April 13, 2016
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) the UK’s leading business organisation is warning firms about the scale of fraudulent employment references. In conjunction with the BBC TV show, Fake Britain, the FSB surveyed over 1800 small firms and found that nearly 1 in 5 (17%) had been victims of candidates using fraudulent references to gain employment. Alarmingly, the survey found that 9% of respondents admitted to not checking references so the figure is likely to be even higher.
The use of fraudulent references was not just consigned to low level positions, with 40% of instances being for mid-level positions, 12% for senior management roles and 2% for director level positions. Men were more than twice as likely as women to use a fake reference.
Barry Hetherington, Director of employment screening firm Know Your Candidate Ltd commented: “While the issue of fake references affects businesses of all sizes, the impact is felt more acutely in small firms, as a single employee represents a significant proportion of its workforce. At the very least small firms hiring a candidate without the necessary skills and experience are going to suffer reduced productivity and incur additional recruitment and training costs on replacing the candidate. At worst firms risk losing customers and revenue if the candidate cannot perform their intended role adequately. Furthermore let’s not forget the impact on genuine candidates with bona fide references who have been cheated out of an opportunity”.
While completing employment references can be a time consuming task, it is clear from the FSB survey that it’s time well spent given the potential consequences. As well as ensuring all references are checked, employers can protect themselves by implementing a number of simple measures which are quick and easy to do – read our blog post 6 Top Tips to Avoid Fraudulent References. Alternatively, if resources or time is scarce, firms could consider outsourcing their employment references to a specialist employment screening firm. Know Your Candidate has a 95% success rate in obtaining references, receiving around 66% in 5 working days.