Posted on 23 Apr 2018

Have you ever had a candidate who looked perfect on paper, but ultimately underperformed in their role? Sometimes, if a candidate’s past experience looks too good to be true, it is.

During the hiring process companies of all sizes – from small businesses to multinational corporations – can fall victim to applicants with fraudulent CVs. Not only does it hold up the recruitment process, but CV fraud can also undermine the reputation of a company. Here’s how to spot and avoid it when making your next hire.

What is CV fraud?

CV fraud can take many forms, from an embellished history of volunteer work or a padded-out work timeline, to fabricated qualifications from a university the applicant has never set foot in.

The rate of CV fraud in Australia may be more widespread than you think. Last year, the South Australian government fired their recently hired chief information officer Veronica Theriault after she allegedly used a fraudulent resume to get the job, prompting then-premier Jay Weatherill to call for an urgent review of the government recruitment process.

Theriault was arrested and charged with deception, dishonestly dealing with documents and abuse of public office. A public servant who assisted her in undertaking this fraud was also arrested and charged with deception, showing the repercussions of CV fraud can extend far beyond simply losing your job.

The repercussions of CV fraud can extend far beyond simply losing your job.

Why do people commit CV fraud?

With an ever-increasing pool of candidates vying for positions in a competitive employment landscape, it’s no wonder some unscrupulous applicants try to gain a leg up on the competition.

With HR teams reticent to conduct background checks on applicants, increasing numbers of fraudulent CVs are going undetected, despite candidates facing hefty fines and jail time if caught.

With many job postings now requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher to be considered for the role, the internet has made it simpler – and safer – to obtain the fake qualifications needed to get a foot in the door.

Increasing numbers of fraudulent CVs are going undetected, despite candidates facing hefty fines and jail time if caught.

Which industries attract the most ‘padded’ resumes?

Not all industries were created equal, and some attract far more embellished CVs than others.

Sectors like hospitality and retail typically see a high volume of imaginative claims. More worryingly, finance and healthcare boast some of the highest levels of embellished resumes.

Here are the industries that see the most creative approaches in the applications they receive:

  • Finance: 73% of applicants have padded resumes
  • Leisure and Hospitality: 71% of applicants have padded resumes
  • Information Technology: 63% of applicants have padded resumes
  • Healthcare: 63% of applicants have padded resumes
  • Retail: 59% of applicants have padded resumes

Can anyone fall prey to CV fraud?

Just as concerning as the ease of carrying out CV fraud is its prevalence in high-level positions. This suggests many candidates are either unaware or unconcerned their misrepresentations will be caught out by recruiters.

With some studies suggesting more than half of all candidates are prone to lying about their past experience, fraud occurs in roles of any seniority, and organisations of any size. High-profile fraud cases involving employees from Telstra and Myer show the problem isn’t confined to small businesses lacking the resources to carry out thorough background checks.

Many candidates are either unaware or unconcerned their misrepresentations will be caught out by recruiters.

When Telstra’s chief technology officer Vish Nandlall stepped down last year after falsely claiming to have an MBA from Harvard University, it proved the issue is still a major challenge HR teams need to face. Likewise, when Myer’s general manager of strategy Andrew Flanagan was ousted after just one day of work, it reinforced the need for vigilance in screening even the most of senior staff.

How can you avoid CV fraud?

Faced with a growing stack of applications, how can a HR team find the time to ensure each CV they accept through is accurate and honest?

The practice of background screening is becoming widely acknowledged as a crucial step in the hiring process, with 71 per cent of top US employers conducting comprehensive applicant checks. Background screening uses information from third party resources like CVCheck, which help evaluate and screen potential candidates on behalf of the hiring team.

The practice of background screening is becoming widely acknowledged as a crucial step in the hiring process.

Having your background check provider integrated with your recruitment system makes conducting background checks a seamless part of your hiring process. This practice reduces the potential risk of an unsuitable hire, and frees up recruiters to focus on hiring the best talent for the role, rather than seeking out potential cases of fraud. CVCheck is one of the background search providers that integrates with PageUp.

Conclusion

Hiring can make or break a business, and a bad or fraudulent hire can cost countless hours of time and money, leaving the HR team back at square one.

While CV fraud may be a more widespread issue than many people realise, the good news is procedures like background screening can now ensure the credibility of a candidate’s claims before they’ve even walked through the door.