Recruitment Fraud costs £23 billion

A recent report by the University of Portsmouth has highlighted the soaring level of recruitment fraud in the UK. It’s hard to put an exact figure on the level of the problem, but estimates of £23 billion aren’t far off the mark. Could the result change forever the way in which we get new jobs? Companies are quickly realising that they need to tighten up on their recruitment processes to make sure they stay ahead in an increasingly competitive market.

Research Findings

The research project centred on one – unnamed – employer with around 5000 employees. The research team took all of the information which those people had given when they applied, or at interview. All of the information was then thoroughly fact checked. And the results were shocking. Out of 5000 CVs checked, 75% were found to contain discrepancies. Some of the most common lies were inflated exam grades, or exaggerated job titles and experience.

A further research project carried out showed that in companies which tell candidates that they will be checking up on facts and work experience, a third of candidates were still found to be less than truthful. The conclusions from the research are clear. Businesses are still not doing enough to protect themselves from taking on someone who could be very damaging to their business. But what does this all mean for candidates?

What to expect from recruitment

This growing issue with financial loss associated with fibbing candidates has implications for all of us. Recruitment fraud means that most companies are getting more serious about the checks they are running. Each organisation is different. As a candidate however there are some things you can expect the next time you apply for a job. Gone are the days of being taken on face value. It’s important to remember also that this is all standard procedure. Fact checking your CV or running a credit check doesn’t mean that the employer is concerned. It’s just a standard process which everyone goes through.

There are two main groups of people who commit recruitment fraud. The first group is the largest. These are the people who are desperate to land a job in a competitive market. They see no harm in embellishing an application or telling a few white lies to land an interview. Can we really blame them for trying to get ahead? However, people who are put into a position beyond their experience and ability might struggle, and be tempted to manipulate date or figures to keep their job.  The other group has more sinister intentions. Some criminals will actively target businesses they know are lax on recruitment. They will get into the company under false pretences and once in place, they can then start to commit further crimes.

Types of check to combat recruitment fraud

There is a wide range of different checks which an employer might choose to do. These include:

  1. CV checking. Employers can choose to go through your CV with a fine toothed comb and check every single fact. Is it really worth losing a job because you’ve changed an A-level grade from a B to an A? Don’t risk it as there is a high chance you’ll be caught.
  2. References. Many HR teams are reluctant to confirm anything more than dates of employment in a written reference. So employers are increasingly picking up the phone to ask for an “off the record” reference. If you’ve exaggerated your responsibilities or lied about gaps in your employment, you are more than likely to be found out.
  3. Credit checks – if you’re being considered for a job in finance, then employers might look into your financial history. This isn’t about seeing what you spend your money on. They’re not interested in how much you owe on your mortgage either. It’s all about weeding out people who have serious debt problems, and who might be tempted to defraud their employer.
  4. DBS checks – not all employers ask staff to apply for a DBS check. It’s a legal requirement in some sectors but not in others. This is a criminal records check and helps employers weed out people who have a criminal record as long as your arm. Employers should be clear about who needs a DBS check, and how they manage the application process.