A $5000 fine has highlighted the need for businesses to become more vigilant in screening job applicants, an industry expert has warned.
Tudor Marsden-Huggins, the managing director of Brisbane-based recruitment firm Employment Office, says his company has noticed a growing trend of candidates who show a disconnect between their applications and LinkedIn profiles.
Marsden-Huggins says the issue came to light while the company was advertising for a chief executive position in Western Australia, where false information provided by applicants who are applying for a chief executive role in local government can result in a $5000 fine for the individual.
“People are talking to us about how they see a bigger difference between resumes and reality, and background checks are being done pretty badly too,” he told SmartCompany.
“This particular example of local government regulations in this area which can impose a fine was quite interesting, and illustrates the potential of what can happen here.”
The issue of candidates embellishing their applications is hardly a new problem, and Marsden-Huggins estimates about 25% of candidates either lie or exaggerate an application.
But Marsden-Huggins says employers need to step up their game, especially as LinkedIn is providing another resource by which you can check a person’s application against their own profile.
“People do tailor their resumes, but they can’t go changing their profile every five minutes, and that’s highlighted the lack of consistency between the two sometimes,” he says.
“Resumes are more formal, and they’ll put their degree on there and so on, but on LinkedIn they’re more likely to list a qualification without much rigour.”
“For example, people are much more comfortable in listing a degree they didn’t actually finish.”
Marsden-Huggins also points to criminal checks, which aren’t being completed as much as he believes they should. He says the case of Joel Barlow, a Queensland Health employee who defrauded the government of $16 million after dubbing himself a Tahitian prince, could have been avoided if a check had been conducted in his home country of New Zealand.
Marsden-Huggins says businesses need to start conducting more criminal checks, but more importantly, they should amend the recruitment process to the actual role.
“Often, human resources departments don’t have the skills to do appropriate vetting, and they just don’t have the time,” he says. “Human resources staff are not necessarily the best recruiters and agencies often want to sell a candidate as well.”
“We’d recommend a more rigorous, transparent process tailored to suit the role. You need to constantly check that applications haven’t been embellished…otherwise there’s likely to be short-term gain and long-term pain.”