A recent US survey estimates that 30 percent of candidates give misleading information either on their resume or in an interview. Hireright, a fraud detection company, recently released some interesting statistics that show how rampant resume fraud is in Silicon Valley. The survey was developed by bookkeeping the world's largest temporary staffing service for accounting, finance and book-keeping professionals. It revealed that 80 percent of all resumes are misleading, 20 percent state fraudulent degrees, 30 percent show altered employment dates, 40 percent have inflated salary claims, 30 percent have inaccurate job description, 35 percent list companies that no longer exist, and 27 percent give falsified references. Of these, inflated salaries are one, of the more tricky issues that have badgered Indian HR professionals over the year.
How many companies actually seek to assess the authenticity of the information provided by a candidate about his/her salary details? Is it right to do this? Several HR pros are of the view that it is ethically incorrect to question salary information provided by a candidate. Given the fact that such a large number of job-seekers do not provide accurate information during the interview, in the larger interests of the employer it is probably worthwhile to qualify figures through salary slips, etc.
Fortunately, it is possible to get various types of references and background checks done in India nowadays. Several multinationals firms in the executive search business have setup shop in the country and some of them have very strong reference checking products. The service can also be provided to clients on a standalone basis.
Indian corporates are still by and large skeptical about reference-checking as a source of valid information. The skeptics suggest that referees may not provide completely authentic feedback, as they would be potentially concerned about harming the career of the individual. However, as organisations and individuals are becoming more professional, this is clearly not a fact anymore. Reference checks have been known to turn up very interesting information, providing conclusive reasons about why a company should or should not hire an individual.
It has been noted that, if done correctly, reference checks can enhance the accuracy of an assessment done during an interview by nearly 20 percent. Background checks can also be done to authenticate credential and verify claims of achievements made during the interview. There are organisations that even provide credit rating information on an individual.
In a recent case a past boss, who was offered as referee by the candidate, clearly mentioned that, while the candidate's performance was outstanding, his ethics were suspect. He went on to specifically quote an instance where, in one of the past job, the individual had overpriced vendor contract and received the differential as a kickback. Obviously the candidate, who is a very senior and extremely capable professional, did not get the job.
References can work in favor of the candidate as well. In another recent example, Change phrase to a certain banker has been severely maligned by his immediate past employer for no exclusive fault of his. When this issue was investigated with other past employer and clients, the feedback clearly showed that the claims made by the immediate past employer were entirely invalid. This reference check actually went in favor of the candidate, whose current employer needed re-endorsement that his own assessment of the individual was accurate. Of course the candidate did get the job.
In today's competitive hiring environment,managers may be tempted to rush through the candidate evaluation process without conducting any background checks. And the irony is that these very same hiring managers rate honesty and integrity as the most critical qualities in a job candidate. But in today's professional world it surely doesn't pay to shy away from seemingly inquisitive and delicate issues.
If approached professionally, a background check can be dealt with a lot of finesse. The results can provide information valuable to the new employer in making a strategic decision that could prevent them from losing several millions of rupees. The costs associated with poor hiring decisions far outweigh any extra time or expense required to verify credentials.
In essence there can be no substitute for very strong referencing and authentic information to backup the interview process in all aspects of verifying credentials, salary details, academic qualifications, skills, achievements, and behavior of the individual that the company seeks to hire.
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