Resume Fraud – Where to Now for Recruiters?

Once upon a time, a wealthy merchant and his entourage were travelling through a forest. Once deep within, they verged upon the most remarkable sight: tree after tree had been painted with numerous targets, with an arrow lodged within each bullseye.

A bow-carrying man appeared and approached the merchant, kneeling in honour before his prominent admirer.  Suitably impressed, the merchant placed five silver coins into the archer’s open palm.

Now that the merchant’s party were out of sight having continued with their journey, the archer shot an arrow towards a bare stump. A he walked towards the new entrenchment, the archer anxiously glanced over his shoulder before pulling out his paints…

Now,  where did the merchant go wrong? While several factors may have led to his impetuous award, the dismissal of any verification process was his most fundamental mistake. One simple request to demonstrate the claimed skill would have saved him his gold coins.

Steven D. Levitt, of Freakonomics fame, suggests that more than 50 percent of people lie on their CVs. There are two forms of this appalling practice are (1) historical manipulation, and (2) proficiency aggrandisement.

Fingers Crossed

Photo Credit: ~dgies

Clients rightfully expect that any deceptive application will be filtered out of the recruitment process. Yet recruiters are simply too busy to play detective. Nor can anyone expect recruiters to transform overnight into psychologists who can ascertain and diagnose suspicious body language during interviews.

A pragmatic solution is to encourage (and even insist, in some cases) candidates to accompany applications with documents that verify their CVs’ claims.

This doesn’t mean that reference calls and plain common sense need would be unneccessary. But document verification would further discourage candidates who were otherwise considering gambling with their credibility.

Our industry has the responsibility, influence, and tools. Let’s put an end to this growing phenomenon…and save some gold coins while we’re at it.


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Categories: Articles for Employers, Articles for Recruiters, Current Affairs, CVs and Resumes, Rectruitment Trends


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2 Comments on “Resume Fraud – Where to Now for Recruiters?”

  1. Jill Gooseman
    January 3, 2011 at 7:52 am #

    My colleague and I were just discussing how comical (either laugh or cry about these things!) that we are part time detectives! We’re constantly doing background checks as best we can. We’re a small agency, so we can’t afford expensive third party verification services.

    I think we’ll be following your advice and asking for more documents where appropriate.

  2. Ian S
    January 5, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    Jill, while verification services aren’t cheap, they have come down in price a little in the past 2-3 years b/c of competition.

    While I support your blog’s views – I’m concerned about document verification. We don’t often hear about such scandals where people forge supporting documents – but perhaps that it because it is so successful!

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