Recruitment fraud is a serious problem for anyone hiring staff

Have you ever been cheated, exploited, manipulated and jerked around by a candidate or applicant who wanted a job in your organization? You may have, but perhaps you don’t know?

I have two times – well, at least that’s those I know of. Once with a candidate I had shortlisted for my client. And once when I hired for my own team.

Read in this article how I got cheated by a conman, who I unfortunately hired before I later realized what had happened. And then there was the shortlisted candidate for my client who pretended to be the reference person for herself. You would love this – and learn.

Report: The Real Cost of Recruitment Fraud

If you don’t take pre-employment processes seriously, you are leaving the door open to financial loss and reputational damage to your organization according to a new report from UK.

The report titled The Real Cost of Recruitment Fraud was recently published by Crowe, a UK based accountancy firm, in cooperation with the University of Portsmouth. The report established that the annual cost of recruitment fraud in the UK alone is more than 30 billion US dollars.

Crowe carried out Resume and CV checks of an unnamed organisation’s 5,000 employees and found 80% contained discrepancies, with 20% using inflated job titles and 12 per cent falsifying educational grades. A further study showed that almost a third of 619,000 pre-employment checks, undertaken over a year-long period by a company specialising in pre-employment checks, had discrepancies.

Definition of recruitment fraud

Recruitment fraud is when someone lies about their experience, qualifications, employment history or previous integrity. It’s using false or fabricated documents or arranging false references. Falsifying allows applicants and candidates to secure positions as senior executives and, even more worryingly, as doctors and pilots.

The most common recruitment fraud experienced by organizations was false qualifications, followed by fabricated references, use of false or fabricated documents and exaggerated grades.

Costs associated with a bad hire include lost money spent on training and the recruitment process, reduced productivity, internal investigations and disciplinary proceedings, aside from any external sanctions and reputational damage.

Once inside, fraudsters often engage in further misconduct against their host organisations, such as fraud, theft or corruption. With access to sensitive data and private company information, unscrupulous employees pose a serious security threat and exacerbate the likelihood of a data breach.

Jim Gee, National Head of Forensic Services at Crowe in London and also Chair of the Advisory Board for Centre for Counter Fraud Studies at University of Portsmouth, said: “Recruitment fraud is a serious problem, for organisations of all shapes and sizes. Initial misrepresentation or misleading information presented on a CV is often seen as being little more than ‘a white lie’, but it can and does lead to bigger financial and reputational costs down the line.

Types of false information provided

  • Claimed to have qualifications / status the person did not possess
  • Fabricated references
  • Use of false or fabricated documents
  • Exaggerated degrees or grades of educational qualifications
  • Fabricated past roles never undertaken
  • Failed to disclose past criminal convictions, which they should have
  • Claims of having registration/membership with professional body they did not have
  • Exaggerated work periods / roles / salary of past employments
  • Use of false identity
  • Exaggerated status of professional body or registered membership
  • Failed to disclose financial information they should have

How I got fooled by candidates

Let me put it this way, I know of three times where candidates tried to fool me. One succeeded but two didn’t. Here’s what happened and let that be learning lessons from this article.

Case 1: I was hiring a Business Development Manager for my executive search team to manage our international clients. He was a foreigner but already living in Thailand. The moron had provided two names and mobile telephones to people he claimed were former superiors. Fast forward six months.

When an invoice was way overdue and still not paid by a client, I called the client’s CEO whose signature was on the search agreement. It turned out that the CEO had never signed our agreement and in fact had never met my Business Development Manager. The signature was falsified.

When everything then obviously hit the fan and devolved into utter chaos, it came to light that one reference person I had spoken to was his own mother and the other a close personal friend. Both were obviously a part of the scam. Needless to say, his career in executive search was cut short. He was last seen years ago in a beach resort chased by a gang of thugs.

Case 2: A candidate who was the last standing from the shortlist and now the client’s preferred candidate, provided names and contact details of reference persons for us to talk to. A quick researcher in my team, who made the calls, reported to me that one of the persons she talked to had a familiar voice that sounded very much like our candidate. And even though the name and mobile number of that reference were different from the candidate’s details we had on file.

We decided to call her bluff; after lots of swearing by the candidate she admitted her guilt. She confirmed that the reference name and mobile number belonged to her.

How did it end? We informed the client immediately and agreed to move to the second choice.

In conclusion

The insights provided by Crowe clearly prove that recruitment fraud can have serious consequences and costs for the hiring organization.

If there is any good news in all this, it must be that quite basic and proper pre-employment checking of a candidate would be likely to identify the falsehoods.

The small cost of effective checking in relation to the potential costs (both financial and reputational) suggests organisations would be well served in undertaking such checks.

(Article published in Bangkok Post’s Human Resource Watch series; on the front page of the section Market Place)

Find the right key words for your Resume and LinkedIn profile

If you are still using clichés or buzzwords like energetic, focused, passionate, motivated, and team player in your Resume and LinkedIn profile, you will forever remain in the big black hole of the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Never to be seen again. And yes, together with the other hundreds of thousands who didn’t listen, who think they know better, or just didn’t bother study best practice in how to present themselves on the job market.

Ever wondered why you never get invited to a job interview?

Continue reading “Find the right key words for your Resume and LinkedIn profile”

6 reasons why you should hire job hoppers. Seriously!

