Fraudulent Representation on CV’s

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With the high unemployment rate in South Africa currently at 29.1% in quarter 3 of 2019, it’s not unusual to find job applicants who try to deceive employers in order to improve their chances of getting employed. To worsen this problem, the age of technology makes it even more prevalent to come across candidates who convincingly misrepresent their qualifications in interviews and on their CV’s.

When a simple search like “buy fake degree South Africa” gets 89 000 000 results it is very clear that the demand for this service is very huge. According to the 5th South African Edition of the Global Economic Crime Survey released by PWC, the results showed that a shocking 68% of South African’s have witnessed false qualification being submitted / claimed on CV’s which exceeds the global average of 44% and is almost double the next highest type of HR Fraud namely false wage claims (39%).

Trying to find tips and solutions by searching “Spotting fake qualifications” is one way to try and counter this problem, however the solutions presented becomes a nearly impossible task if you have 500 applicants for one position and must vet each and every resume.

This leads to employers appointing the wrong person, wasting time and getting a high staff turn-over rate. Fraudulent qualifications also pose a threat to quality of work and the credibility of a company.

It is therefore imperative for all employers to verify the credentials of job applicants by implementing a thorough policy and procedure regarding pre-employment screening to minimize the wrong hires regardless of the period the potential new hire will be working for in the organization.

Things that people lie about on their CV’s include things such as:

  • Qualifications

  • Past Job Titles

  • Salary History

  • Age

  • Credit Record

  • Criminal Record

  • Gaps in employment

  • References

  • Reasons for terminations

Using internal recruitment software systems to track and easily monitor the process of doing pre-employment screening will also substantially minimize human error and furthermore ensure a fair and objective process is being followed across the board.

Some relief to employers, is the support by government who recently signed into law the National Qualification Framework Amendment Act 2019, which criminalizes the act of falsely or fraudulently claiming to hold a qualification that is registered on the NQF or awarded by a recognised and accredited institution. This includes posting false qualifications on your Social Media platforms and can lead to a fine or imprisonment of up to 5 years, or both.

The act does however introduce an obligation on employers in terms of section 32 to validate qualifications presented to them by ensuring the qualifications are registered on the national learner record database (NLRD) meaning a pre-employment screening process becomes even more necessary. In circumstances where the qualification is not found to be registered on the database, employers need to verify the qualification with South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) at an additional fee.

To ensure the effectiveness of your pre-employment screening policy and procedure, be sure to include the following aspects:

  • Ensuring your application form requests all the necessary information as well as consent for background checks

  • Screening of all potential employees including permanent, temporary or contract workers

  • Doing thorough background checks on credit records, criminal records and verification of qualifications, memberships and professional associations

  • Telephonic references with previous employers by phoning the company directly on their landlines.

  • Be clear in your application form about how you will deal with falsified / forged documents or information

For assistance on drafting this policy or procedure, feel free to contact your LabourNet Consultant for more information.

For more information on the above topic, please contact the LabourNet Helpdesk at

0861 LABNET (0861 522638).

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