HR Hartley

truth may be out there, but not on most CVs

we had to sack yet another fibber from the company. He was a sales rep whose
claims about his past were even more outrageous than his claims about our
products. It turned out that he hadn’t left a previous employer in 1999 because
he’d been laid off. He’d been sacked for gross misconduct.

his claim that he’d been enjoying a gap year in 1997 was a little wide of the
mark. In fact, he’d spent time at Her Majesty’s pleasure. I accept that this is
probably more character-building than back-packing around Chechnya in Gap
baggies, but he still told a porkie.

truth emerged when an employee recognised him and grassed him up. It certainly
wasn’t due to our rigorous vetting procedures, which only spot the obvious lies
such as age and why the appointee left their previous job.

I draw comfort from the fact that we are not alone – it seems the whole land is
lying. And I’ve set up a body to devise ways of tightening our vetting

to recent figures from the Risk Advisory Group, 65 per cent of CVs submitted by
job applicants in 2003 contained lies – a rise of 16 per cent over the 2002
figure. Put simply, that’s two out of three applicants telling lies. Lying is
endemic – just look at the Government. But what can be done about a problem
that will worsen?

HR professionals would argue for improved vetting procedures that check out an
applicant’s claims. But I’d go further than that. Organisations beyond a
certain size should ensure that all vetting is done by one or two dedicated
personnel who are trained to spot, for example, inconsistencies in CVs. Don’t
leave vetting to line managers. They won’t spot the fibbers.

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