11 June 2014
YOUNG people looking to enter the job market would do well to be honest when compiling their CVs.
Private and public companies can access a great deal of information about applicants - from the validity of their identity documents and driving licences, to the legitimacy of their qualifications and professional statuses.
The founder of Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE), Ina van der Merwe, says high unemployment and tough competition for jobs has led to people being inclined to embellish their CVs.
"Our statistics show between 18 and 20 percent of job applicants are dishonest about something on their CVs.
"Because they have access to a large pool of unemployed people, employers are increasingly spoilt for choice, and many have in-creased their job entry levels," she says.
In this milieu, job applicants feel pressured to present themselves in the best light possible. This, says Van der Merwe, leads to two main types of CV fraud.
"The first is the outright lie, in which applicants incorporate qualifications they don`t have. I`ve witnessed many instances when people studying for degrees will put qualifications on their CVs before they have actually obtained them.
"The second type of CV fraud is omitting factors such as having a criminal record or being in debt. These are, of course, things people don`t want to mention on their CVs, but they may come up in the interview, and they will definitely come up when a background-screening test is conducted.
"With the increase in CV fraud, the demand is growing for background screening and referencechecking. For many organisations, the process forms part of their recruitment policy. In many instances, an appointment cannot be finalised until a background check has been conducted by the recruitment agency or company.
Employers can access all the information they need by enlisting background-screening and reference-checking services from an organisation like MIE.
The company has the technology and access to information to offer employers reports on individuals they have shortlisted for a particular job.
"This is why it is so important for job seekers to be transparent on their CVs," says Van der Merwe.
"If they have a credit record, they need to explain how it happened and what plans they have in place to rectify the situation. If it has been left off the CV it needs to be communicated to the inter-viewer. By being upfront, there won`t be any surprises or awkward, negative repercussions for anyone.
"The same applies to acrimonious ends to job relationships."It`s important not to cover these things up, as they will emerge through the reference check."
Van der Merwe advises the general public to keep important documents, such as matric and tertiary certificates, well protected.
"These documents are precious. It is costly and time-consuming to get duplicates."
If job applicants want to be proactive, they can request background-screening reports online from MIE for about R150. This can accompany their CVs and convey a message of transparency, legitimacy and integrity.
Ina van der Merwe is the chief executive of MIE.
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