Many of you may have read about an executive of Yahoo who resigned over an untruthful CV. The event resulted from a dissatisfied shareholder discovering that the executive did not have the computer science degree he listed on his CV.
To lie or not to lie on a CV is the question? This simple question often crosses the mind of many job seekers when they are completing their CV and many research studies paint a picture of CV dishonesty. Dishonesty and misrepresentations include: concealing criminal convictions, undisclosed county court judgements and bankruptcies; manufacturing educational qualifications or enhancing grades; inflating job titles and glossing over gaps in work record.
I am sure that many who have been dishonest on their CVs have turned out to be very successful employees, many rising to the top layers of the organisation. But others could prove a disaster and do damage to both co-workers, clients and the company itself. However, apart from the technical capability of the individual there are the behavioural consequences as CV dishonesty may well be a reflection of the integrity of the candidate and that could have very serious consequences for the company.
How can you spot and/or overcome CV dishonesty? If your organisation has an HR Department with a qualified HR Practitioner in it, he or she will probably undertake all of the necessary checks needed during the hiring and selection process which would include reference checking; asking key questions at interviews to verify information on the CV and, of course, asking competency based questions to determine the capability of the applicant. If you don’t employ an HR practitioner you can do your own thing or you can seek assistance from a recruitment agency. If you are doing your own hiring, read the CV carefully to see that it makes sense, for example it would be unlikely that the first job out of school would be a managerial role or it would be very unusual to find a person working for a company in Scotland and playing football on Saturday for a team in Plymouth or getting poor GCSEs and then an honours degree. So do your detective work when sifting CVs to shortlist candidates and again at the selection interview to sort out any ambiguities.
If you wish to choose a recruitment agency in order to get professional attention and a speedy result, check out their vetting processes to ensure they meet your requirements before appointing them. Also lay out your expectations and ensure that the agency can meet them and don’t forget to ask them for some references and check them out.
Finally a few other things you could do to air on the side of caution: Adopt a longer probationary periods, say 6 to 12 months which provides time to verify that the new member of staff is capable in the fields confirmed at selection; ask candidates to sign a document to confirm that the CV is correct and complete; and put a clause in the contract of employment to state that employment may be lawfully terminated if it is later found that the individual was dishonest during the hiring and selection process.
Dr Hugh Billot
HR GO plc
HR GO Recruitment offers solutions to all your staffing needs, temporary and permanent, please call 0845 130 7000