News reports of qualification scandals involving high level administrators in the public and private sector, alike, continue to stress the critical importance of comprehensive background screening checks.

All job seekers are urged to be honest, as the personal risks associated with being found out for misrepresentation or fraud can be far greater.

“The country is still experiencing a tough economic climate, and unemployment numbers remain high at 26.7%1. This also means there are more people not only looking, but competing for employment opportunities,” says Michelle Baron-Williamson, CEO of Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE). “Despite this, job seekers must never give into despair as they seek to make themselves more ’employable’ to increase their chances – representing themselves honestly at all times must be a top priority.”

According to MIE research, more and more businesses are opting to conduct comprehensive background screening checks on potential candidates – to verify the qualifications and work experience held by the candidate – prior to appointment.

“Businesses are looking to mitigate and manage their human resource and procurement risks. At a base level the process of background screening usually involves identification, criminal record, qualification and credit checks. However, we are seeing growing demand from our clients and the market for more comprehensive checks and consulting services that offer a ‘single-view’ of the candidate. And, this often includes the work experience a candidate states having, their past employment opportunities, social media profiles and so on.

“If a candidate is found to have falsified documents or misrepresented details of work history in any way, this can have a damming impact on their opportunities to secure employment – now and in the future,” adds Baron-Williamson.

MIE urges all job seekers to remain honest; to ensure that all the information included on an individual’s CV, or that is presented during a formal job interview, is factual and truthful.

Baron-Williamson indicates that while a candidate may be tempted to ’embellish’ certain aspects of their qualifications or work experience, it is not worth the potential personal risk.

“If a candidate has embellished, lied or skewed details about themselves in anyway, this could lead to the candidate being disqualified from the interview process, and even ‘black listed’ from applying for any future available job positions with the same organisation. But, this is actually the ‘best-case-scenario’.”

As public awareness grows and government and businesses, alike, feel more pressured to take a hardline against any fraudulent activities that can be linked to their entities, the market can expect to see more investigations into such instances.

“If a candidate is found to have willfully committed fraud they could face criminal charges, which will give them a criminal record that will follow them for the rest of their lives,” says Baron-Williamson.

“We encourage all job seekers to apply for positions they are suitably fit for – both in having the correct qualifications and the necessary work experience – and to be honest about any gaps that present opportunities for new learnings, and what they can really offer the organisation.

“While the job market may be tough, a candidate should never be willing to compromise on their credibility – and should always be true to themselves,” she adds.