The Philippines’ first and only industry magazine that deals with safety and security matters pervading the environment today.

Background Check amid Talent Sourcing

War for talent rages on.

So goes the headline in the business page of a leading broadsheet’s recent issue. Contrary to popular belief and indicative statistics of unemployment rate, companies are currently competing for the right people.

Firms have explored various means and tapped several resources to identify and place on-board the so-called elusive talents. Speed has become vital in sourcing as the vast arena of the corporate jungles has been invaded by the headhunters constantly and keenly monitoring the trends in the global job market.

But do they engage the right people? Do talent recruiters exert more than enough efforts and deploy adequate tools to assess whether or not the candidate is fit for them or for their clients? Do they still carry out the usual reference checking?

A number of recruiters seemed to have focused their energies on ascertaining the accuracy of the entries and information in the resume. Others are more particular with criminal records and thus set the clearances issued by all law enforcement agencies and local government units as among the preemployment requirements.

While these approaches in background checking are important, they do not necessarily provide adequate and accurate information on the strengths and weaknesses of the character of the person.

For one, there remains the risk that the attitude of the individual may trigger adverse effects in the workplace, resulting in losses in terms of training and productivity.

Not Popular but Crucial

So, why have reference checks and validations of character information and feedback been neglected lately?

Because everyone seems to be preoccupied scampering for the elusive talents.

A talent recruiter, finding what he believes to be a prized catch, would like to close the deal ahead of the others at the shortest possible time. Unfortunately, he might skip reference checking because it is unrewarding, non-value-adding and time-consuming.

What is supposed to be one of the most basic recruiting and screening technique available is not as popular as it should be. This is especially true when faced with stringent measures such as sourcing turn-around time, recruitment cycle time, loss due to vacancy and other human resource (HR) performance metrics.

With the tremendous pressure for the company’s HR unit to hire people and avoid loss of time and opportunity, many in the recruitment profession are no longer tapping the reliable sources such as previous employers, supervisors and co-employees to ascertain the candidates’ suitability to the work environment.

Management really does not know who they are bringing in if no background check is conducted. This includes the verification with the references submitted by the candidate.

The HR professionals should be more particular with the candidates’ leadership and management style, communication and interpersonal skills, adaptability and reaction to adversity. Jobs and all other occupational positions will have different competencies, skills and other qualification requirements.

Deception on the Rise

Just because some applicants, who display impressive writing skills, state in their resumes that they have been successful in certain fields of endeavor does not mean that they are telling the truth. They may have gained the mastery of resume writing, professed knowledge of the work by using keywords and concepts related to the job, customized their resume to fit the company’s requirement, and presented to the recruiters the most remarkable ideas based on actual case studies from the internet. However, they may deliver actual successful results.

Job falsification has been out there since the time the great con artists gained their share of fame and wealth with impunity. Applying the law of supply and demand, the number of desperate job seekers falsifying their resumes and resorting to lies in job interviews will likely go up further with the labor market increasingly becoming competitive.

Well-acquainted with the procedures in the preliminary screening, they are pretty much confident that this knowledge will help them reach the interview stage.

One will be amazed at how the best liars in the world could assume deceptive behaviors. They are sweet talkers and can look the interviewer straight in the eye with the proper facial expressions and subdued emotions. Adept in convolution, they can talk their way through the interview process and make everything sound good, and without being too good for the interviewer to doubt.

Investigative Skills

Background and reference checking require some investigative skills. Feedback gathering is more of an art than anything else. Sometimes, the recruiters just have to deploy some psychological tactics like making a surprise call to the candidate by asking for character reference, or engaging a third party to conduct direct inquiries and background investigation.

Note that reference checking may not be impartial. Understandably, these are biased feedback. However, there are other disinterested sources willing to provide valid, unbiased, direct and reliable information: the boss of the boss, peers and colleagues, parking attendants, janitors, security personnel, to name a few.

These are some of the people who may also know how the candidates manage their emotions, deal with the average individual and carry themselves in accordance with corporate norms, especially when no one is looking. The art and the skill of the interviewer would emerge when trying to elicit the information not revealed by the candidate.

A long-time adage in employee selection is “hire for attitude, train for skills.” Since the attitude and character of the candidate prior to the onboard process could be determined by proven procedures, it is better to take the cost and effort of this undertaking upfront. For sure, management will find the value of the undertaking reasonable and worth it.

This is in contrast to the damage that might be incurred prior to the regretful “we- should-have-not-hired-him-had-we-known” remark. •




Putting premium on security service as a management function Servillano Jose “Jojo” Dunglao seriously thought of an alternative career even during his brief stint with the military.

Recalling those periods of twists and turns in his career after a few years at the Philippine Military Academy, Dunglao even took a course closely related to investigation, thinking that he might find a promising career in this field.

“Just when I was taking Criminology, there was a break given by an employer,” he says.

Hired by General Milling Corporation (GMC) in 1992, Dunglao patiently worked his way up the corporate ladder for nearly 13 years following assignments in different business units of the company.

Not surprisingly, confronting ticklish labor issues such as dealing with militant unions became part of his difficult task as a human resources development and administration director of GMC. “Actually, I came to love the job,” says Dunglao, a Certified Security Professional. He also received significant exposure in property and operations management.

An MBA degree holder from the Ateneo de Manila University, Dunglao later served as vice-president of manpower agency Peerless Integrated Services where he took overall supervision of the firm’s human resources, administration, service, finance, procurement, sales and marketing.

Currently working as a senior executive for ASEC Asia Inc., Dunglao has been continuously deriving important insights from handling, among others, the security concerns for the business process outsourcing (BPO) company.

Valuing Security

Recognizing security as a management function, Dunglao is constantly reminded to go beyond the traditional business paradigm of simply treating security as an expense in the financial statement.

The validity of this perception is confirmed during economically trying times. Because security is considered a non-revenue generating activity, it is usually among the first of the sacrificial items to be lined-up on the chopping board.

Giving Dignity

“It is imperative that the security professional finds ways on how he can add value and attain the strategic thrust of the company,” says Dunglao.

However, he does not say that this goal is easy to achieve because many employers continue to withhold from the security personnel the respect that should be rightfully extended to them.

Dunglao, for instance, wonders how a security guard could add value to his service when he is ordered by the owner of a food establishment to clean the tables after the customers had left.

Aligning with Global Practices

Sharing his experience in the supply chain segment of various industries, Dunglao is very much aware of the importance of aligning the security practices of locally based companies with those of the global and regional headquarters.

“The way I see it, the practices are really determined by global companies that maintain presence in the regions, especially if the companies work in the supply chain,” Dunglao says.

He explains that in a supply chain environment that adheres to international security standards, operations audit is always a crucial task because of the required countercheck system.

Security is Best Effort

There may be no unbreakable barrier to a determined perpetrator, but proper security management is still the means to make it difficult for the culprit to consummate the criminal act.

“Because of security measures, you delay the efforts of criminals so that the ancillary system can catch up with them,” says Dunglao.

But even if all preparations had been said and done, one should still learn to instinctively expect the worst-case scenario.

“There is no such thing as a 100-percent foul-proof security procedure. If it is designed by man, then man can also circumvent it,” stresses Dunglao.

Based on hard realities, his statement can be considered as more of a rule than an exception. — Artemio F. Cusi III

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