You can of course ignore or hide from the obvious signs that the world out there is changing, that the staff you hire have other values than we have ever seen before. You can continue to hide your head in the sand (which we jokingly call The Ostrich Syndrome).

Let me ask you this Mr Hiring Manager: are you prepared to commit and guarantee that your company will employ a person up to his or her age of 67? Thought so! Why should this individual then commit to staying with you their whole career? Continue reading “6 reasons why you should hire job hoppers. Seriously!”

7 tips for your resume that Headhunters just love

Why do you think that having a great resume is the single most important part of your job search?

The right answer: because if your resume does not excite and impress anyone, you will not be invited for an interview.

And obviously, if you can’t even get an interview you will never get the dream job. Simple as that and it can be said with these few words:

Resume purpose: To get you an interview ?

Continue reading “7 tips for your resume that Headhunters just love”

What my friends think I do – what do you think?

Happy New Year to all Best Practice Executive Recruitment followers and readers. 

2018 was a record year for Boyden Thailand, in search assignments and income. Some believe the best ever in our history. But hey, we have been in Thailand for 35 years, that’s a lot of history and numbers to remember. Continue reading “What my friends think I do – what do you think?”

Sometimes we recruiters forget that looking for a job is the hardest thing

As the days go by, no one returns your calls, when no one cares to reply to your emails; once again you curse the idiot of a boss who let you go from your most recent job. The guy who told you the company could do without you.  Aaarrgghhh.

As you climb the ladder in the organization, as you move up the pyramid towards the top, as you get bigger responsibilities and tougher challenges, as you also consequently enjoy a bigger pay cheque, so will the risk of being at the wrong place at the wrong time suddenly become very real. Continue reading “Sometimes we recruiters forget that looking for a job is the hardest thing”

3 things most HR Managers still don’t get

You will be surprised when you read this. Something so simple as knowing the Thai Labour law inside out. You would expect that from HR, right?

But here’s the sad news, the unexpected truth of the matter. During the last 15 years of interviewing HR managers, I have personally experienced that 80% of the candidates could not answer three basic labour law questions correctly. Continue reading “3 things most HR Managers still don’t get”

Dealing with an interviewer who won’t shut up – blah blah blah!

You are really in big trouble if you come across a job interviewer who just keeps talking.

What the interviewer really should be doing instead was asking questions, then listening to what you have to say about yourself and your work experience. You came for a job interview not to listen to a marketing presentation. Continue reading “Dealing with an interviewer who won’t shut up – blah blah blah!”

Get your staff pipeline ready for the war for talent

If you find it increasingly difficult to find new staff,  as you seek to grow your business or simply replace some who left you, sorry to say but you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Why is this fact not keeping all business executives up at night? Most have their heads buried in the sand and are seemingly unaware or ignoring the challenges that lie ahead. Continue reading “Get your staff pipeline ready for the war for talent”

Looking To Change Career? Avoid These Job Switch Killers

Did you ever think to yourself… “Been in my industry what seems a life time, too many years in my current position, I’ve been there, I’ve done that?”

Or have you suddenly and unexpectedly found yourself between jobs? Perhaps fired, cut from the payroll but still a family to take care of? Or at best, you called it quits yourself?

Welcome to the Club either way. The question is, how do you avoid being a permanent member of this Club of Wannabes?  When I look back at 15 years of headhunting candidates for management positions in Thailand, I have learned the following: Continue reading “Looking To Change Career? Avoid These Job Switch Killers”

Naively, hiring companies think recruiters work harder when in competition on a job search

Totally not true that recruitment firms work harder if competing with another recruitment company.  Let me explain.

Most recruitment firms in Thailand compete on price and not on service or the quality of candidates. A “contingency” recruitment firm will only be able to invoice their client if their candidate is hired. Only then will the recruitment firm receive an income and the recruitment consultant a commission. Continue reading “Naively, hiring companies think recruiters work harder when in competition on a job search”

How you should dress for the job interview?

If you are old enough, you may recall the shampoo commercial, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.

You must have heard the saying that a first impression can make or break a business opportunity or relationship. That includes anything from meeting customers, pitching your business to new clients, to dating for a romantic partner, and of course very much to job interviewing. Continue reading “How you should dress for the job interview?”

Do you have a non-compete clause in your employment agreement?

Are you one of the many employees in Thailand who willingly accepted a non-compete clause in your employment agreement? Or perhaps you were forced to accept a  non-compete as a condition for getting the new job?

In more and more countries around the world, the non-compete clause is illegal or it comes with a lot of restrictions. But unfortunately not yet in Thailand where employers can still demand that an employee cannot take work with a competitor for years. Continue reading “Do you have a non-compete clause in your employment agreement?”

Your CV is too long

Your CV is a personal Career Balance Sheet; like the Balance Sheet or Income Statement used in Accounting. The CV lists absolutely everything you have done since kindergarten, primary school, the first job to the current; it can include dates, periods, all training activities or articles, publications. You name it. It can stand the toughest of audits. Continue reading “Your CV is too long”

Talent Acquisition – Stop damaging your company’s reputation!

You have heard me talk about this before; the appalling service level to keep applicants and candidates updated on their interview process.

I met an executive the other day who was interviewed two months ago by a hiring company. So far, he has not received a follow up call or email, no thank you for considering a job with our company, nothing to say the job has been offered to another candidate (I’m just guessing because who knows?).

“Treat others how you want to be treated.” Continue reading “Talent Acquisition – Stop damaging your company’s reputation!”