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Overwhelming Number of Candidates Admit to Lying to HR Managers

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Information that candidates present isn’t always accurate

Our latest research shows that there are a staggering number of Australians lying to HR managers.

Among the key findings revealed in our Recruitment Risk Index was that 71% of respondents admitted to exploiting flaws in the reference checking process, while 42% of young Australians admitted to deliberately lying to a potential employer.

Moreover, 23% said they had actively encouraged a referee to lie on their behalf.

As an HR professional, you know that there is a risk that people change their work dates, change their job title, omit things from their CV, and push the boundaries on their references. 

This could include asking friends or family to be a reference for them.

Recruitment delays cause candidates to abandon the application process

The research also highlights inefficiencies in reference checking, meaning employers are wasting resources, making poor hiring decisions and missing out on the best talent. 

For example, two in five candidates (42%) have abandoned an application specifically because of the reference checking process delays.

The employers that are winning are the ones that are reducing the time to hire as candidates are aborting their application because they are going to one that has a better candidate experience.

Employers need to think hard about what experience candidates have from applications to starting at that company.

Discriminatory questions asked of reference providers

The research has also uncovered a completely unregulated reference checking process.

Almost one-third (29%) of reference providers were asked inappropriate or illegal questions about a candidate, with questions including the candidate’s age (15%), marital status (10%), sexual orientation (7%) and whether or not they have or are about to have children (11%).

The importance of due diligence and employment checks

The burden of reference checking is on the employer and the recruiter as 88% of applicants made at least one application directly to an employer.

It’s crucial for employers to do a thorough check on the candidate before offering them a job role. We’ve made an easy list of what employers can do.

1. Take responsibility for candidate experience (h3)

The recruitment process is a two-way street. Candidate experience is the first impression an applicant has of the potential employer. 

Creating a positive recruitment journey from introduction to onboarding is key. 

These six simple steps will help you create a great candidate experience: 

  1. Test drive your recruitment process 
  2. Keep up the comms 
  3. Create and maintain expectations 
  4. Be honest 
  5. Be aware of perceptions 
  6. Enlist some expertise

You may also like to read our blog on Improve Your Candidate Experience With Six Simple Steps.

2. Using the right reference checking questionnaires

A weak reference checking process opens the door to discrimination, bias, non-compliance and a poor candidate experience. On the other hand, a great reference checking process is compliant, consistent and opens the door to insightful responses. 

There are a few key things you can do to ensure you conduct a great reference check. Here they are in a nutshell: 

  • Be consistent and ask every referee the same questions to keep things standardised.
  • Ask role-specific questions about the vacant position, the candidate’s position and the industry you’re hiring in.
  • Remain compliant at all times. Don’t ask questions that breach regulations or invite discrimination.
  • Use unbiased questions to remain neutral and give every candidate the same chance.
  • Gain insight by designing questions that deep-dive into the candidate's suitability.
  • Allow convenience by enabling feedback to be completed at any time and on any device.
  • Design your process so final references are delivered quickly.
  • Secure data by ensuring what’s shared during the reference checking process is securely collected, stored and managed. 

You may also like to read our blog on A Guide to Asking Powerful Reference Check Questions.

3. Ensure data compliance of information gathered from reference checking

Candidates who may even become your employees in the future need the assurance that their personal information is safe and correctly handled. Hence, data protection and privacy matter for future employees. 

Here's a list of what recruiters need to be mindful of when gathering candidate information and when conducting pre-employment checks: 

  • Candidate consent is crucial, without which a recruiter or organisation cannot gather or store personal information.
  • Before collecting any personal data from candidates, they need to be aware of the process and information you intend to collect. 
  • Collecting the personal data of candidates also means the companies will need to be accountable for how their personal data is used.
  • Candidates may even have the right to request organisations to provide information on how their personal data is used. Companies are required to provide such individuals with accurate information on this.

You may also like to read our blog on Why Candidate Data Privacy Matters.

How Xref can help employer do their due diligence on candidates

Being in the industry for over ten years has given us vast experience and knowledge of referencing fraud.  

  • Xref protects against reference fraud: The platform will immediately notify employers of activity, such as if the IP address of the candidate is the same IP address as the 
  • reference provider.
  • Xref gives guidance on creating the right kind of questionnaire: We have a BACON formula to ensure recruiters ask the right questions about the candidates from referees. Xref also helps with best practices for creating reference checking templates.
  • Xref ensures compliance and governance: Xref is ISO 27001 certified, offering globally compliant data collection and storage.
"The increased level of security Xref provides has raised a number of cases of fraudulent activity which may not have been detected through the traditional reference checking process." - Lee Robinson, Group Recruitment Manager, Michael Hill Australia.

Are you interested in an efficient and reliable automated solution? Try Xref for free!

About the Recruitment Risk Index: The findings are based on a survey of 1,000 Australians aged between 18 and 39, who have applied for a new job in the last two years.

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