Be alert for fake references! HR managers closely watching you

Mumbai:  Fake references in the resumes submitted by job seekers appear to be taking heavy toll on the recruitment process. Sometimes, right candidates are unable to land in right position while sometimes recruiters are unable find fit candidates for the jobs. In this context, nearly 20-30% candidates mention fake references in their resumes, state HR Managers in a TimesJobs study.

About 75% HR managers, employers and recruiters ask for references when hiring a candidate. This is because they attach a lot of significance to references. So much so that, 58% employers always contact the references (for background checks) provided by the applicant. Despite such preference for references from the HR managers, fake references have emerged as one of the key pain areas.

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Growing fake references is a great concern for any recruiter and a losing ground for job seekers.  Sujaya Rao an independent HR professional said, “Job seekers typically share references of people who can put in a commendable good word for their work. But often during reference checks some of these references put in a pale mention of the candidate.”

Reference checks are very significant say majority of employers. Underlining the significance of reference checks, 40% hiring managers say that it ensures better and informed hiring decisions. Nearly 30% HR managers say it helps exclude applicants with inappropriate workplace behavior and for 21% it helps them check the cultural fit of the candidate.

48% HR managers state reference checks are the most crucial aspect while hiring for middle level positions. 40% HR managers find reference checks important when hiring senior professionals. 12% HR managers say reference checks are necessary for hiring junior level employees.

Only 9% of the surveyed HR managers claimed that reference checks are not of much importance to them and only a basic random check may be conducted while hiring a candidate.

Reinforcing the benefits, Sunil Goel, MD of GlobalHunt, said, “It is very important for the hiring managers to know the truth behind the resume. Since, it is difficult to get the facts from the job seeker in a 1 or 2 hour long interview where the focus is also on other aspects, including – body language and personality, conducting reference checks seems to be the ideal method.”

No doubt, false references are jeopardizing careers.  The frequency of fake resumes encountered by the HR managers is so high that almost 10-20% applicants are rejected every month post their reference checks say the surveyed employers. This is because of the high rate of false references provided by job seekers, which result in most HR managers developing unfavorable opinions towards the job seeker, often leading to rejection.

59% HR managers say they develop an unfavorable opinion towards a candidate post a false reference checks, while 36% HR managers say they develop a favorable opinion towards the candidate post a positive reference checks.

Only 5% HR managers say references don’t matter to them and the interview is the deciding factor.

In view of this finding Zarin Bhathena, Senior VP and Head – HR, Wordline – South Asia and Middle East says that fake references have long-term repercussions. “References lend credibility to an employee’s character. On conducting a check, if the reference turns out to be false, the organization may or may not terminate the individual but the trustworthiness of the employee is definitely hampered,” says Bhathena.

Commenting on this finding Nilanjan Roy, Head of Strategy Times Business Solutions says, “Ensure the references you provide in applications are credible, and that these people are able to provide an honest appraisal of your skills.”

“In addition, employers are increasingly scanning candidates’ social references. For instance, even though facebook is a personal space, inappropriate comments, images or complaints have led to rejections of some candidates in the past. So ensure your posts and privacy settings are strong across all your social media.” adds Roy.

This TimesJobs Study was conducted with inputs from over 650 HR Managers pan-India across key sectors including IT, telecom, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, FMCG, consumer durables, travel and hospitality, BFSI, media & entertainment, infrastructure, BPO and ITeS.

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