Embellishment or Fraud? The importance of CV verifications
There are many examples of CV manipulation, embellishment and exaggeration. Rae Legg explores the considerations regarding CVs and fraud.
“What’s the harm in a little white lie?”
“I’m not lying, I’m just omitting the truth!”
“Embellishment is just part of writing a CV!”
“Most job requirements are ridiculous!”
These are some of the many things people say in an attempt to justify lying about their qualifications or previous experience on their CVs. A question frequently asked on r/AskReddit is what people lied about on their CVs, and whether or not they got away with it.
The lies range from being fluent in a different language, having experience with a particular software, to purchasing forged diplomas with no regrets.
It is not surprising to hear how common CV fraud is.
A study conducted in 2019 by Credence and Higher Education Degree Datacheck (HEDD) found that out of the 55,000 CVs that were analysed, 15% returned academic discrepancies, ranging from inaccurate grades, different attendance dates, to making up a degree altogether.
Another survey from CV-Library in 2018 revealed that up to 92.5% of British people got away with lying on their CV, with approximately 71.6% getting a job as a result of their lying.
The frequency of people lying on their CVs may cause people to question or even downplay the harm involved with CV fraud.
History suggests, however, that there is in fact, a lot of harm, and that people who lie on their CV will most likely go on to lie about other aspects, or even commit fraud further down the line, having realised that they’ve got away with the first lie.
In October 2018, a woman from New Zealand was jailed after being found out for lying about having a medical degree when she registered in the UK and practised psychiatry for 22 years with no official qualifications. She had attempted to fake a dementia patient’s will and applied for power of attorney in order to inherit the patient’s £1.3m estate.
This is not an isolated incident. There are many other cases, including the case of ‘Dr’ Daniel Mthimkhulu who not only lied about having a PhD in rail engineering when interviewing for Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and caused the “Tall Trains” scandal, but also created a fake counteroffer from a rival company in order to increase his salary. He has now been ordered to pay Prasa back R5.7m.
And most people are very aware of the story of the NHS fraudster, Philip Hufton. As detailed in our January 2021 insight, the former senior Business Development manager of an NHS Foundation trust lied about numerous qualifications, such as a PhD and a Master’s degree, and incurred £350,000 worth of fake expenses.
Situations like the above are completely avoidable when recruitment teams invest more in verifying qualifications and previous experience, as opposed to prioritising numbers and bums-on-seats.
Fraudsters get discouraged from applying to roles as it becomes easier to distinguish dishonest candidates from honest ones, and therefore companies are protected from potential reputational, financial, and judicial risk.
International Background Checks into senior executives, managers and new hires, entails rigorous interrogation and analysis of information gathered from a range of open sources.
Background checks should include searches with press articles, court searches, company registries, public records and documents, insolvency registers, financial regulator fines and licenses, subscribed databases, sanctions checks as well social media platforms.
When required, background checks should cover global jurisdictions and research must be performed in key languages.
How we can help:
We have a team of Analysts and Associates who interrogate the individual’s CV, application forms and corporate history specifically looking for adverse information and risk, including undisclosed red flags, conflicting findings, false or exaggerated statements and report these findings to the client.