While it is easy to embellish one's own expertise, some
employees are particularly adept at exaggerating their skills and
experience to secure a new role.
Managers are reputed to be the worst offenders at making false
claims on their CVs. According to a study by talent measurement
consultants SHL in Sydney, 39 per cent of managers were honest
enough to admit to lying in their resumes.
Fabricating references and forging practising certificates and
birth certificates has been all in a day's work for several New
Zealand job applicants, including:
Rosylin Radha Singh, an Auckland nurse, was struck off the
Nurse's Register after altering her practising certificate and
providing false references in order to secure employment during
suspension by the Nursing Council.
Convicted child offender Te Rito Henry Miki, pleaded guilty in
the criminal court to seven charges of using false CVs and a
falsified birth certificate in order to gain teaching positions in
New Zealand schools.
Employment lawyer Shadrach Darren Mitchell was struck off the
Roll of Barristers and Solicitors for failing to declare his
extensive criminal history to his employer and the New Zealand Law
Where job applicants misrepresent skills and qualifications in
their CVs, job applications and interviews, they might get jobs for
which they may not actually have the skills - with subsequent
potential for performance issues. Staff may lack the skills and
qualifications necessary to safely and competently perform duties
It can be difficult to dismiss staff, so it is best to carry out
extensive background checks before offering employment.
You can deter and act on job applicants obtaining a job through
deception in the following ways:
Include a clause in the Job Application form that the employee
has "not omitted or misrepresented any material facts that
could affect their employment", and that any "offer of
employment is subject to satisfactory background checks."
In the job interview, discuss details of the position and find
out whether the employee has suitable experience to perform the
Ask the job applicants' consent to perform background
checks relevant to the position. Check the applicants'
educational, professional and trade qualifications, and ask
detailed questions in job interviews to ensure that their job
applicants have the required experience to perform the
Check references, or hire a pre-employment screening agency to
do this. Contact a referee on their business landline number rather
than personal cell phone, so that you are less likely to speak to
someone who might be impersonating the referee. Ask the referee
questions relating to their relationship with the job
You should be satisfied with the results of all background
checks before offering employment. Otherwise, you may need to deal
with your new employee through a disciplinary process.
Protect your business through terms and conditions in your
employment agreements. "Trial periods" can prove a useful
way to assess a new employee's suitability for a position. If
implemented correctly, you can rely on the trial period to dismiss
an employee within the first 90 days of employment, without the
employee being able to raise a personal grievance about the
dismissal. Deal with the employee in good faith, and address any
relevant issues relating to performance, to reduce the risk of
other legal action. Courts have taken a strict approach towards the
use of trial periods, so if in doubt, seek legal advice.
If you find out that your new recruit might have misrepresented
or deceived you to get the job, follow a fair disciplinary process.
Consider the seriousness of the alleged misrepresentation, such as
whether it relates to a material fact that influenced your choice,
and whether the deception could be a matter for the Police.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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