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Background check on the work experience of new employees

The amount of people that lie in their CVs is increasing, and the most common lie is about their work experience. As an employer, hiring someone based on a lie can be costly. It can mean that the employee doesn’t have the necessary skills to do the job but also that you are hiring someone who is dishonest.

With a thorough background check, including verification of work experience, you can be sure that the person you intend to hire is who they say they are. This is an important part of your company’s risk management to avoid costly recruitment mistakes.

Want to know more about how employment background checks work? Download our white paper that guides you through the basis of background checks.

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Did you know that work history is one of the most common lies on CVs?

A significant proportion of job applicants embellish or distort information on their CV about their background and experience. According to a study by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, as many as 43% of Swedish employers have discovered untruths in CVs that were so severe that the person was no longer considered for the job. One of the most common forms of misrepresentation is lying about one’s work history, such as exaggerating one’s role in previous jobs, claiming to have worked on projects or tasks that were never actually carried out, or giving false periods of employment to cover up gaps in one’s CV.

The most common untruths in CVs

Embellished skills – 57 %

Exaggeration of responsibilities – 55 %

Dates of employment – 42 %

Job titles – 34%

Academic degree – 33%

Previous employment – 26%

Rewards and awards – 18%

A simple step towards detecting lies in CVs before it is too late is to carry out a thorough background check, including work experience.

Contact us about work experience background checks

The candidate goes through the application process

Watch out for these 5 factors in reference check

Many employers use reference checks to verify work experience and how the candidate has performed in previous workplaces. But even when contacting references, there are different types of cheating. Both the jobseeker and sometimes the referee may try to manipulate the process to make the candidate look more favourable. Here are some common types of fraud that can occur:


1. Fake references

The most obvious cheating is when a candidate provides fake references. This can involve creating non-existent people or companies, or using friends or family members who pretend to be former bosses or colleagues.

2. Prepared answers

Candidates can sometimes prepare their references for what to say. This can mean giving them specific answers to possible questions or even creating a narrative that highlights the candidate’s strengths and hides any weaknesses.

3. Omission of relevant information

Sometimes a reference may deliberately avoid mentioning negative aspects of a candidate’s work performance or behaviour. This can be particularly common if the referee has a personal relationship with the candidate or feels obliged to present them in a positive light.

4. Exaggerated qualifications or experience

Candidates may ask their referees to exaggerate their qualifications, experience or contribution to previous projects. This can lead to the employer getting a false impression of the candidate’s abilities.

5. Use of “professional reference services”

There are services that offer to act as positive references for job applicants for a fee. These services may give excessively positive ratings that do not reflect the candidate’s real work performance.

How can you avoid cheating when taking references?

A work experience check allows you to find out the candidate’s period of employment (to the exact day) and whether the position indicated matches the one in the CV. All in all, you can be sure that your candidate’s previous employer is real and that the company exists. To avoid fraud when taking references, Validata always checks employees’ work experience directly with the source. We contact the references or the HR department.

As an extra security measure, the candidate must provide contact details of active employees and enter their company email to ensure that the references are reliable and accurate, and do not, for example, provide a friend as a reference.

Contact us to find out how we can help your organisation with (potential) employee background checks.

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Combining other background checks with work experience

Background checks are a vital part of the recruitment process and aim to give you an overall picture of a job applicant’s background and reliability. What is included in a background check can vary. We recommend that you conduct a thorough screening of the candidate that is proportionate to the job position and responsibilities.

Here are some of the elements commonly included in background checks:

Identity check

This is essential to confirm that the candidate is who they claim to be. An identity check includes verification of name, age, address and more.

Education check

This check confirms the academic qualifications that a candidate has listed on their CV, such as degrees.

Criminal record check

This check reveals any previous criminal convictions and is particularly relevant for positions that require high integrity or involve working with vulnerable groups, such as children or the elderly.

Credit check

For some positions, especially those involving financial responsibility or management of company finances, a credit check can provide important information about an individual’s financial stability and sense of responsibility.

Not sure which checks are proportionate to your sector and position?

Contact us and we will help you choose the right background checks.

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Protecting candidates’ personal data with GDPR-safe background checks

The GDPR places strict requirements on how personal data may be handled during background checks, which means that employers must ensure legality, transparency and fairness in the process. Validata has developed a GDPR-safe screening software that protects the candidate’s personal data and ensures that everything is handled in accordance with the GDPR.

You can quickly and easily perform screening on a large scale and feel confident that everything is done according to current laws and regulations. The results of the background checks are then presented in a digital report that both you and the candidate in question have access to.

Want to know more about our background checks and how we can help you make safe recruitment decisions?

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Contact us about background checks on work experience

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