CV and qualification fraud has taken the South African spotlight recently, with high profile individuals publicly accused of lying about their academic achievements.

For example, in July 2014, former SABC board chairwoman, Ellen Tshabalala tendered her resignation after she falsely claimed that she held a BComm and postgraduate diploma in labour relations. Unfortunately a similar spate of scandals involving prominent people have continued to emerge.

Quest’s recent whitepaper, “A report on the culture of dishonesty -fraudulent qualification & falsified curriculum vitae”, delves into the prominence of CV and qualification fraud within the international and South African contexts, as well as solutions available in the market to combat this growing concern for business.

Quest CEO, Kay Vittee says: “Job-seekers in South Africa face high levels of unemployment and with limited access to tertiary education, CV fraud has reached epidemic proportions.

“While the majority of CVs contain ‘white lies’ – such as inaccurate dates or timelines, inflated job titles or embellished achievements – others contain gross qualification or experience fabrications,” she adds.
Vittee refers to statistics from South Africa’s largest background screening company, Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE), which paint a worrying picture:

* From 2010 to 2012 a gradual – but steady – increase in the number of matric certificates that indicate risk during their verification process, grew by 1% every year from 21% in 2010.
* Of the 2.3-million checks conducted in the private and public sectors in 2012, 16% did not disclose a criminal record or had listed fake qualifications on their CV.
* In the past five years (2009 – 2014), qualification fraud in South Africa has increased by a staggering 200%.
Vittee highlights that business leaders need to consider the prominence of this trend and act accordingly to avoid serious financial and legal risks related to hiring a candidate at face value – without verifying his or her academic and professional claims.

“Just seeing a CV or certificate is no longer sufficient.

“A company who employs someone who is unqualified to do a job can be sued for negligence by customers or patients if anyone is harmed as a result of their misconduct. In the event of a disaster and loss of life, the cost to your business and your brand can be immeasurable,” Vittee explains.

She says that applying rigorous and thorough procedures throughout the hiring process will ensure that your company is protected from CV and qualification fraud.

“Consult a professional, reputable staffing and recruitment agency who partners with a background screening and verification company. As part of their outsourced recruitment offering, staffing and recruitment agencies will assist you in implementing a stringent interview process and vet the validity of the professional and academic claims of job-seekers,” Vittee adds.