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Candidate Care

Despite the dark days that we are currently experiencing in the economy, certain sectors continue to see great demand and competition for high quality people. Demographic changes to the workforce are becoming more and more pronounced as baby boomers reach retirement age and the war for talent rages on. But in these lean economic times, how do you differentiate your organization as an employer of choice when you can’t fall back on large compensation packages and perks to compete? Granted, most will agree that money isn’t everything, but it is often the first thing on the table.

Kate Moore, RPR
MQ Editor
The key is to start building the relationship with your candidates from the first point of contact. After all, you may need them more than they need you. Not only that, but the interview process is as much about them interviewing your organization as it is the other way around. This is the approach we have begun to take within my HR team and I have seen tremendous results in terms of our ability to compete with employers around the world for people with very specialized skill sets.

So, what do we mean by candidate care? For us, that means engaging in a dialogue about the organization and the position from the beginning. It means being respectful of the candidates time and schedule and being flexible when necessary. Often this means doing telephone interviews after hours or responding to emails from international candidates at odd hours. Laying out the recruitment process very specifically, step by step so that candidates know what to expect is also helpful, particularly for those who are coming from different time zones and/or different cultures. Including a tour of your organization is a great way to showcase yourself as an employer, but it is also an excellent way to see how the candidate interacts with prospective team members, to further gauge their competency through informal discussion about the facilities and the organization.

As the process moves farther along, being available to answer questions and engage in dialogue about the offer can further create a comfort zone for the candidate, as well as for you as a recruiter as you feel out what their expectations are. In short, as you make these connections with your candidate, verbally, in person and by email, you develop a level of trust, and they form an impression of your organization as one that is interested in them as an employee and as a person, and sometimes that is all it takes to make a difference.

Identity Theft

Unsuspecting victims of identity theft can face five-digit balance statements from credit cards they never knew they had; income tax statements showing thousands of tax dollars in arrears for revenue that they never earned; or even charges for second or third household mortgages that they never took out.

David Malamed
Grant Thornton
More and more employers have begun focusing on the security and safekeeping of data similar to that of assets, as the risk and susceptibility to data breaches have been steadily increasing. Data breach is the unintentional release of information either through error or malicious activity, whereas identity theft fraud occurs when the information is used to abuse other individuals’ credit lines, loans, mortgages, credit cards, and assets; or, the information may be used to gain new financial credit services and rack up debts using other peoples’ identities. Unfortunately, the workplace presents a great opportunity for identity thieves to gain access (internally or externally) to the personal data that they need to wreak havoc on your personal finances. This explains why identity theft is Canada’s fastest growing crime.

Criminals are motivated to commit identity theft fraud due to the lucrative return and the current anonymity of the crime. Today’s new fraudster is able to avoid breaking into your house or the local bank or shoplift from a department store - foregoing cameras, security guards with guns and confrontation, in exchange for a computer monitor. This seems to be a better lifestyle for today’s criminal. Technological gadgetry has allowed them to use a laptop computer to purchase goods online and incur debt in your name and even empty your bank account. They can do all that while sipping an espresso at the local internet café!
Nick LoRusso
(CA) Forensic
Grant Thornton

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre (“Phonebusters”) reported that 11,231 victims had their identities compromised in 2005, a 36% increase over 2002 figures. In 2006, Phonebusters reported identity theft complaints totaling over $16 million in losses.

What is really shocking is the criminal prosecution of these fraudsters is quite rare in Canada today. This is mainly due to the fraudsters’ anonymity and the fact that their crimes are not considered violent. Most of the companies that have been defrauded are understandably not eager to publicize the fact that they had a data breach and usually settle through insurance. However, the impact to the victim of identity theft is extremely significant, precisely because it is an abuse of their personal identity. Victims of identity theft rightly feel violated and angry, and they can expend a lot of time and money to put things right.

Identity theft is easy because we have made it easy for criminals. As employees we all have the ability to be custodians. Being a responsible “custodian” would reduce the fraudster’s ability to access personally identifiable information, whether your company deals directly (retail, online, service, etc.) or indirectly (police, census, etc.) with the public. To know if you are a responsible custodian of personally indentifiable information, ask yourself if you practice the following good measures:

  • Be careful of the kind of information you request and how long it is stored. Does your company have a policy in place?
  • How do you dispose of the documents and information you accumulate? Does anybody internally/externally check that this is actually being done?
  • Should you be asking for the information you do? It is illegal for Canadian merchants to request your Social Insurance Number as part of the sales process.
  • Have you notified your customers about potential “rogue emails” relating to your company? For example: Are your customers responding to requests for personal information or data updates from your company that you didn’t send?
  • Has your company had an “Attack and Penetration” test? Do you know if your firewalls, antivirus and backup software works? Do you even know if it is turned on?
  • Has your team been trained on identifying, preventing and dealing with data breaches and identity theft?

    Despite the high-tech nature of identity theft, remember that it’s simply another type of criminal activity that seeks easy opportunities wherever they can be found - just like automobile theft, break & enter or purse snatching. To reduce identity theft, companies and employees are being proactive through performing fraud risk assessments, fraud prevention, identification and reaction and response training.

    By David Malamed (CA.IFA, CPA (Illinois) CFE), a Forensic Accounting Partner and Nick LoRusso (CA) a Forensic Accounting Manager at Grant Thornton LLP. They can be reached at (416) 360-0100

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