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The Importance of Background Checks in Executive Recruitment

Over the past year, several reports have surfaced to expose candidates hired in high-profile positions in the private and public sectors. It is why background checks are still in high demand in South Africa.

Overstating or misrepresenting educational qualifications is close second after criminal checks, according to Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE).

MIE conducted over 600.000 criminal checks and more than 460.000 qualifications verifications from January 2017 to date.

Annually, close to 10% of background checks show criminal or pending criminal records, while slightly over 15% of candidates verified indicate fraudulent or misrepresented educational backgrounds.

The number of fakes or misleading educational qualifications is on the rise, according to MIE, reflecting the anxiety and desperation of candidates trying to secure highly-qualified positions in a tough marketplace.

Interestingly, international qualifications are the most prone to fraud or inconsistency (43%) compared to qualifications from African institutions (34%). Secondary qualifications and national tertiary education remain highly misrepresented.

Successful background checks are vital to minimise the potential reputational and financial risks in business resulted from hiring applicants with fake or wrong credentials.

Furthermore, it becomes an imperative in today’s digital economy where media exposure, social media reporting and public consciousness are on the rise with regards to business ethics.

Employers and recruitment agencies need to make use of comprehensive background screening and verification services in the recruitment process to address the growing trend of qualification fraud in the country.

Businesses and HR staff need to be more vigilant in selecting candidates with the required experience and qualifications, especially in high-profile executive roles.

Businesses should partner with a reputable recruitment agency equipped to handle this situation and minimise the associated recruitment risks.

Professional Sourcing conducts CV screening, references and various verification checks (employer, criminal, credit) before the interviewing process.

Professional Sourcing is a top tier South African-based recruitment agency operating internationally, IPM accredited, LEVEL 2 BEE RATED and 51% Black Owned.

Our agency specialises in professional placements (senior and specialist talent) and exclusive skills recruitment to a wide range of industries, including JSE’s top 100 companies, SMEs and the Public Sector. -- Patricia Koekemoer

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