CV fraud: More common than you think

Take Vish Nandlall, for example. In 2016, the former Telstra Chief Technology Officer was booted from the job after allegedly falsifying his resume by claiming to have an MBA from Harvard, and using plagiarised material in company presentations.

The high-profile sacking was splashed across news sites, reiterating the need for thorough employee checks on even the most senior of staff.

Executive-level embellishments

Mr Nandlall is far from the only executive to have faked his CV. Retail giant Myer sacked their general manager of strategy Andrew Flanagan after an impressive one day of service, when they discovered his employment history was bogus. Flanagan said he’d been employed at a senior level in a company which owned the fashion chain Zara, and had worked in prominent positions at Tesco in England and US retailer Walmart. Except he hadn’t.

Even Yahoo has been tricked. Former CEO Scott Thompson lasted five months in the job before it was discovered he’d padded his resume with a computer science degree he didn’t have. He didn’t go quietly, publicly blaming the error on Yahoo’s headhunting firm.

Why do they do it?

An American university study found that many job applicants who fake elements of their work history are motivated by jealousy. While some people are spurred on by competition, others become envious when they see their contemporaries landing new roles.

So why should a less-than-truthful CV be of concern? A co-author of the study, Brian Dineen of Purdue University, said, “If you hire somebody who’s misrepresented their resume, not only might you get somebody who has lesser qualifications but you might get somebody who’s likely to steal from the organisation or commit other types of fraud.”

Surprisingly, resume fraud seems to increase when the job market improves and there is less competition for a role. Less surprisingly, the longer a jobseeker is looking for work, the more likely they are to fudge their CV.

Who’s not being honest?

Some industries are more likely to receive ‘cheat CVs’ than others. One survey found CVs for jobs in financial services, leisure and hospitality, IT, healthcare and retail contained more than double the amount of ‘lies’ than an average CV.

Another study found recruiters spend an average of 7.4 seconds looking at a candidate’s resume before deciding whether he or she is a good fit for a job.

Of the time spent reviewing the resume, 80% is spent looking at:

  • Current title/company.
  • Previous title/company.
  • Previous position, start and end dates.
  • Current position, start and end dates.

The good news? Running some simple background checks to verify employment history and educational qualifications can help stop fraudsters before they get through the door and have a chance to damage your company’s brand or workplace.

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