Lessons in hiring from the Oscar-winning movie Parasite

Lessons in hiring from the Oscar-winning movie Parasite

Caution: Plot Spoilers Ahead

“I’m deadly serious. This chain of recommendations is the best.”

When Choi Yeon-gyo, a major character in the movie, makes this statement in reference to four new employees she has hired, she has no idea of what’s to come.

Parasite, the South Korean, dark comedy thriller has set many records, in addition to winning the best picture at the 92nd Academy Awards. Based on class divide and inequality, the film drives home some hard-hitting messages that will resonate across the world.

But when AuthBridge’s team watched the movie, we couldn’t help but derive our own lessons, given what we do.

The Premise

The story centres around two families– the Kims and the Parks whose worlds are totally apart. The Kims are struggling to make ends meet – living in a basement, relying on temporary jobs, stolen Wi-Fi and free extermination. The Parks live in a mansion, drive imported cars and host extravagant parties. It’s impossible to imagine their worlds coinciding till they do. Determined to rise above their circumstances and to grab any opportunity coming their way, the Kims enter the world of the Park family at the back of long chain of frauds that are every employer’s worst nightmare.

Lesson 1:Understanding the intricate relationship between trust and fraud

The movie Parasite subtly deals with the impact of circumstances on motivations, morality and ethics. Now, it is a fictional movie with a message and the plot is meant to serve that message but the actions that both the families take during the movie find resonance in the real world too. While the Parks fail to build a strong basis for trusting their employees by only relying on references, the Kims seem to be ready to take any means (lies, fraud, forgery, manipulation and later violence) to climb up the ladder.

Interestingly, the movie’s plot resonates with a theory called ‘Fraud Triangle’ coined by American sociologist and criminologist Donal R. Cressey. The theory postulates three factors that facilitate fraud by employees at a workplace. These are financial or personal pressure, the perfect opportunity to commit fraud and the rationalisation of the fraud.

In the movie, we know that the Kim family is barely managing to stay afloat. Their financial pressures are such that they fold pizza boxes for a living and celebrate the reconnection of their phones to neighbour’s Wi-Fi. But that doesn’t stop the family from aiming for more. “Wow, does Seoul University have a major in document forgery? Ki-jeong would be top of her class.” This statement by Ki-taek, the father of the Kim family, made in reference to his daughter reveals that though the family is economically underprivileged, it has skills and will to go to any lengths to rise above its circumstances. All they need is an opportunity.

The perfect opportunity comes their way when Min-hyuk, a friend of Ki-woo (the son of the Kim family) asks Ki-Woo to replace him as an English tutor for the wealthy Park family’s daughter, Da-hye. Once the Kim family has their foot inside the door with Ki-Woo, they exploit the gullible nature of the wife and busy/absent husband to win the trust of the Park family. Each one of them recommends the other till all four members of the family are employed by the Parks. Behind their respective hiring are also elaborate conspiracies to oust the former housekeeper and driver of the Parks.

Even as the Kim family gathers to enjoy the luxuries of the Park family’s house in their absence, they do not feel guilty. In their head they have rationalised the fraud even as they accept that the Park family has been nice to them.

Ki-taek: She’s rich, but still nice.

Chung-sook: Not “rich, but still nice.

” She’s nice because she’s rich. Hell, if I had all this money. I’d be nice, too!


Lesson 2: Mitigating risks related to employee fraud starts at hiring

Parasite makes it easy to understand the true nature of employee frauds while also establishing that the onus of facilitating a trusting and fraud-free environment always rests with the employer. The Park family blindly relies on the chain of referrals and never once stops to conduct background check of their employees before hiring them. The repercussions of this ignorance are felt deeply by both families by the time movie ends.

As employers, it is important to be aware that situations and circumstances of employees can change any time. While you can’t have any control over personal pressures and moral ethics of employees that will allow for rationalisation of frauds, you can always prevent giving that perfect opportunity through robust screening at hiring and repetitive authentication long after employees have been hired. It’s often that cinema mimics life. As employers, it is crucial to keep an eye for risks to protect your interest as well as interests of your employees. And the process starts right at hiring.

