Calling Time on CV Fraud – Part One
In an era of social media and individuals prone to sharing every detail of their lives online, the amount of misinformation that appears on candidate CVs is extraordinary. From bumping up a poor degree to lying about essential qualifications, it appears that some individuals feel free to play fast and loose with the facts.
The implications for recruiters and employers alike of employing a fraudulent candidate can be significant – from the cost of recruiting another candidate to potential legal action. In this two-part blog series we consider whether, with growing demand for regulations to be reintroduced to improve the professionalism of the recruitment industry¹, combining a culture that values in depth candidate checking with a more effective, streamlined and auditable checking process offers reputable recruiters a chance to demonstrate measurable additional value.
Time to Check
In 2014, 63% of all the confirmed employment frauds reported to Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention service, was due to individuals lying about their education, former employment or qualifications. This mis-representation of information raises real concerns for both employers and employees alike – and the fear is that the problem will only get worse this year as the pressure to recruit new employees continues to grow.
So what is the role of the recruiter in this scenario? Most recruiters would accept the need to verify a candidate’s CV,but checking often goes beyond simple verification of academic performance which can be carried out through the Higher Education Degree Datacheck. Many job roles require checks of criminal records, credit history, CRB status, and health and safety qualifications.
These checks take time and add cost for the recruitment agency and the client. In the Year of the Candidate, when clients are pressing for faster turnaround times and good candidates can pick and choose between roles, how many recruiters are coming under greater pressure to skimp on these vital checks in order to win the race to get to the client first?
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.
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; while would-be PR Manager for Manchester United, Alison Ryan, had not only lied about having a first class degree from Cambridge but had actually been banned from practising law. And how many more have yet to be unmasked?
How can the recruitment industry address this issue? In fact, this issue ties in with growing calls across the sector for the reintroduction of regulation that was abolished 20 years ago.¹ While the vast majority of recruitment businesses operate in an ethical manner and many 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.
In the second instalment of this blog series, we will look at the impact of culture and process, and what role they could have in combatting CV fraud crime.