Beware: Employee Misrepresentation on CVs is Getting Worse

“CV fraud” is a growing problem that all employers should guard against when hiring new staff in any capacity.

Prevention being of course much better than cure, vigilance during the recruitment process is key here – with our labour laws being as complex and full of pitfalls as they are, you could find it very difficult to fire a lying employee down the line.

We share some thoughts on how to build up a thorough picture of a job candidate, and on how to detect dishonesty in his or her CV, even in these days of restricted access to personal information.

Not surprisingly, considering what we hear every day in the news, employers are finding that candidate employees are more and more embellishing and misrepresenting aspects of their career, as well as omitting embarrassing aspects altogether.

It is also getting increasingly difficult to get a thorough picture of a candidate for a position due to increasing restrictions being placed on personal information. This tends to make previous employers nervous to share information on their employees and more and more employers are now giving out no information at all.

The consequences of making a mistake when recruiting are damaging as the process is time consuming and adversely affects staff morale, which can lead to a business losing or making less money.

A matter of trust

The relationship between employee and employer is based on trust. Abusing this trust by falsifying a CV breaks down this relationship as the employer begins to doubt what the employee is doing and this usually results in a downward spiral leading to disciplinary hearings and often dismissal. The business then has to start the whole recruitment process again.

Labour courts have found that falsifying a CV is a dismissible offence and that there is no need to prove that the misrepresentation led to your decision to appoint the candidate.

Whilst this is encouraging, in practice many cases end up being lost by the employer due to some procedural error found by the court.

How to detect and deal with falsehoods in a CV

As noted above, it is becoming harder to obtain the true picture on a prospective staff member. Think perhaps of joining the many companies now using informal networks such as canvassing management in your organisation, or building up Human Resource groups in the applicable industry. Often this approach leads to the employer finding “someone who knows someone” and from there a more accurate picture of the employee’s past can be put together.

Why not also pursue someone who commits a dismissible offence – if necessary charge the person and go through the full disciplinary process? Then, be honest with another employer as to why the employee left or was fired. This way at least it will spare other employers making costly appointments and who knows, it may begin to spread throughout the sector and come back to benefit your business directly one day.