Leadership Due Diligence is a Long-Term Investment

Leadership Due Diligence is a Long-Term Investment

The role of any leader in the top management of a company is one of the most important within the organisation. After all, leadership is the cornerstone for team motivation, setting business objectives, creating compliances as well as driving organisational culture. Every company faces the quest for growth, expansion and impact, and a major portion of the success of this imperative quest relies on the leadership.

Importance of leadership due diligence for business success

The success of any business greatly depends on the kind of people who perform the most important tasks. This is why a thorough leadership background verification is so important. Especially in the industry of today, where competition is getting fiercer by the day, the need for a competent set of leaders is greater than ever. An exhaustive leadership screening is required to meet this need. Hiring for executive positions is among the most important decisions made by any organisation. Much of its success is so dependent on this choice that many often say an organisation lives and dies based on its ability to hire the right leaders. Regardless of which industry your company belongs to, recruiting an effective and efficient leader can result in a dramatic increase in the overall productivity, increase morale among employees at every level and greatly increase your company’s competitive advantage overall. Not only is business success a direct function of leadership hire quality, organisations also put a sizeable investment in their pay package and fees paid to recruitment consultants. This is exactly why leadership due diligence is such a crucial process.

As per the U.S. Department of Labour, a bad hire will cost a company at least 30 percent of that employee’s earnings in the first year. If this is how much the cost of a bad hire is for regular employees, imagine how big of a loss it would be for a company if they hire the wrong person for a leadership position. To cater to this need, AuthBridge devised a dedicated leadership due diligence offering called AuthLead™.

Also Read: 3 Essential Steps for Leadership Screening


How is leadership screening different from traditional background verification?

Since the role of a leader is clearly more crucial than others, no organisation should simply rely on traditional background verification steps before onboarding people for such positions. Leadership due diligence should be much more comprehensive and detailed. Here is how:

  • Only rely on self-researched primary references for leadership due diligence

For any position, especially for leadership positions, references are important. Even if an applicant provides impressive references, don’t just accept them without verification first. Do your own research to make sure that the references are trustworthy.  This goes a long way in validating the prospective hire’s character/reputation and attitude in general. A culture fit with the right set of values is indispensable while making senior level hires

  • A thorough executive screening through competency mapping

Every exhaustive leadership screening should include competency mapping. In simple words, competency mapping refers to a process where the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses are identified and assessed. This is essential even for executive positions. Competency mapping is so important in leadership due diligence because it is easy to put industry experience ahead of a candidate’s innate traits and abilities, and assessing the candidate’s qualities by accurately identifying strengths and weaknesses can make sure you do not make this mistake.

  • Leadership due diligence must involve career tracking

A comprehensive leadership due diligence must involve career track – how the candidate has grown or developed his/her career through the years. In other words, identify the various positions (both vertical and lateral/cross-functional growth) the candidate has held in chronological order till date. Apart from allowing you to understand just how qualified, experienced and efficient the candidate is, this process also throws light on the kind of reputation they have in the industry.

In all, leaders are pivots to an organisations success and associated with a higher level of risk. Hence, organisations need to pay more attention to leadership due diligence with a focused approach to the same.

Understanding politically exposed person PEP and risks they bring to businesses

Understanding politically exposed person (PEP) and risks they bring to businesses

You may have often heard that PEPs qualify for exclusive identification and verification, be it at financial institutions or corporates. Usually happening in the form of leadership screening in corporates, their verification is important as they are capable of wielding direct/indirect influence over organisations they are associated with due to their connections to positions of power. While not all PEPs are corrupt, the wrongful influence of one corrupt PEP can spell financial and/or reputational disaster for an organisation, making it important to verify them before offering them a position aboard your company.


Who are Politically Exposed Persons exactly?

