HireRight makes the case for screening in aviation

Stakeholder relationships, reputation, security and finances make aviation ripe for employment screening, says Steve Girdler

Steve Girdler had never been screened until he joined HireRight. “Until then I only ever had to provide a reference,” says the EMEA managing director of US-based screening and employee due diligence firm.

“Let’s be honest, no one likes to be screened,” says Girdler. But the practice is a reality employees and companies are quickly coming to grips with. Since the day Girdler stepped through the doors of the company, a company’s finances, stakeholder relationships, and even security have come to be at stake during the hiring process.

Employee screening has become an essential safeguard in protecting those interests when recruiting talent, says Girdler. “What drives screening are industries that are high risk and highly regulated. You want the right professional when you’re flying millions of people around the world. You want to make sure pilots, security personnel, and even those who are handling baggage are who they say they are,” he says.

In the current aviation environment, where the credibility of security processes is coming under increasing scrutiny by government authorities, HireRight’s business proposition is starting to seem like a vital aspect of standardising risk management. Based out of the US, the company has been providing detail verification and talent screening services for over 30 years and is now targeting aviation companies in the Middle East, out of its new offices in Dubai.

Screening might still be relatively new in the Middle East but Girdler sees the rapidly growing industry as particularly lucrative avenue for growth. The regional industry hasn’t suffered with incidents that the US has but there is growing recognition for consistency, “especially when you’re now playing in a global market,” he says.

“The airlines in the Middle East right now are some of the biggest and the best in the world, and they want to make sure that they’ve done everything that they can do to safeguard their customers, their stakeholders, even their brand.”

HireRight has screened 13 million employees across the world, with aviation accounting for up to five percent. “It might seem small, but a lot of our business is based out of the US, and virtually every company there performs screening,” says Girdler. More interestingly, the company's latest benchmark survey found 85 percent of employers worldwide have discovered discrepancies in what employees claim and what the screening process uncovers.

With personnel on the ground, HireRight’s services are perfectly geared to the verification of a large expat workforce in the Middle East. “We have people on the ground, in nearly every country, who can make sure a university exists, or that an employee has worked at a place for the duration they claim,” says Girdler.

Typical checks HireRight performs include educational checks, professional qualifications relevant to the industry, and employment history. “Where we come into the recruitment process is right at the end, to perform the last check to make sure everything they’ve said is correct.”

HireRight offers tiers of screening depending on the requirements of a company. “We can recommend similar companies in the industry and the typical screening service they call for, and then the company decides the risk profile of the role they are recruiting for and the level of screening that is appropriate.”

The benefits to security checks are multiple, says Girdler. “You need to make sure the person is professionally qualified to perform the job. And given the cost of hiring an employee, and firing them if they can’t perform, a screening check helps add credibility to the whole process.

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