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Beware a job applicant’s murky past

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Well over a tenth of South Africans who apply for jobs have a criminal record – and a fair proportion of them have more than one.
This is one of the findings from the Annual Screening Report Findings for 2015 from EMPS, South Africa’s oldest background screening company. The report is an in-depth look at the statistics and trends in employee background checks over the past year.
For the second year running the results show that 11,8% of applicants checked have a confirmed criminal record. Additionally, 21% those with a criminal record have a theft related conviction, over 35% have more than one criminal record and over 16% have three or more records.
The report finds that 1% of applicants checked in 2015 were listed on the SA Fraud Prevention Service Database. This database is a listing of frauds committed that are generally not prosecuted criminally (application/ CV/qualification fraud, credit card fraud, credit application fraud, insurance fraud and identity fraud).
Despite the credit amnesty granted to all South Africans in 2014, in an effort to help job applicants increase their chances of getting into the job market, there were still 15% of job applicants with a negative credit listing in 2015.
Over 1% of ID documents screened were either never issued by Home Affairs or belonged to a deceased person.
Of all the qualifications that were submitted for verification in 2015, 15,7% could not be verified. Of these unverified qualifications, 3,48% were confirmed to be fraudulent. The most prevalent fraud occurring with matric certificates, professional association memberships and trade certificates.
According to Kirsten Halcrow, CEO of EMPS: “The use of background screening by South African business is most definitely increasing annually. Companies unfortunately often realise the hard way what risk one unscrupulous employee can do to their business. Pre-employment background checks is one way to reduce that risk and ensure that you don’t hire that one in 10”.