Before discussing ways to minimize risks that PEPs or Politically Exposed Persons bring to institutions and workplaces, it is important to understand who Politically Exposed Persons are. PEPs in the broader sense refer to individuals or leaders who play an active political role or assume critical public responsibilities. The definition expands to cover relatives, close friends and network of other close connections of an important public or political figure. Depending on power structures in a country, a PEP could be a leadership official or their connection in the executive, legislative, administrative, military, or judicial branch of a country, a diplomat, influential businessmen impacting a country’s economy or their immediate or close family and friends.


Who are politically exposed person in India and what risks do they bring to businesses?

In India, power remains largely concentrated to the political elite, which is why, Executive bodies, Legislative bodies, security forces, executive forces, judicial bodies, relatives of politicians and bureaucrats are considered important PEPs along with joint business owners and close business aides of politicians. Measuring their influence against high levels of corruption in India (Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2019 put India at 80th position out of 175 countries) is enough to see why PEPs in India qualify for higher due diligence by organisations they are associated with. High profile scandals like fraud at a state-owned bank and at a cooperative bank further hint towards the need for detailed and recurring screening of PEPs who might be trusted to take important decisions related to business.


Politically exposed person (PEP) in BFSI vs PEPs in DNFBPs and other corporates

Screening for PEPs in the financial sector is usually performed at the beginning of the account opening through standard due diligence and PEP KYC processes and must be repeated at regular intervals as part of ongoing due diligence. Taking a cue from this practice, DNFBPs where threat of money laundering looms as well as other corporates where misappropriation and misuse of assets and resources, embezzlement of funds and other frauds can happen must adopt their own robust PEP screening practices. It is important to deploy techniques of verification that take in consideration the fact that a corrupt PEP might hide his/her identity, history or influence using complex corporate mediums through layering and integration and hence become difficult to assess at the time of employment. Even after a PEP is identified and clears initial authentication, there’s a need to keep an eye on them through continuous monitoring as a common adage warns “Once a PEP, always a PEP”.


AuthBridge’s politically exposed person (PEP) screening solution

Our PEP screening solution or PEP Check assumes that a PEP doesn’t lose influence even after they no longer hold the position of influence. Due to informal relationship of PEPs with each other in India, it becomes significant to identify them while hiring and making an aware decision while onboarding as trying to fire them after they have been employed could get very tricky.

Our leadership screening solution – AuthLead™ – is just the right tool for the identification of a PEP, and investigation into their history, finances and shareholding pattern, public reputation etc. Our database check under AuthLead ™ looks for a match against criminal and regulatory databases, PEP checklist, web searches, and negative news to ensure that the PEP you are dealing with has the least risk exposure. Global regulatory and criminal databases can help to identify any existing litigation against the individual. Highly advanced AI engines go through a plethora of records available on the web to do adverse web media checks. We perform Independent reference checks for qualitative insights about candidates’ past performance and reputation. Our expert team can help to do a detailed analysis of the candidate’s professional account through intense secondary research.

With the list of PEPs around the world growing every day – individuals moving into new roles, and becoming part of new families – it becomes crucial to be aware of these changes. Taking the help of an expert who knows the nitty gritty of compliance and has the best resources available to identify PEPs becomes the need of the hour.

How OCR technology has simplified national ID verification

How OCR technology has simplified national ID verification?

In modern times, an identity check involves digitally verifying a candidate’s Name, Date of Birth, Address, Nationality etc. This involves the support of multiple technologies in order to counter fraud, comply with regulations and reduce manual effort involved in physical verification. Involving technologies like Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Image rectification, blurriness detection etc allows complete automation of identity verification making it instantaneous, reliable and time efficient.

How OCR work for ID Verification?

To improve the process of identity verification the manual job of feeding the data to any system needs to be automated. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technogy involves converting all the information on any ID into text which can then be used for input and information validation. Here the ID document is first photo scanned, analysed, and is finally translated into character codes. This machine-encoded text can then be used to validate the information against a genuine verification source. This helps in the verification of the National IDs containing numbers, addresses, names, and various other parameters almost instantly.


