With a steady year-on-year increase in organisations choosing to screen existing and potential employees, job-seekers who are planning to lie about or omit information regarding their qualifications or criminal history in an upcoming job interview will most likely find themselves exposed, unemployed and stuck with a bad reputation. Demand for background screening services in South Africa and the African continent as a whole continues to rise meaning dishonest job-seekers will soon have nowhere to hide.
We have experienced an overall 15% increase in background screening in the last five years and over January and February 2017. MIE statistics for 2017 to-date which indicate that 16% of qualifications checked were found to be either misrepresented, cancelled or altogether fraudulent. This means that out of about 90 000 screened candidates, over 14 000 candidates’ qualifications contained inconsistencies.
This level of dishonesty is also apparent in our criminal history vetting with a present risk of 9%. This includes those found to definitely have a record, those which show up as inconclusive as well as pending cases.
In some cases, you may find that the details of the criminal record may not have impacted the potential employers hiring decision. However, having not disclosed such past behaviour when asked to do so can give an employer a very bad first impression that the candidate in question may not be open, honest and transparent.
With this in mind, it is important for employers not to simply disqualify a candidate on the basis of having a criminal record. Weighing up the nature of the past crime against the job at hand may reveal that there is no risk to the applicant fulfilling the role successfully.
MIE’s 2016 Annual Background Screening Report noted that the Manufacturing and Mining industries are at greatest risk of candidates not disclosing their criminal records. These sectors recorded the highest number of job applicants with criminal histories – ranging between 18% and 20%. The report further noted that, as a whole, cross-border qualifications from African and international institutions, hold the highest risk with candidates often believing that foreign qualifications cannot, or will not, be verified.
While job-seekers may feel as though embellishing their resume will make them stand out from the crowd in an increasingly competitive job market, being exposed for CV fraud will not only see them lose out on a job in that moment but will also taint their reputation in the market and make it even more difficult for them to find employment moving forward.
Business leaders have really embraced the solutions which are available to them in order to make informed hiring decisions.
While some may find it useful to verify only part of a candidate’s application, such as their criminal history or verifying a single reference, the most favourable approach to vetting is to be comprehensive and ensure that every credential of a job-seekers CV is accurate and transparent just as any employer would hope for their workforce to be.
Ina van der Merwe is the CEO and founder of Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE).