Don’t let fraudsters sabotage your businesses

Peter Dawson

Peter Dawson

The threat of people fraudulently representing themselves using creative licence is real and is evidenced in up to one in five resumes including false and misleading information that is designed to get potential employees leap frogging their competition.

This fraudulent activity ranges from lies of omission where dates of unemployment are ‘smoothed out’ of a resume through to including blatant misinformation regarding responsibilities, achievements and academic qualifications.

Where the fraudster has mastered the art of pressing all the hot point buttons at interview drawing on a plethora of fictional stories supporting his claims to be a high performance candidate, you have a potentially lethal cocktail that can lull the employer in to a false sense of security. This vulnerability can lead to a serious lapse in judgement and proper screening processes become compromised. At worst there is cursory attention paid to undertaking due diligence on the candidate and an offer is made when it shouldn’t be.

The high profile case of Andrew Flanagan is telling in that he built a career with an impressive but fraudulent resume securing the role of general manager strategy and business development with Myer and he had also been hired for a senior executive role at Inditex owner of Zara and the recruitment firm Carmichael Fischer. At this level you would have expected that there were stringent screening procedures overseen by experienced professional recruiters who have the ability to weed out potential fraudsters and that those designated by the company to undertake the interviews would have been able to find the chinks in the fraudsters armour. But alas this was not the case and Flanagan went on to join these companies that are now dealing with the issue of reputational damage.

The salutary lesson here is that if a fraudster can trick his way in to major corporates then there are many others who set their sights on less ambitious targets and a position in your business might be one of them. Before you dismiss this case as not being an everyday occurrence you should give some consideration to the bulk of fraudsters who trick up their resumes using information that to the uninitiated may seem valid.

The exaggeration of achievements is a common target for fraudsters and often they will do so to the extent that it will not seem overstated and subject to question. Smoothing dates of unemployment, unfinished courses of study not enrolled for or have not been completed, job titles that have elevated the seniority of a role, professional designations that have not been awarded, professional associations to which there is no membership or where it has lapsed, voluntary work not undertaken and the list goes on.

Fraudsters treat interviews as a challenge and they often prepare themselves as actors readying themselves for the first night of their performance. They rehearse interview questions through Googling a range of websites that carry a wide array of questions including those designed to draw out behavioural characteristics. Additionally, there are a plethora of books and articles that contain detailed guidance as to how best position your-self in interviews with a number advising on how to manipulate the interview process.

Armed and dangerous they are now ready to assail your business but there are measures you can adopt to ensure that you are in the best position to sort out these fraudsters. Your starting point is in the planning of your recruitment strategy where you should give consideration to the resources you will need to undertake the recruitment program. This will include your decision to DIY or engage the services of a professional recruiter. If you decide to DIY then you need to make sure that you have the experience and the time to devote to the recruitment process which will include the search for and screening of relevant candidates over a six to eight week period. Alternatively, if you think you are better suited to working with a recruiter then you need to ensure that they have a track record of placing positions similar to the one you are seeking to fill and that you feel that you can work well with them.

Recruitment is one of the most challenging business activities that you can undertake particularly when you may be faced with fraudsters who are intent on joining your business. If you are unsure as to which option is best suited to you then you might consider drawing on the advice of those who have the experience to provide you with the guidance you need.

Successful Recruitment – Transforming your business through best practice has been written by a former financial services executive who has worked as a recruiter over the last twelve years in conjunction with a senior human resources consultant. The new edition of Successful Recruitment provides you with balanced guidance as to your recruitment choices and includes a range of tips and tools to help you avoid the costly pitfalls including how to conduct interviews and undertake diligent candidate screening.

To help you make the right decisions and avoid the costly pitfalls of recruitment, Successful Recruitment is available on Amazon. 

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