Indian background checks show surge in fake CVs

Business background companies operating in India report over a quarter of résumés being submitted by job applicants within the region contain lies or discrepancies.

MUMBAI - 7. Juli 2015.

In a survey, the US-based provider of background checks HireRight found that of the quarter of cases of falsified information it detected in Indian job applicants' CVs half concerned false qualifications and a fifth concerned fake employment history.

Its findings were based on 218,427 checks carried out in India from January 2014 to April 2015 and show a near doubling of fake information contained within CVs, compared to the previous year.

Within the Asia Pacific region, India ranked fourth in false CV information behind the Philippines with 30 per cent, followed by Malaysia with 27 per cent and Japan at 26 per cent.

Experts warn that so many Indian job seekers are now taking shortcuts by falsifying their résumés that international employers consider the country a nation of fakes within the global talent marketplace.

Recent high-profile cases of CV fraud in India include an Air India pilot being suspended after it emerged he provided employers with bogus educational qualifications; the minister for Goa, Sudin Dhavalikar's university degree being publicly challenged, and Delhi one-time court supremo Singh Tomar being arrested over fake degree allegations.

In many cases in India, high-level staff and CEO applicants can be as deceptive as fresh graduates when applying for jobs, with fake salary slips and designations presented or sexual assault and harassment histories being hidden from prospective employers.

A survey by background check company Authbridge last year showed eight per cent of offers made for top positions in India were withdrawn when screening processes revealed candidates had provided false information.

Top-level hire verification can include forensic audits and integrity checks that present findings on professional misconduct, ethics and integrity issues, controversial exits, management style and social behaviour.

However, at the graduate level the number of fake certificates being issued from thousands of fake universities and bogus institutes has ballooned over the past three years.

When Rajasthan police arrested staff at Jodhpur National University in January they found 38,000 fake degrees had been issued there. Similarly, a 2010 affidavit from the Central Bureau of Investigation in Bombay's High Court revealed it was investigating 51,576 cases of fake degrees.

But the Asian explosion in job applicant fraud is spelling good fortune for reliable verification companies operating in the area.

KPMG's India Verifications team is currently running 50,000 checks a month and reports its revenue growth from CV checking in India rising 50 per cent, year-on-year. It estimates the local job candidate-checking marketplace is now worth $40m, annually.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce of India says half of employers in India are going a step further, opting to use their own in-house departments to verify resumes.

Many multinationals operating in India are starting to cross-audit investigation results by sending results delivered by one verification company to another company: ostensibly to 'watch the watchers', but doubling the amount of business going to the verification industry.

The bulk of CV checking requests come from the IT, ITES, pharmaceutical, banking and finance and hospitality sectors... but in any of these industries, the cost of a bad hire to an organisation can be five times an employee's annual salary.


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