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Three years ago I wrote an article about the extent of candidate misrepresentation and outright lying that goes on without most recruiters being aware of it.

When I am training rookie recruiters one of the topics I cover is the areas that recruiters need to be most alert to in terms of candidates’ mistruths. This is not being cynical; it is a necessary part of a professional recruiter’s toolkit. Does any recruiter need reminding that a resume is a marketing document  ; it is not   a legal document? Although a recruiter is not a background-checking professional they are certainly expected to undertake basic checks to verify a candidates bona fides. Unfortunately many recruiters do nothing beyond a reference check or two.

In this age of recruiters complaining about being forced into a faster-cheaper battle to win work from clients, the area of background checking provides a clear opportunity for recruiters to differentiate themselves.

The most recent data available from background checking company, First Advantage would indicate that there are plenty of good reasons for recruiters to be professionally sceptical when reviewing resumes.

Earlier this year First Advantage released their January – March 2013 Asia Pacific Employment Screening Trends report.

The data in this report was drawn from nearly one million employment verifications and reference checks conducted from January 2013 to March 2013.

The report presents the results across key markets in Asia Pacific (Australia/New Zealand, Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore, Japan/Korea), segmented under five critical discrepancy types- employment, education, financial-related, database and criminal.

Asia Pacific employers conducted an average of five checks as part of every background screening report requested to First Advantage.

Employers are increasing the number of checks for their candidates with 40.4 percent of all cases subjected to at least six checks in Q1 2013.

Here’s a summary of the major findings (for a glossary of the definitions used see page 3 of the full report)

  • More than one in 10 reports (11.5 percent) highlighted an area of concern for prospective employers.
  • Results with a discrepancy in employment history have increased by 13.6 percent year-on-year, constituting close to 50 percent of all discrepancies.
  • The majority of the employment history discrepancies were related to “job title/ designation” and “reasons for leaving,” with 9 percent and 7 percent alerts respectively. Also, one in 25 employment verification results confirm a lower salary with a previous employer than what was provided by the candidate.
  • Overall, Australia/NZ, China and Philippines candidates are found to have higher than average employment discrepancies as compared to the rest of Asia Pacific.
  • In Australia, a significantly higher number of candidates are found to have alerts on criminal and employment checks as compared to the other countries.

(click to enlarge)

Manufacturing, energy and financial institution applicants are the most likely to have discrepancies in their background check results, with 15% to 22% of screening reports recording an alert (possibly due to the higher level of comprehensive screening conducted by employers in these industries).

Employers conducting at least six different background checks were almost nine times (26 percent discrepancy) more likely to uncover an alert as compared to those who conducted one or two checks (3%)

Australian candidates were far more likely than candidates from other regions to have a discrepancy uncovered when 6 or more checks were completed

First Advantage conclude the report by saying .

In general, Asia Pacific employers who integrate background screening into their hiring process can:

– Strengthen their compliance with required employee due diligence programme

–  Reduce their overall employee-related risk

–  Increase the integrity of their recruitment process

–  Decrease recruitment and business costs associated with bad hire

– Improve business performance due to better quality employees

How thorough are your background checks and how can you use your background checking skills and processes as a competitive advantage?


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