Which country is about to send CV fraudsters to jail?

CV fraud is more common than you may think. According to a recent survey, around three quarters of hiring managers have found a lie or misrepresentation on a resume. In South Africa, those fibs and embellishments could soon land dishonest employees in the slammer.

According to the new National Qualifications Amendment Bill (which is currently waiting for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s sign off), those who fabricate qualifications on their CV could face up to five years in jail.

In South Africa, qualification fraud is the most common misrepresentation on CVs. According to figures from the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), at the end of January 2017, a total of 1,276 qualifications were misrepresented with non-existent matric (high school) certificates, inflated education, unfinished degrees and fake degree certificates the most common.

The new law is unlikely to impact lower and middle-class workers, however, those applying for high profile jobs – executives, CEOs and even politicians – will be subjected to more rigorous background checks going forward.

And it’s not just individuals who’ll be held accountable. The bill will take institutions to task too if they’re found to be misrepresenting qualifications, or issuing unregistered qualifications. It will also create a register that names and shames offending parties.

How to prevent CV fraud in your workplace?

In Australia, the consequences for CV fraud are nowhere near as dire. The only illegal embellishment in some states – WA for example – is falsifying your college or university diploma or degree which could see you slapped with a $5,000 fine.

If South Africa’s bold new move proves successful, who knows if and when Australia and other countries will follow suit? While we watch this space, there are simple steps you can take to prevent CV fraud and protect the reputation of your company and employment brand.

The best way is through detailed and consistent background screening of candidates. Not only does vetting your candidates detect fake qualifications and embellished work history on CVs, but it can also highlight undisclosed criminal records, traffic infringements, VISA restrictions and more.

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