According to a recent survey by the University of Portsmouth, the cost of recruitment fraud in the UK has reached the staggering figure of £24 billion. This figure covers the cost of advertising positions, salaries for recruitment staff, and the losses which could be encountered by a business if they take someone on who isn’t who they say they are. Determined fraudsters will find a way to circumvent even the strictest pre-employment checking processes which a company can put into place. However, knowing the main tricks which fakers use can help you identify which risks are a factor in your company and take steps to minimise them.

Key Findings

Some of the findings highlighted in the University of Portsmouth report are shocking, such as the fraudster who conned his way into a job as a commercial pilot. Or the European bank which lost over 5 million euros in fraud after recruiting a former temp worker without going through the proper recruitment process. Although these serious cases show just how bad things can be if you don’t check up on applicants, the problem isn’t just limited to a few rogue fraudsters.

University of Portsmouth researchers found that a staggering 80% of CVs examined showed some type of discrepancy. One of the most common lies was around experience, with 21% of applicants claiming more responsibility or experience by inflating their job titles. 12% of CVs contained lies about exam or university grades. 18% of companies reported that in the previous year they had been given fake documents to support someone’s application. There is growing evidence of a thriving black market in academic and professional qualifications which may help applicants secure a job, especially in the financial and healthcare sectors.

Quantifying Losses

In the past, businesses have often been reluctant to disclose exactly what losses have been incurred by employing someone who isn’t what they think they are. The losses can be split into two main categories. Someone wo is desperate to secure a position and fabricates references or plays up their experience isn’t necessarily criminal. However, they are more likely to be incompetent and not up to the job you have employed them to do. Often, it can take a while for their lies to be uncovered, and by that point you may have lost key customers, or other decent members of staff too. Getting rid of them is usually the least expensive part of the process; recruiting again and rebuilding your company’s reputation might take a lot longer.

The other main group of applicants are the determined fraudsters who have their eye on emptying your bank accounts from the off. These people try to lie their way into positions in the company which give access to suppliers, accounts or administrative systems which help them in their fraud. Companies have also reported that failing to conduct proper pre-employment checks or staff has also led to incidents of violence against colleagues, theft, or even examples of industrial espionage.