How do you know if a CV is trustworthy?


(Article originally posted by Swedish magazine Vad Vi Vet – an independent media company that publishes fact-based explanations of current events. URL: https://www.vadvivet.se/fejkat-cv/)

Fake business resumes has become a billion dollar industry.

Have you ever noticed when someone embellished their resume, or added things that don’t seem quite right to their curriculum vitae? This is much more common than you might think.

As many as six out of ten have lied on their CV, according to a survey carried out by the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. One of the most common lies is about one’s Diploma. 

Four out of ten recruiters have aborted a hiring process because the candidate was not honest about their skills, which could end up leading to major consequences. On average, a bad recruitment costs companies 700,000 SEK (around USD 70,000).

This is not unique to Sweden. A third of all Americans admit to lying on their resume. Most often, people exaggerate the number of years they have worked in their industry, and the length of their education. High earners in the technology and finance industries are the ones who most often ‘pad’ their resumes, and men lie about their qualifications twice as often as women.

In the United States, being dishonest in the recruitment process is risky. Of those who were caught being dishonest, 41 percent was turned down for the job they applied for, and 18 percent had been hired, but later, when it was discovered that they had lied, they were fired.

In Sweden, six out of ten recruiters testify about job seekers who faked a diploma or lied in their application. Apart from diplomas and certificates from courses they never attended, work experience is the most common thing Swedes exaggerate. Ten percent withheld a criminal conviction.

How do you know if the CVs you see on LinkedIn are correct?

Fake Universities

Fabricated certificates have become a big industry. Does the American Universities Columbiana, Barkley, or Mount Lincoln sound familiar? All have glossy homepages with smiling students on sunny campuses and quotes from lecturers. It’s just that these universities don’t offer any courses. – because they don’t exist! All are created by a Pakistani company, Axact, which sells fake university degrees.

Unfortunately, Axact is not alone in this business idea. Similar companies create their own universities, while others sell fake grades from established universities. With more and more online courses, it has become easier to fake your degree, like buying courses from universities that don’t exist. It costs about $1,000 per degree and an estimated 100,000 are sold in the United States each year, one-third of which are higher education degrees. The reason people buy fake grades is partly because a potential employer requires a university degree or to have an argument in salary negotiations.

As we become more and more specialized in areas of knowledge and tasks that require more individualized training, it becomes increasingly difficult for the employers to control if a certificate or training, in fact is what is stated.

This explanation was published in collaboration with TRUE. It has undergone the same fact-checking as other articles on Vad Vi Vet.

Schools and recruiters drive the development

Considering that a wrongful recruitment is an expensive business – in the US it is estimated to cost an average of almost 15,000 dollars – the interest in being able to verify certificates has increased. More and more schools are using blockchain technology when issuing diplomas to prevent counterfeiting. “Because it is almost impossible to manipulate afterwards, the interest in digital certificates has increased rapidly” explains Patrik Slettman, founder of True Original, a SaaS company that helps schools, companies and institutions to issue digital certificates using blockchain technology.

Interest among recruiters has also increased, says Slettman, because verified certificates simplify the background check and make the recruiters’ jobs both easier and faster. “Of course, it is also a way for the individual to signal to a recruiter that he is a credible candidate. If you have certified certificates on your LinkedIn profile, you appear to be a safer choice than those who cannot prove that they attended a certain education or course,” says Slettman.

For some reason, official documents in particular have fallen behind in digitization. It’s quite strange that official proofs that we all need to apply for a job, to get married or to travel, still doesn’t have a built-in security today. The technology exists and is readily available.


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