Abu Dhabi: If it seems like the job market is only getting more and more competitive every year, it’s probably because it is. And while that has pushed many to pursue higher degrees and learn more skills, it has also pushed others to exaggerate certain details on their resumes.
According to the latest report by Crowe Horwath, an accounting and advisory firm based in New York, background checks in 2015 showed a higher-than-average rate of discrepancies between résumés and applicants’ actual skills or background. In fact, almost 18 per cent of all background checks on job applications in 2015 across different countries showed inconsistencies.
This was largely driven by jobseekers’ temptation to beat competition in job markets that include India, Philippines, Nigeria, USA, UK, Pakistan, Egypt, and Oman, among others where Crowe Horwath conducted its study.
Employment history and education were the major components where employers found glaring inconsistencies, and accounted for 69 per cent and 19 per cent respectively of all discrepancies.
Such inconsistencies included incorrect information on the institution of education, qualification, or grade received; manipulation in dates of employment; inaccurate job titles and wages; and even submission of false or forged documents.
In fact, 60 per cent of the inconsistencies were listed as “major discrepancies” while the remaining 40 per cent were “minor discrepancies.”
“Hiding a few facts on their resumes to meet the job requirements is becoming increasingly popular for candidates. Commonly, this would only constitute small exaggerations such as extending a job’s tenure to cover three months of unemployment, omitting the word ‘Assistant’ before their Manager title, or adding languages, job responsibilities and professional qualifications that they haven’t necessarily completed,” said Annalinde Nickisch, human resources consultant at The Thought Factory in Dubai.
This has placed growing importance on pre-employment screening and vetting of new hires — a process that is still not performed by all employers.
In the UAE, such screening is particularly important, Crowe Horwath said in its report.
“With the UAE’s workforce heavily relying on expatriate labour to sustain the country’s economic growth, pre-employment screening and assessment of foreign job seekers has been thrust into the limelight as the purpose is to assure the company [it] is hiring a reliable and qualified candidate,” the company said.
Crowe Horwath pointed that skipping a background screening can lead to hiring of wrong employees, which in turn may result in damage to the business and lead to higher costs, employee turnover, and lower morale.
“Wrong hires are expensive. Background checks reduce the high cost of employee turnover by screening in employees who stay longer. Lack of it may lead to financial and revenue loss as the business will be required to spend more on staff training and development,” the report said.
But that’s not all. Employers also risk legal challenges if they do not perform background checks as wrong hires may undermine a company’s reputation and overall business.
The Thought Factory’s Nickisch said that many employers discover they accepted the wrong candidates only after they are employed.
“Conducting a pre-employment screening is key to eliminating this unnecessary risk. Most organisations conduct the pre-employment screening before the issuance of the employment offer visa their internal HR department or the assigned recruitment agency.
Though most companies with established HR departments conduct reference checks, the depth in which pre-employment screenings are conducted varies significantly from organisation to organisation,” she said.
Nickish pointed that many HR departments are not equipped enough, though, to handle thorough background screenings, creating growing demand in the region for third-party companies providing such services.