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Let’s get straight to the point: resumes are fast becoming an outdated artefact in today’s tech-savvy society. They are also conveniently written by the owner, who you have to trust has not exaggerated the ‘facts’ around their experience and general brilliance. Ask almost anyone for resume advice and they will say ‘beef it up’ and that’s exactly what many people understandably do.

A 2017 HireRight employment screening benchmark report found 85% of survey respondents uncovered a misrepresentation on a candidate’s resume or job application during the screening process, a staggering 66% increase from five years ago. Equally worrying was a recent NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) report indicating that between 20% to 30% of job applications contain some form of false information.

So, what’s the big deal when everyone stretches the truth a little on their resume? Anecdotally we find that people are generally honest when applying for a job. If they state they have a degree or a certain qualification, they likely hold it. If they say they held a position, it’s generally true. But the statistics tell us that’s not always the case and when investing in a new employee, it really pays to be diligent.

Recently a senior public servant in Adelaide was found guilty of faking credentials and referees to secure a Chief Information Officer role for South Australia’s Department of Premier and Cabinet. Opportunely, she also awarded her brother a well-paid contract using her new position. What if this happened in your business? Especially if the fraudulent person in question was hired to lead a team, negotiate deals, control funds or build significant projects and infrastructure. It’s a big risk to take.

Knowing all this, how do we fix the problem and understand more about who we are hiring? In an ideal world our technology, algorithms and software would have caught up. Resumes would no longer exist and services like LinkedIn would provide us with blockchain verified work history and credentials.

But without this automated nirvana, what can you do to protect your company now, and how much checking is enough? We recommend running through the following checklist for guidance before you begin:

1. If your budget is tight and the role is junior, then free options such as checking LinkedIn profiles against submitted resumes, calling referees who were direct supervisors and of course performing a thorough interview, might be sufficient.

2. Willing to make a small investment? There are an increasing number of employment screening companies who can partner with your recruiter or human resources team to provide background checking services. You will need the candidate’s full consent, but that’s generally not an issue. These companies usually offer a variety of checks which you can tailor for each hire; ranging from validating work history, degrees, certifications and licenses through to performing criminal checks.

3. For technical roles such as software developers, consider using online skills testing. Other niche roles with specific responsibilities may require working with children, traffic, medical or drug tests. For senior or executive roles, we often recommend checking company directorships or banned persons registers to prevent conflicts of interest or issues with ASIC.

4. If you’re looking to adopt an enterprise best practice, there’s an Australian Standard for employment screening (AS 4811) to reference. It’s meant to be a useable framework for pre-employment screening for HR professionals, hiring managers and business owners. Whilst it is a little out of date, it’s still a great guide to developing a good process.

5. Most background checks only cost between $50 to $150 each and are well worth the extra money. Local company PeopleCheck have been providing background verification services to organisations in Newcastle and Nationally since 2006.

We are now in the era of ever increasing compliance and regulation where organisations can’t afford to expose themselves to the potential risks associated with fraudulent personnel.  Big businesses have been doing in-depth checks for years and evidence shows that the small to medium firms are quickly catching up, proving that the widespread adoption of employment screening isn’t a matter or if, but when.

The list below of employment screening providers will help you begin your journey and learn more before you conduct your next round of hiring. Good luck!

To find out more about employment screening and how you can hire the right employee for your business, contact GWG on 0249050130 or visit www.gwg.com.au

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