HR 11 August 2015

How to stop CV fraud when recruiting

Nearly two-thirds of employment frauds committed in 2014 were due to candidates lying about qualifications and employment history
Nearly two-thirds of employment frauds committed in 2014 were due to candidates lying about qualifications and employment history

Today people like to share every detail of their lives online, social media is huge and therefore the amount of misinformation that appears on candidate CVs is extraordinary. From bumping up a poor degree to exaggerating about essential qualifications it appears that some individuals feel free to elaborate the facts.

The implications for small businesses of employing a fraudulent candidate can be significant – from the cost of recruiting another candidate to potential legal action. It’s important to combine a culture that values in-depth candidate checking with an effective and streamlined checking process to offer small firms a chance to demonstrate measurable additional value.

The UK’s fraud prevention service, Cifas, reported that 63 per cent of all the confirmed employment frauds in 2014, stemmed from individuals lying about their education, former employment or qualifications.

While most recruiters would accept the need to verify a candidate’s CV, checking often goes beyond simple verification of academic performance. And when you’re running a small business, time is of the essence, so checks such as criminal records, credit history and CRB status can go unlooked.

In the year of the candidate, when job-seekers can pick and choose between numerous roles, how many small businesses are coming under greater pressure to skimp on these vital checks in order to get the right person for the job as quickly as possible?

The issue is compounded by the fact that once an individual has any kind of employment track record, the temptation is to assume that the previous employer has undertaken the right checks.  As a result, the list of high profile individuals that have managed to carve decades-long careers despite a basic lack of credentials is extraordinary. For example in 2012, former Yahoo boss Scott Thompson falsely claimed to have a computer science degree and had to step down once the truth was uncovered. How many more have yet to be unmasked?

How can small businesses address this issue? A good place to start would be to hire a recruitment agency who can spend time sourcing candidates and running these checks. There will be a cost for someone else to do the work for you but at least then you can hold them accountable if something goes wrong further down the line.

Job applicants

However, if you are looking to find your own candidates directly, the least you can make are reference checks. These should not be taken at face value. The checks you carry out should be selective for the role you are looking to place a candidate in, for example, if you need a financial director, run a credit check.

While businesses should operate in an ethical manner and adhere to both the Employment Agencies Act and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations, a lack of licensing enables bad practice to persist, undermining the overall perception of recruitment value.

It is important to reinforce the message that there is more value in the provision of well vetted candidates than simply getting a prospective candidate in as fast as possible.  By creating a stronger value model through strong client education, the emphasis on every aspect of candidate quality – from personality to skills, experience to qualification – will increase.

The checking process also needs to be embedded within end to end recruitment activity. So rather than a simple yes or no check-box which provides too much temptation to shortcut for the on-deadline recruiter or small business owner, there needs to be a streamlined process for uploading checks to any internal CRM or database system, that anyone can see across the whole business.

Robust checking can add a couple of days to the recruitment process. However, it is only by creating an honest culture that values accuracy and depth of candidate review over speed at any cost that employers can confidently meet evolving employment targets. By combining this culture with a recruitment process that enforces compliance and enables essential verification documentation to be easily retained and shared, small businesses can make steps to eradicate CV fraud.

Image: Shutterstock

Toby Conibear is the European business director at recruitment software provider Bond International Software.

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