Recruitment: Check to identify dishonest applicants

Many employers are still uncovering discrepancies, inaccuracies and lies in candidates’ job applications, according to Personnel Today’s sister publication Employment Review.

The study of 177 employers showed that applicants made dishonest claims about their experience, qualifications and criminal convictions (see table, right). This reinorces the need for thorough background checks – particularly for positions of trust.

Eight in 10 employers (79.1%) were found to conduct background checks for all their vacancies, while one in five (20.9%) did so for some of their posts.

More than eight in 10 (85.3%) use six or more vetting methods for positions of trust, some of which are likely to be reserved for specialist posts.

References are the most common background-checking method, used by 99.4% of respondents. However, the jury is out on how useful they really are.

Almost eight in 10 employers (78%) said that they hardly ever received references with unfavourable or critical opinions about an applicant. And almost eight in 10 did not receive references that commented on candidates’ behaviour or personalities.

The second most popular method used for background checks are disclosures (79.1%), sought mainly from the Criminal Records Bureau, or Disclosure Scotland.

85.3% of the employers surveyed about the service provided by the CRB has a were either very or fairly satisfied.

However, a quarter (26.7%) said they were either fairly or very dissatisfied with the speed of the service, and almost one-third (32.4%) said they were fairly or highly dissatisfied with the cost.

Of the 54.8% of employers that had experienced difficulties with the speed of disclosures over the past two years, three-quarters (75%) said they had led to staff being appointed before their disclosure had arrived.

Delays had also led to posts remaining unfilled for unacceptably long periods of time (56%), and more than four in 10 (46%) had lost candidates who were fed up of waiting to hear whether or not they had got job.

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