I started working in the employment screening industry in 2002 and I found it striking how difficult it was to find a good background checking company in key markets. But there is a need for one – I have realized again and again, that good screening systems have far-reaching implications.
Smart Background Screening means you really know who you are hiring and aren’t putting your business, or any of your existing employees at risk inadvertently - an important step to protecting your brand.
It’s not just about credit and criminal checks either. Reference checks offer value because they give you valuable data on who you are hiring and what their strengths and weaknesses might be, as well as insights for smoother onboarding and so on.
It is always amusing to be in social situations when you are asked what you do for a living. Explaining background checking and then some of the hilarious confessions that people have come out with is always fun.
Where do you get the information for your background checks?
We work with a variety of organizations that span government to industry. An example of this would be how our platform is directly integrated with the Document Verification Service (DVS) and Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system here in Australia. Additionally, our system also links to many national and international regulatory bodies and media properties.
How did you get your first three sign-ups?
The PASS platform does all the hard work in the background, allowing all screening to be carried out digitally and by fewer people. This speeds things up while maintaining full visibility for compliance purposes. The result is a smooth, comprehensive background screening process and fabulous new employee experience.
Most of the time businesses understand that they need to do some kind of background screening. But it’s always a pain. Either it’s outsourced to some consultant somewhere who takes ages to get back to you and it’s not transparent or it’s a very laborious manual process that adds to your mountain of paperwork.
Once you’ve demonstrated the power of the platform to people, they naturally want to use it.
Do you have any advice for someone just starting out?
People matter. Both in terms of who you get to join your team and in terms of how you treat them. The first thing you need to do is make sure you attract the right people through your brand, reputation, employer value proposition, candidate experience, etc. Once you’ve set them up for success by empowering them with the tools, tech and knowledge they need to do their jobs, step away and let them do what they do best.
Richard Branson said: “Train people well enough that they can leave. Treat them well enough that they don’t want to.” I stand by this: Your team can be your biggest asset.
Together with this, one of the most important characteristics – that you need as a business leader and also that you need in your team, is resilience.
Did you run any companies prior?
Refsure, it quickly grew into the largest background checking company in Australia, (c.80% market share) and the largest in terms of revenue across the Asia-Pacific region.
In 2006, Refsure Worldwide started receiving unsolicited offers from some of the major industry players in the US such as Kroll, and First Advantage. We sold it to First Advantage. I stayed on for a short period of time before acquiring a UK based company called AIM (Alternative Investigation Management), a private investigations firm in the UK.
We quickly opened offices in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia and built it into a global business. AIM Screening Group grew into the second largest background screening company across the Asia-Pacific region (First Advantage maintained their market leading position). We then sold off that business too.
PASS Technology Group was founded in the UK and we’ve just launched our SaaS product in the Australian market.
How does PASS add value?
We are fundamentally changing the way that organizations manage their employee screening programs. We are helping build safer and better working environments and communities. By embracing technology wholeheartedly, we build software which will work for people and not the other way around. The overarching goal aligns with making people’s lives easier, simpler and better.
What motivates you when things go wrong? What is the end goal?
I always revert back to my core values, one of which is adding value. So when things get challenging, I remind myself that we’re building safer communities and putting people first - all of which adds value to people, communities and countries as a whole.
This goal is something myself and the PASS team will continue to work towards - as it’s a long term goal against which all of our collective decisions are benchmarked.
In addition to being driven to add value, both as a leader and as an organization, I also place significance in working with a great team. Knowing that we are all motivated by the same thing and working toward the same goal makes a world of difference - particularly when things get challenging.
What has driven the most sales?
Word of mouth is always a powerful driver of sales. Once people experience the PASS platform, they become brand ambassadors and their testimony drives interest among their peers (on all channels).
What apps do you use that your business could not run without?
- BBC News App
Collaboration allows everyone to be on the same page. Anytime. Anywhere. It forms the backbone of any organization.
What are the next products you’re working on?
We’re continuously adapting our product offering and features to pre-empt market needs and be at the forefront of background screening. This includes launching the product suite in new markets too. While always ensuring that we put people at the centre of everything we do.
Where do you see the company in 5 years?
We’ll continue focusing on our mission of adding value to our users, our customers and the community at large. This will fundamentally change the industry and the way we do business as usual. This approach will also help us to maximize the value we offer our investors and drive growth.