Gauteng Business News

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Business: No Place to Hide for Job Applicants with Criminal Records


Recent Gauteng Business News

More than 20% of all job applicants have criminal records ranging from murder, rape and armed robbery to petty crime and white collar fraud.

Vhonani Mufamadi, CEO of Alt-X listed company Ideco Group Limited, said criminal record percentages had steadily been rising over the past several years but had spiked over the past 18 months, as has awareness of these trends– in large measure due to the more effective criminal record checks that background screening companies were able to do thanks to Ideco’s direct link to the SAPS Finger Print Identification System (AFIS) known as AFISwitch.

Mufamadi, whose company is also a shareholder of South Africa’s largest background screening company, Kroll, said the present system guaranteed a “hit or no hit” result – that is whether an applicant had a criminal record or not – within 48 hours compared to the several weeks that it took the police in the past to find the fingerprints manually.

Kroll CEO, Ina van der Merwe, said their alliance with Ideco had given them an edge in weeding out rotten apples in the workplace.

“Working in consort with our own background screening software known as Smart Screen, an employment agency can submit a request to simultaneously check whether the applicant has a criminal record as well as checking the authenticity of his ID, driver’s licence, matric and university qualifications as well as diplomas and post graduate certificates.

Mufamadi said the criminal records hit rate of 20% plus was among the highest in the world. Since the downward slide of the South African economy many more white collar crimes are expected to happen and employers are well advised to use the system to detect risk in their businesses.

Van der Merwe said that although it took a bit of time for the employer to receive full details of the crime committed, the “hit or no-hit” facility is capable of producing a result within one to two days, letting employers know quickly if the candidate had a record or not.

“A company might well decide to appoint someone with a petty crime on his record to a position of limited responsibility while it would be unthinkable to employ an applicant with a conviction for fraud in the company’s financial department.”

She said the cost of the criminal records check was very reasonable and could save a lot of unnecessary problems later when they were being ripped off by a fraudster who had not been tested for prior convictions, Van der Merwe said.

With corporate fraud and theft levels running at all time record levels, determining whether a candidate had a criminal past has become not just an option but an essential part of the background screening process.

Van der Merwe said at least 18 percent of all credentials tendered at present were questionable or outright bogus.

This includes degrees and diplomas as well as IDs, drivers’ licences and passports.

“One of the reasons why so many employees still get away with false documents and criminal records is because many employers simply don’t take the trouble to verify these credentials.”

The Ideco Group is a listed South African company that develops biometric Identity Management solutions.

The company provides fully customised unique identity management solutions, using world-leading biometric technology.

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