as application of international best practices in our operations.

At the corporate level, BCI the first African member of the prestigious Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) based in the USA. And at the home front, we are member of the Nigeria Institute for Industrial Security (NIIS). Interestingly, I am the coordinator of the African Alliance group among background screening firms across Africa. Invariably, we are indeed living up to its vision to become Africa’s leading authority in background screening, due diligence and risk management matters. Background Check International has over the years raised the bar of transparency and integrity in corporate governance. We are positioned strategically to chart the way forward to stem fraudulent practices that hinder organisational growth.

How relevant are your offerings to the economic wellbeing or corporate organisations and individuals?
Let me say this first that any organisation whose mission has no value to add to the general economic wellbeing does not worth its existence. Having said this, BCI offerings are germane to the wellbeing across board – individual, corporate organisation and the country at large. Look at the enormity of fraud and corruption that the country has been battling with. Diligent background check of the characters before being saddled with the responsibilities that provided platform for them to go into corruption would have cut them off from getting those positions right from the word go. Our offerings at BCI are end product of research on the challenges confronting the nation and the society at large.

None of our offering is irrelevant therefore. Among others we offer quality service delivery in background checks of educational qualification, professional certification, criminal record check, risk assessment report and other areas. BCI has been able to expose corporate organisations to the dangers of employing staff without proper verification. Our goal at Background Check is to make Nigeria investment friendly for investors through our strategic offerings.

Can you enlighten the public on the need to curtail employment risks?
Let me shock you by saying that touts can inadvertently get employment into a reputed organisation if background check and screening is not deployed at that time employment is being given to individual. Anybody can claim anything in terms of qualifications and character when being interviewed by the employer. The onus is therefore on the organisation to conduct covert intelligent gathering to ascertain the veracity of such claims. Go double check at the institution such claimed to have attended; check within his neighbourhood his character and even possible check him out if he has criminal records or tendencies.

All of these are what background will deliver to any discerning employer or individual. And at BCI, the competent, skill, reach and contact are readily available. For instance, the prevailing child kidnapping by so called house helps would not have arisen in the first place if the house helps have had their background profiled and checked by a competent background check outfit. Some will claim they are coming to Nigeria for the first time, but whereas they have been around for long being a member of a cartel specialising in child kidnapping. With background check, you are immune from such a horrible experience, preserving the sanctity of your home.

For use at background check it should become a matter of policy for corporate organisations to not only audit new staff but also the old staff to forestall the incidence of theft among other misdemeanor. Corporate organisations should not be in haste to employ staff without conducting thorough background screening as such hasty decision exposes the tangible and intangible resources of the organisation to fraud and abuse. Background screening is very apt to eliminate fraud and other unethical behavior that are prevalent in corporate organisations.

What is negligent hiring?
It means employing with negligence attitude, employing on the assumption that all that the prospective employee said are true, without any conscious effort at double-checking claims. The case of negligent hiring is one that should be addressed without further delay. Negligent hiring in most cases turn out to be a sour point in the history of organisations as the staff so employment may cause the organisation a lot fortunes that they are not supposed to spend.

Negligent hiring may be interval or untowardly displayed negligence. Internal display negligence leads to work place violence when a staff may decide to assault a fellow worker which may lead to some injuries and of course the displeased staff may go to court and sue not only the staff as a culprit but also the company.

What is the place of background check in corporate governance?
Believe me corporate Nigeria will definitely have respite from frauds and corruption if background screening becomes an integral part of the corporate vision and business model. The task to minimise the chances of fraud and dishonesty traits in corporate governance also comes under the purview of background screening. Through this, individuals with fraudulent claims are checkmated from reaching the upper ladder in the management of companies.

Background screening is needed to restore pragmatic standards of integrity and decency in corporate governance. Background check is critical component of the business process and as a result, corporate organisations cannot afford to ignore its overall importance for continuous growth and existence in the business sphere. Background check should be the first line of security to guide against fraud and criminal occurrences in organisations.

How then do we entrench background check in Nigeria?
The foundation of such entrenchment is the need for dissemination of information about the overall importance of background check in Nigeria. A major emphasis is to create a lot of awareness and help Nigerians have in-depth knowledge about the operations of background screening. Everything is all about risk and this should be clearly understood by all and sundry.

Background check is all about risk management, fraud risk, safety risk, and relationship risk. What background check does is that before making decision there should be verification and clarification. The act of doing this saves you the risk of trusting blindly. The person to be employed must be verified in case he absconded from the previous employment before being employed in a new company.

It is important to know the background of every potential employee to eliminate the risk of employing a fraudster and criminal. It is important to probe the criminal record of the employees to save the company from having the same criminal occurrence. Do you know that even as a practitioner in background check I escaped being kidnapped before? It happened in the eastern part of Nigeria. But because of my awareness, courage and smartness I escaped. So people must to know that the risk is there and know what to do when the signal is received. I was able to escape through verification and background check of their purported multi-million-naira business waiting for me.

Background Check cuts access in every specimen in our society. For a private school to employ a teacher such should be verified whether he is sex offender in previous school. Even for the employment of drivers, domestic house helps etc. BC helps to know the true identity of the elements you are introducing to your private home. The truth is that most of the present social vices and security bottlenecks in the society can be reduced to the barest minimum with entrenchment of background check.