Benefits of using OCR technology for National ID Verification

  • Time Efficient: Through automated data capturing and automated document classification, OCR eliminates the need for manually entering details on every form or HR Portal. This makes the process of employee identity verification faster
  • Cost Efficient: OCR reduces the need for manual labour in data entry, document sorting and filing, saving costs of labour as well as raw material needed for physical verification
  • Higher Accuracy and Improved Service: By reducing human intervention, OCR also reduces the chances of manual errors. This in turn ensures that employees have access to accurate and reliable information, whenever needed.
  • Storage Space and Data Security: The data inputted via OCR can be stored on servers which reduces the cost of maintaining physical files. More importantly, it enables enhanced data security of the private information of candidates as the access to information is controlled with only need-to-know basis.


How AuthBridge add value to your employee identity verification process?

The benefit of partnering with AuthBridge for OCR validation and verification is that our OCR combines AI, ML and even human review to address shortcomings that might come with a standalone OCR solution. Trained for image detection, flagging image blurriness and image tampering, our solution ensures accurate representation of a candidate’s personal details. Our OCR solution can also identify different types of IDs and their subtypes used globally irrespective of difference in format, shape, size, orientation etc. to input correct details and generate accurate and reliable results.

Also read: Simplifying KYC for a digital India.

To know more about our OCR solution, write to us at communication@authbridge.com

Why sharing Economies need powerful background checks_

Why sharing Economies need powerful background checks?

The sharing economy is increasingly disrupting the business landscape. A PwC survey [1] estimates the global sharing economy market to increase to around 335 billion dollars by 2025. With immense growth potential and numerous successful business models already setting examples, the sharing economy is all set to revolutionise our lives. However, businesses in the sharing economy do not operate in a traditional format. They rely on faster processes and instant decision making.

While boarding a cab booked using an on-demand service provider, the driver and the customer, both trust each other’s company to be safe and reliable. You would not want to board a cab driven by a criminal, isn’t it? The trust factor here is implicit. Similarly, when you order a pizza or a new device from an ecommerce platform, you trust the delivery boy visiting your home/office.

What we mean to say here is that the foundation of the shared economy is based on Trust and Integrity established between the interacting entities. With mushrooming sharing economy, the employment base is also expanding as organisations hire employees across white collar and blue collar segments to meet their growth aspirations. This adds greater risk to the hiring process. More so, the risk is profound in sharing economy as your employees/partners directly interact with your customer, putting your customer at risk. This has direct impact on your brand reputation and company’s financials.

To ensure secure ecosystem and the right fit, it is imperative for companies in sharing economy to conduct powerful background screening on one and all.

For example, what if you book a cab and the driver of the cab you are about to board is not the driver who was supposed to be driving? Identity verification is just a starting point towards building a secure ecosystem. And this needs to be achieved in real time. There’s more to do with criminal checks, address checks and more.

Customer safety and company reputation are the top driving forces behind background verification. Background screening agencies like ours leverage advanced technology, authentic data, powerful analytics and robust processes to empower the future businesses of the trust based shared economy. As stakeholders of the sharing economy, one should insist on getting background checks conducted regularly to ensure a safe business ecosystem. Ref: [1] PwC Report To know more, schedule an appointment with our expert today.

Write to us at    communication@authbridge.com.

Instantaneous authentication for the sharing economy where speed and safety matter equally

Instantaneous authentication for the sharing economy where speed and safety matter equally

The growth of the sharing economy is imperative. It’s evident in numbers ($15 billion in 2014 to $335 billion projected for 2025*) (Source:Forbes) and in the growing belief in owning less and sharing more. Moreover, technology has gone mainstream to enable platforms that make sharing economy such a hit. It’ll be hard to jog your memory about the last time you had to dial another human to get you a cab or to deliver your food.

