The question that recruiters always ask themselves – how genuine is this candidate?
Resume fraud is a problem – hiring someone who has padded their resume, taken extremely creative license with their educational history or has outright devised their own career on paper. Recruiters, human resource departments and interviewers all face the problem of ascertaining whether a candidate is a hidden gem or “too good to be true”.
Resume fraud can involve one of the following items:
The prevalence of such dishonest behaviour has spawned an industry catering to false employment, fake certificates and degrees, and character references. The risk of hiring such candidates are severe and far-reaching:
With the advent of globalisation of businesses, aligning hiring practices across the world is also causing headquarters and shared services centres headaches. Cultural differences and nuances also may affect the benchmarking between candidates from different regions. To magnify the problem, companies now offer a myriad of employment types and opportunities which may make it difficult and expensive to look out for resume fraud. The functions of a company looking out for fraud (such as the internal control function), and for new employees (which is usually under HR’s purview), are also typically segregated such that they do not communicate on a proper identification and review programme for resume fraud.
One method to mitigate the risk of hiring a candidate who has falsified their resume is to perform rigorous pre-employment screening. This can be done internally or by a third party, and involves independently verifying key details on a resume. This is usually done before the hire is finalised, and with the signed consent of the individual under review.
Pre-employment screening extends beyond a prior employment reference check and education check, and should be customised to your corporation’s values, culture and needs. A corporation usually embarks on a pre-employment screening as honesty is an important tenet of their ethos, and a dishonest employee would be a cultural misfit in addition to a fraud waiting to be discovered.
If a pre-employment screening mandate is made known to all candidates, it may also serve as a deterrent to candidates who are considering manipulating their resumes. Reluctance to sign a consent to allow screening is also a red flag which could highlight potential misdemeanours.
Reviewing employment and education references has become now de rigueur. However, professional scepticism has to be utilised in deciding which references to interview. Should the “senior manager” listed as a character reference be called, or should you look for other channels to perform your verification?
Consider also whether it may be worthwhile to review awards and scholarships received by the individual, especially if it is given weightage in the interview and selection process. If volunteer work is also a key component, then this should also be factored into the screening.
With the increasing popularity of social media, screening of public social media accounts is also something which can help illuminate whether a candidate is being less than truthful about a gap year, for example. This is also useful in revealing ideological slants which may not align with a company’s values.
There are no hard and fast rules about when, or how to do a screening on a candidate. However, some of the questions that may come to mind may include:
It is no longer a question of whether a fit-and-proper screening is necessary, but rather to what extent and how it should be conducted. Turning a blind eye to the risk of a negligent hire could have a ripple effect on the rest of your corporation.
For more information, please contact:
Forensic and Litigation Support Services