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Beware of fraudulent credentials

KPMG says one-third of job seekers exaggerate their salaries and achievements to prospective employers, giving wrong job titles.

india Updated: Sep 12, 2006 16:49 IST

He claimed that he worked as a Transaction Process Executive with a BPO service unit for six months, where he took customers' requests for a US-based telecom company. But when a search company probed the candidate's background, it was discovered that not only did his experience not add up, a few months ago, he had posted a different CV to match another job profile.

"Claiming to be a graduate from Bangalore University, he had changed his Date of Joining, while applying to the two companies," revealed Kavitha Reddy, Associate Vice-President Team Lease, who has come across several such 'doctored CVs' in her career.

And, while we all make some cosmetic changes (read: updates) to our CVs when we apply to another company, if these imply material changes, then a prospective employer can easily brand the resulting document as 'fake'.

In this context, this year's Fraud Survey, conducted by KPMG, also reveals that a large number of Indian companies are concerned about the rising incidences of mis leading information furnished by potential applicants and their difficulty in uncovering such discrepancies on their CVs. This can lead to an increased risk (13 per cent) of fraud arising from internal sources, ac cording to the KPMG survey.

Reddy, for instance, recalled the case of a candidate, who applied for a banking job, claiming that he had worked in the credit card industry for six years but on close questioning by the search company revealed that he had no knowledge of any credit product. His, CV, however painted a different picture altogether.

"Fake CVs are a reflection of two major issues plaguing the employment industry," says Reddy: ? The cocky candidate's assumption that "I will not be caught" ? Increased pressure of finding quality candidates who can match up to the skill-sets and standards set by companies, especially in the BPO sector It is mainly to mitigate this threat that the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) and the BPO sector (in collaboration with National Securities Depository Ltd.) are now in the process of creating a comprehensive national registry of employees, which will hopefully strike a balance between maintaining a candidate's privacy, while at the same time giving recruiting companies some leeway to check the backgrounds of the staff they take in. The registry is meant to cover most pertinent areas, such as validation of personal details, address, qualification, employment history, photograph and signature, so that all the black sheep can be blacklisted.

Meanwhile, in the KPMG survey, respondents pointed out four main threat areas on a CV where information is generally fudged: ? Bloated salaries (23 per cent) ? Inflated accomplishments (20 per cent) ? Inaccurate dates to hide job-hopping or gaps in employment (17 per cent) ? Exaggerated job titles (12 per cent) The survey also points out that in many cases (nearly 46 per cent), company headhunters are taken for a ride and are not able to uncover the danger.

And, another tragic aspect of this problem is that even job contenders appear unaware of the impact such actions can have on their long-term careers.

During the course of her talks with such candidates, Reddy, for instance, was appalled to discover that "they do not appear to appreciate that most organisations have now begun to hire verification agencies. So, the 'truth' is bound to come out sooner or later and boomerang."