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Are your candidates claiming to be something they’re not?



I am really behind on TV box sets and typically, I’m usually late to the party on the popular series that everyone is talking about. In fact, I am one of what feels like the few people who can claim to have never watched an episode of Game of Thrones. However, a recent BBC series had me hooked. Trust Me is about a hard-working nurse who steals her friend’s identity to gain a new job as a senior doctor. So far, so entertaining.

A few episodes in and our main character, Ally, takes the deception even further by fraudulently obtaining a passport to confirm her new identity. Much tension ensues of will they/won’t they find out her secret or will she/won’t she come clean before accidentally misdiagnosing someone. It’s definitely worth a watch….

However, viewing recommendations aside, this is clearly an extreme example of job seeker fraud.

It is thought that 58% of all CVs contain discrepancies. So that’s over half of documents used to apply for jobs with false claims which, under the Fraud Act 2006, constitutes as fraud. It’s serious stuff. Ok you might dodge a bullet but you could well end up with someone who at best, can’t do what they claim on their CV or at worst is not who they say they are.

How can you avoid falling foul of someone who claims to be something or someone they are not?

Here are 5 steps to follow:

1) Identity Checks

As a starter, you can check social media channels to make sure the person’s identity ties up. There is no policing on places like LinkedIn to verify if any of the detail they enter is accurate but it’s a good place to start. For example, you can see if you have any mutual connections with the person, either professionally on LinkedIn or perhaps personally on Facebook, Instagram and so on.When it comes to making an offer, and getting a new team member on board – more formal identity checks are useful and sometimes a necessity. Ask for the individual’s passport, driving licence or go through a company who specialise in background and identity checks. If your candidate is from outside the EU then checking visas and right to work documents are also a must.

2) Candidate Testing

Job applicants can often over-hype their skills or even agree that they can do something when, in reality, they have no idea how. Medical skills like in the tv series I mention above are an extreme example but often candidates will say ‘yes’ when asked if they have the relevant skills or knowledge. Better to find out from the outset whether they can use spreadsheets, accurately capture data, prioritise their workload, spot errors and so on rather than taking the risk and their word for it.

3) Background Checking

Was the potential new recruit employed or educated where they say they were? This might not seem like a big issue but what are they trying to hide or what false image are they trying to create. Dates need to tie up as well. This point links into references (below) but basic checks about someone’s employment and whereabouts are a good way to ensure you’re not subject to fraud.

4) Disclosure and Barring Checks (known as DBS checks)

DBS checks are perhaps still known to many as CRB checks (criminal records bureau). You are essentially looking to see if someone has a criminal record. This may be an irrelevant point for you particularly if it doesn’t affect the job role or you are giving the person an opportunity. However, for some roles you might be recruiting for, particularly where the candidate will be working with children or vulnerable adults, DBS checks are a must. Don’t skip them.

5) References and Certificates

You’ve done the background and ID check, assessed the candidates and invited a few fortunate individuals in for interview. After one particularly amazing interview you find your dream candidate. You clicked. They totally ‘got’ you and your business and you’re confident they will fit perfectly in the team. So much so, you make them an offer and you’re planning their induction already. It’s only once the successful candidate walks through the door that you think about references. It is always worth that phone call or email.

Ok, you might find out something that will burst your bubble but better to find that out now before you waste time and salary on someone who won’t work out. Best case, it reinforces your view and you make a new connection, one who could even turn into a prospect for you.

Back to the TV series again, ‘Trust Me’ was a phrase definitely not to be taken as a given in this case. Whilst most people will not go to these lengths to find a job, many will inflate their credentials and skills on their CV.

So, please do trust me that the checks and balances above will save you a headache in the long run.

Written by Amanda Davies, Managing Director at ISV Software, the ultimate skills testing platform.

The full article can be found on ISV Software and also on expert social media site, Green Umbrella. Image provided by Green Umbrella –


Voyager Infinity and Voyager Mid-Office are software solutions that make Recruiters’ lives easier. Voyager Infinity is a CRM used by thousands of recruiters globally to source, nurture and maintain the relationships with their clients and candidates, and Mid-Office manages the entire Pay and Bill process (IR35 ready).