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Combating resume fraud

Rajkamal Rao | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on April 14, 2015

Employment gaps, exaggerated job titles and salary raise the red flags



A CareerBuilder survey from 2014 found that 58 per cent of the 2,188 hiring managers caught a lie on a candidate's resume; and 33 per cent saw an increase in resume embellishments during the last five years.

The survey did not reveal numbers for India. But in a country where most jobs are non-regulated and many fly-by-night educational establishments award fake degrees, resume fraud is a real issue which costs companies crores of rupees throughout the hiring process.

Mark Swartz, a Canadian workplace specialist, warns that the most common lies are when candidates pad dates to mask employment gaps, exaggerate job titles or salary, invent achievements that never took place and claim sole responsibility for team efforts.

Using references

A reliable way to combat such fraud is to verify candidate claims by calling references. But in India, this too is not quite so reliable anymore.

In October 2014, teams from Bengaluru City Police busted a fake job certificate racket being run by at least seven ‘companies’, and arrested over 20 people. While it may be hard to investigate candidates’ backgrounds, it is relatively easy to vet competencies of experienced professionals in many industries, including the IT industry, a major contributor to India’s GDP.

Genuine candidates take pride in showing off professional certifications from reputed organisations. Some of these certifications require demonstrated prior work experience and it is incumbent upon the certifying organisation to validate these requirements.

Industry certifications

Global Knowledge, a leading IT and business skills training provider, lists nearly 100 industry-recognised certifications across a wide range of skills.

Qualified accountants, auditors and finance managers already hold certifications from professional organisations such as the Institute of Chartered or Cost Accountants and may even be their members. If the candidate you are interviewing can convincingly prove to you that he/she is certified in a relevant competency or belongs to a professional body, you can continue the hiring process with increased confidence.

But what if the job you are filling is non-regulated and industry-recognised certifications aren’t yet in vogue? Depending on the level and importance of the position, you may need to have some of your senior-most employees devise a test specific to the job and have candidates take it during their interviews. For candidates that pass the in-company test, the multi-person interview format is still the best. The same candidate meets 2-3 different company managers individually.

Each interaction focuses only on one dimension to avoid duplication – such as technical, administrative or functional – and the interviewing managers submit their evaluations blind to the hiring manager. In other words, each interviewing manager is unaware of how his colleagues rated the candidate.

Unless circumstances are extreme and new information becomes available, the hiring manager should defer to the judgment of the interviewing managers. This builds trust in the process as hiring managers will feel that their contributions and inputs mattered, and are respected.

Swartz, the Canadian, finally suggests that companies must state in their offer letter that lying on the resume constitutes a possible firing offense. He says: “It reminds candidates of the consequences they might face if they choose not to disclose a material falsehood before they accept your employment offer.”

The writer is Managing Director, Rao Advisors LLC, an education consulting firm

Published on April 14, 2015
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