Workplace in crisis

June 2012 Security Services & Risk Management

Rising unemployment and chronic work shortages – these scenarios often tempt even the most diligent and honest potential employee into ‘slightly embellishing’ their work history or qualifications and effectively committing employee integrity fraud. It has been reported that almost one in three people exaggerate or falsify the details in their CV. More and more applicants are taking desperate measures such as embellishing their credentials and misrepresenting their backgrounds in an effort to improve their chances of meeting job requirements, outshining their competitors and therefore securing an appointment for an interview.

As recent as April 2012, a senior SABC official was investigated for not having the most basic of SA educational qualification – a matric certificate. Despite the investigation, he was found not to be untruthful and had not misrepresented himself. He merely did not have the qualification and had allegedly achieved his status by hard work and diligence which had been recognised and duly acknowledged by the promotions received.

Our current educational system is in disarray with South Africa only achieving a 67% Matric pass rate in 2010. The job market is highly competitive for university students and school leavers, leading to desperation and resorting to fraudulent documents being submitted to prospective employers. Qualification fraud is extensive and if there is no basic Matric pass it calls into question all the delegate’s future qualifications as Matric is the base and bridge for any additional qualification in SA and even internationally.

Other not so ethical applicants have used the credentials of inter alia – a murderer on death row; a dead 112-year-old lady; a dead person (a child who only lived for about two months) as well as illegals to gain access to appropriate identification or even qualification. ID fraud is rife in South Africa with women often finding themselves married to various undesirables with difficult or very little recourse in rectifying their identity status.

CV fraud can open a large can of worms for your company. Risks, such as poor productivity, unsafe working conditions, bad publicity, loss of clients and costly litigation makes the job of validating qualified employees more important than ever. What is concerning, is how many companies do not have pre-employment screening as part of their hiring process.

Stretching dates of past employment and fabricating jobs to fill in gaps in employment history are the most common types of resumé fraud. Take notice of gaps in employment and frequent job changes. Watch out for vague job descriptions or broad exaggerations of responsibilities. Be suspicious of unexplained periods of unemployment and claims of proficiency in specific skills.

Companies need to verify a candidate’s CV, they need to see whether the person is being honest and that they have accountability. Commanding integrity in the beginning will lead to success throughout the organisation.

For more information contact iFacts, +27 (0)82 600 8225,


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