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CV fraud? You’re fired!


Wednesday night's edition of The Apprentice contained the revelation that one of Sir Alan Sugar's potential apprentices, Lee McQueen, had lied on his CV about his education - as highlighted in our Apprentice blog by leadership expert John Fay.

Angus Sim, director in PricewaterhouseCoopers forensics practice has the following advice for companies looking to avoid a similar pitfall:

"Clearly the discovery of fraud on Lee's CV at such a late stage in the competition was embarrassing for Sir Alan, but he is one of many bosses throughout the UK having the wool pulled over their eyes by potential employees. Research shows that up to 25% of jobseekers in the UK lie on their CVs to impress their prospective boss.

"It is tempting to say that CV fraud has always been in existence, but there are a number of factors exacerbating this. For example, the flexible and increasingly mobile labour market makes it easier for people to leave details of their past behind as they move from one place to another. In addition, there is far greater emphasis being placed on getting a candidate on board quickly at the expense of any real effort taken to perform basic checks.

"Companies can take a number of steps to try and protect themselves from CV fraud. One step is to ensure candidates know that they will be checked and being very clear on exactly what qualifications they are looking for (ie. if a degree is not important - don't ask for educational information). One of the most effective ways to combat CV fraud is through pre-employment screening. This is where a candidate’s background is verified for employment purposes. It is a transparent process that always requires the consent of the candidate before any checks are commenced.

"At PricewaterhouseCoopers, we recently screened a candidate for a position of employment with a client where the employee’s CV detailed a period of 18 months spent travelling overseas. Our employment screening team identified that the individual had actually spent a period of time in jail on charges of embezzlement at his former employer in Australia."

"The screening of potential employees has proven to be a valuable risk management tool.It is a highly cost effective way of minimising and guarding against potential security risks by identifying undesirable employees before they join an organisation. Currently, under 20% of UK companies outsource their employee screening to professionals. By implementing an effective employment screening programme as part of their overall fraud protection programme, companies can make sure they don't get caught out in the same way Sir Alan was"



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