By: Dr. (Col) John Chenetra, President, SecUR Credentials May 02, 2018

Fintech, short for Financial-Technology, is an umbrella term used to describe the pursuits of companies to enhance accessibility, simplicity, convenience, and utility of financial services through technology, be it mobile banking services, investment applications, or cryptocurrency, to name a few. This industry as a whole has recently come into the public consciousness given the hype around Bitcoin and the Modi government’s drive for a ‘cashless India’ following the 2017 demonetization efforts; and as a result has grown exponentially.

According to NASSCOM, the overall fin-tech industry’s transnational value is expected to increase by a CAGR of 5% between 2016 and 2020. And with 1,218 such companies operating in the country today there is a tremendous opportunity at hand to transform the Indian economy for the better. A report by Ernst & Young recently concluded that India has the world’s second highest fin-tech adoption rate i.e. 59%, which is significantly higher than the global average of just 33%.

Given these circumstances, and the fact that the top talent of many other industries are flocking in droves to the sector, it becomes imperative to properly assess the quality of applicants being hired. Background checks have evolved considerably in the past few years. This has been, in part, due to the evolution of technology, but is primarily driven by employers who realize the risks of hiring dishonest resources, and are aware of the fact that simple screenings are no longer sufficient to deter a determined fraudster. This has resulted in 360 Degree background screenings where all major aspects of a potential employee are properly scrutinized to eliminate risk, often with the help of specialist organisations with the expertise and infrastructure to conduct them effectively. Here are five parameters that every background check must entail in order to effectively weed out undesirables-

Credit Scores
A Credit Score is an important indicator of a candidate’s fiscal responsibility. They help employers to effectively eliminate recruits who have the potential or inclination to cause trouble. The best course of action is to ensure that candidates with poor credit scores are kept at a distance as they are most likely to resort to illegal activities given the pressures of outstanding loan payments, EMIs, etc. This makes them ill-suited for a position of trust, especially in the financial sector.

Educational Credentials
India has a rich STEM (Sciences Technology Engineering and Medical) Talent pool of 2.4 Million people which includes 1.5 million engineering graduates and 300,000 masters in technology. However, in job applications many candidates have submitted resumes embellished with false academic credentials, incorrect or fake data, simply to make them look more impressive. Background verification eliminates this risk by verifying the information provided by the candidates with educational records from their respective universities. While this can be a time consuming process given the bureaucratic nature of many educational institutions, it’s a necessary step to take.

Criminal Record and Database
Possibly the most important thing for employers to look for is whether or not a candidate has a history of criminal behaviour. Many employers check existing databases to determine a potential employee’s involvement in criminal cases, judicial processes, and registered FIRs. To add to this, larger databases are analysed for news reports on cases involving fraud, drugs, and political sensitive issues which if conclusively proven, are certain to reduce the chances of the candidate securing employment.
This check also comes in handy when dealing with countries having stringent norms concerning international business deals and subsequent recruitment norms. For examples the US Law Sarbanes Oxley, heavily penalises companies for getting into business with black-listed organisations or people. This is a death knell for many a VC which is the lifeline of Fin-tech start-ups everywhere.

Psychographics are a means of ascertaining a person’s psychological attributes, including personality, values, interests, and opinions. Compiling a psychometric profile of candidates will enable recruiters to accurately determine, those who may prove to have values and character traits which are undesirable or incompatible with the company’s own goals.

A psychographic test is a simple multiple choice test where potential hires are presented with questions to which all the answers are subjective, their choice of answers are recorded and tabulated to determine their personality type.

Social Media Activity
With the onset of a blooming digital age, employers are now turning to social media to view, assess and verify a candidate’s ability and skill set. Social media allows them a bird’s eye view of the entire profile of the candidate that is displayed to the world at large. With this, employers are able to identify matters that require immediate attention as well as identify possible red flags that may surface during their employment with the company. Candidates are generally more transparent on social media and through this recruiters are able to check for issues like discrimination, illegal activities, and abusive behavior that may prove detrimental to the company.

The Fintech sector is occupied by some of the country’s best and brightest minds. It is our priority to ensure that that the industry as whole continues to deliver excellence and improve people’s lives while staying absolutely scandal-free.