Let’s look at the growth figures of successful sharing economy platforms in India – Uber with 30% more revenue in 2019 and food delivery apps like Swiggy and Zomato with a 7% growth in installs last year.(Source:inc42 ) While the future looks promising, concerns around customer safety could prove to be a roadblock. A basic Google search on keywords ‘2019+cabs+crime+India’, validates this concern.

Factoring in surge in the incidents of crime committed by workforce in the sharing economy, a major pillar that supports this delicately evolving economy, it’s safe to conclude that the growth further hangs by a thread. The onus of finding trustworthiness of the person mediating between a customer and a business lies almost entirely on the latter and that is a tricky situation to be in.

The need to establish trust, quickly

Competitiveness in the sharing economy necessitates thoroughly vetting the staff (drivers, delivery boys, home improvement professionals, etc.) to prove assets and not liabilities. The primary step in this direction is hiring an efficient workforce with a clean background.The Annual Discrepancy Trend report by AuthBridge, however, shows that 3 out of every 100 candidates screened in the sharing economy had some criminal or civil case against them. This figure must raise red flags for all the players in the gig economy, who have the additional challenge of

1) onboarding their staff quickly to

2) keeping up the supply with the raising demand and

3) avoiding subjecting potential employees to friction and consequently losing them to competition.

The high attrition trend and the subsequent loss of opportunity isn’t helping anyone either. In the absence of a centralized body that can aid certification of skills, character and suitability for a job, like the Disclosure and Barring Service in the UK, the concerns of sharing economy businesses in India becomes more profound.

When customers interact with sharing economy brands, they expect these platforms would’ve done their job in mitigating risks that they are exposed to by allowing these service providers into their intimate spaces. While many sharing economy businesses are proficient in providing a robust platform – ease of booking/ordering, a peer review system, 24/7 customer support etc., they find it daunting or are ill-equipped to enable trust on two fundamental aspects – establishing identity and criminal background  of their workforce.


Making the most of the digital and technological revolution

It’s common knowledge that India is going through an unprecedented digital revolution riding on the back of technological advancements. Following the example of developed nations, the online availability of major databases such as civil litigation database, regulatory compliance database and criminal database is becoming a cornerstone in establishing trust between an employer and an employee here too.

The catch is that due to lack of awareness, most employees still don’t comprehend the extent to which verification has been simplified. It’s common for them to make uninformed, inefficient and often expensive choices in the pursuit of complying with the tightening scrutiny of the law and policy makers. The Delhi High Court, for instance, acted on a PIL by an NGO in August 2019 and sought response of the Delhi government and taxi aggregators with respect to adherence to the city taxi scheme of 2015. The plea referred to news reports of instances where safety and security of passengers, including women, have been put at risk by the conduct of the drivers of app-based cabs.


How AuthBridge Empowers Gig Economy Partners

Answering the fundamental questions about the identity and criminal history of the gig partners doesn’t have to be a time-consuming and hassling process. We, for one, are working towards bringing speed, accuracy and reliability to the hiring and onboarding process in the sharing economy. We understand this space and know the exact parameters needed to be authenticated for establishing trust in a gig employee. Our customized solution –Blue Collar Screening Solution– puts all verification essentials for a blue-collar employee in a package to be taken off the shelf. With StaffAssure™, Instant Identity Verification of national IDs is possible in real-time whereas criminal history can be verified in just a few hours.

Our method of verification is highly tech-driven. The strength of our authentication solution lies in our proprietary database of negative records supported by technologies like AI, ML, and deep search algorithms. Further, one needs to only sign up on our end-to-end platform -iBridge™- to start bulk uploading cases or integrate compatible APIs to their systems.

In the times, where consumers have come to expect their cabs and facials booked in seconds and their food delivered in under 30 minutes, it is significant for businesses to be sure that they are riding on the back of a workforce that can deliver, and deliver without harm, intentional or unintentional. When it comes to the sharing economy, the famous Russian proverb ‘Trust, but verify’ really does translate to ‘Trust, verify and with speed.

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