CV fraud is not on the rise despite an increase in high-profile cases, says Luke Battah, head of Australian-based background screening company AIM Screening Group.
He told HR Report cases like former Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson, who resigned this month after a fake science degree was found on his official company biography, focused attention on a constant problem. “Basically, the experience we have had suggests roughly 25% of all resumés have some form of discrepancy,” he said. They might be small or irrelevant, done by the candidate or an over-zealous recruiter, but were very rarely accidental. Battah said employers should treat CVs as marketing documents rather than statements of facts. “As a concept, there are more high-profile incidences of [CV fraud] occurring,” he said. “Companies are getting quite badly bitten. [Proper background screening] is now accepted as good business practice”.
Battah said discrepancies were not always candidates’ doing. University searches, for instance, occasionally failed to display legitimate degrees. “Sometimes, like any database, they can contain errors,” he said. “It only takes a couple of wrong keystrokes. Our suggestion is always to give the candidates the opportunity to mitigate or remedy.” At the other end of the scale, he has had people claim their criminal records come from mistaken identity.”That’s easily sorted – they can go to the local police station and submit their fingerprints for a search.” Not all took the opportunity.
As examples of high-profile cases with claims of CV discrepancy, Battah pointed to:
- British-born Stephen Wilce, who was appointed as chief defence scientist and director of New Zealand’s Defence Technology Agency, but later found to have made false claims about his background. He was dismissed.
- Timothy McCormack was jailed for impersonating a Qantas maintenance engineer. Between 2006 and 2007, he signed aircraft safety inspections.
- Hohepa ‘Joel’ Morehu-Barlow was charged with embezzling more than $16m from Qld Health in a case still before the courts.
In a May 13 statement, Yahoo! said simply “Scott Thompson, former chief executive officer … has left the company”, without detailing reasons.
Source: Thomson Reuters’ HR Report, 30 May 2012.