Saturday, November 20, 2010

Beware of fudging!

“Satyam computers has terminated 500 of its employees because they had fudged with their documents”

In a case of a reputed business conglomerate, there are examples where CVs are not verified and the truth is revealed gradually after recruitment, through various incidents. There was a case where an employee couldn’t recognise a colleague’s masters level certificate (from a reputed university) when the person had claimed to have completed Masters from the same university like that of the colleague; or checked from one boss’ secretary, the spelling of the name of an English medium missionary school (under West Bengal board) that was mentioned in one’s CV, whereas, in reality the person had actually studied in a government school for Bengali Muslims (under West Bengal board). The candidate’s diction gave away the reality even though in front of the other colleagues, the employee continued (till one’s exit) to stick to the name of the school mentioned in the CV! Same was for the candidate’s age (and other personal details that were verbally shared): instead of mentioning the actual age (mid-40s), the CV (including one’s passport) indicated it to be something in the 30s!

A false CV can help a employee to secure a job; but performance, body language and etiquettes would say a lot of things about the employee and one’s efficiency!

Fudging is not restricted to CVs only. You might see a secretary of a senior management person, mentioning something else (similar to that of another colleague) in the visiting card, instead of writing the exact designation mentioned in the appointment letter. Who would verify if the boss is unaware of it and the administration segment is not involved in the procedure of getting the visiting cards done? The truth was noticed only when the person was filling up the appraisal form before it was taken to one’s boss. Avoid giving the designation in the visiting card if you are embarrassed to mention it! mentions that candidates usually lie about qualifications, employment dates, job titles, technical skills, achievements. According to Ashish Dehade, managing director, West Asia, First Advantage Pvt. Ltd (a background screening and verification company) more than 90% of the registered companies don’t verify about education, address, previous employment, criminal record, references etc though there are some large firms that insist on detailed verifications. As a result, the growing importance of candidate verification has generated a new business opportunity for background screening companies.

The Association of Search and Selection consultants estimates that 25% of the CVs contain false information, ranging from fudged dates to hide a career gap, to falsified identities to conceal a bad credit history or worse. Karen Edwards, co-director of the Brighton-based Personnel Risk Management, which specialises in providing City firms with pre-employment scrutinising services, believes that "in 25% of cases, something comes up” and in “one week it was 57%." He mentioned that “one IT department was told it was going to be checked and there were 12 resignations in one week."

Debbie Beecroft, an associated at Ernst & Young's fraud-investigation group, says fraudsters often turn out to be long-serving, trusted workers who know the systems and procedures well enough to work them. This can be avoided if pre-employment verification is done thoroughly.

Preventive measures:

Unlike that of the past, the check should happen at all levels. Companies like Wipro Ltd, Infosys Technologies and Satyam Computer Services take action against employees (terminating of services and blacklisting of such candidates and recruiters) involved in fudging résumés. ICICI Bank Ltd, witnessed 17,000 new recruits in 2007, 400 to 500 of which had misrepresented facts in their résumés. The bank has set up a fraud prevention unit that functions as an independent auditor and keeps an eye out for risks and frauds threatening the organization, including recruitment-related fraud. Every new employee undergoes a full background check. The candidate verification process to specialist agencies is outsourced. “Companies in India don’t lodge complaints of white-collar fraud with the police. In that sense, we are letting the same people (fraudsters) circulate in the system,” says Ramkumar of ICICI Bank. “So, unless an organization is very vigilant, it is difficult to curb this menace.”

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and Samsung India Electronics keep track through an in-house reference check process. Prabir Jha, the global head of HR at Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, mentions that the HR department calls up the referees provided in a résumé, the candidate’s previous boss, peers and juniors before hiring.

Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd (formerly Sony Entertainment Network) believes that 3% of total new hires produce fudged résumés. The discrepancies involve falsification of educational qualifications, work experience, job roles and projects, and inflated compensation figures. Some don’t hesitate to submit fake certificates and documents. Multi Screen Media has a team, which oversees the background check process and also hires third-party agencies for the verification process.

KPMG’s forensic practice helps organizations conduct background checks. “It is a serious issue that can have long-lasting repercussions,” says Rohit Mahajan, executive director, forensic services, KPMG India. A bad hire not only impacts business efficiency, but can have consequences such as theft of intellectual property, leakage of confidential information or misuse of resources. The key offerings of KPMG’s background verification services include database verification, which helps clients ascertain if the candidate has been reported for any misconduct; education, employment and reference verification; criminal verification; and address verification.

TCS once sacked 20 employees for furnishing fudged résumés. The organisation has a team within its recruitment unit, responsible for overseeing the verification process. At TCS, a candidate’s credentials are verified on various parameters through specialized agencies. Dabur’s HR team conducts pre-and post-employment reference checks and asks recruitment agencies to verify the personal credentials of candidates. For critical job roles, it hires independent agencies for background checks.

As mentioned in, the agency deals with validating of diplomas – including the verification of the date of passing, grades achieved; or the schools/ universities are approached to check the authenticity of the details provided. Other details like the career history, dates of the candidate's employment, positions held in the company and the the reasons for leaving are also verified. It is done through employer reference checking or by contacting the candidate's former superior(s) or the HR department.

If after reading all this, you are thinking twice about applying for a new job, then be careful – your CV could also be considered as an object of investigation. At times employers even check out their existing workers!

- nilanjana


  1. Hi

    I read this post 2 times. It is very useful.

    Pls try to keep posting.

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    Best regards

  2. I need more details about background check of pre and post employment in details or the flow of the verification .

  3. Background screening services is unique way of find the employees who lies in resume.