Beware fraudulent or misrepresented CVs as new graduates try to enter the workforce

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As newly qualified graduates enter the workforce in South Africa in 2018, background screening company Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE), has warned businesses to be more vigilant in their human resource practices.

It pointed out that in 2017, there were a number of news reports exposing candidates in high profile positions across the public and private sectors who had misrepresented their qualifications.

MIE CEO, Ina van der Merwe, said in November that a snapshot view of the data from the company’s vetting services conducted in the first ten months of 2017 found that criminal checks were the most frequently requested check, followed by qualification or educational background checks.

Over the reported period, MIE conducted 604,497 criminal checks, where 9.77% of the total checks were deemed to have a criminal or a pending criminal record – which was also constant when compared to the data from the MIE 2016 Background Screening Index report.

MIE conducted over 462,000 qualification checks. Of the total number of qualifications verified, 15.17% were found to be either fraudulent, misrepresented or cancelled.

“What is interesting to note here is that there has been an increase in the number of qualifications being misrepresented by candidates,” said van der Merwe. “In some cases, the dishonesty may be malicious, however it may also be a result of desperation and anxiety from those trying to secure employment in the tougher economic environment we are operating in.”

The types of qualifications most commonly found to be misrepresented, fraudulent or inconsistent included African (33.98%) and International (43.45%) qualifications – where too often candidates still believe that foreign qualifications will not be checked or verified.

Misrepresentation or inconsistencies remains high on National Secondary Qualification (matric pre-1992, at 25.47%), Tertiary Courses (23.17%), National Tertiary qualifications (14.55%)and Umalusi (matric post- 1992, at 13.88%).

“Hiring talent with the right qualifications, experience and skillsets for any appropriate position is critical to business success. What this data therefore demonstrates is that businesses need to be more vigilant in their human resource practices, by insisting on conducting comprehensive background screening checks – both pre- and post-employment by making it part of the HR Policy.

“Doing so will help the business to minimise and manage their potential financial and reputational risks associated with hiring the wrong candidate or an applicant with false credentials,” said van der Merwe.

A report by MIE showed that the six most lied about facts on CVs include:

  • responsibilities
  • skills
  • titles
  • period of employmen
  • companies worked at
  •  reasons for leaving a previous job

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