Recruitment v chess

A fascinating story surfaced in the news this week, about 25-year-old Georgian chess champion Gaioz Nigalidze who has been thrown out of an international tournament after he made repeated trips to the toilet, allegedly in order to check his moves on a mobile phone that he had stashed inside a cubicle. (1)

This story hit the news not because of his interesting name, but because it is commonly considered very unusual for people to cheat at chess. The perception is that chess is a game for people with high ideals, high intellect, and uncontroversial toilet habits.

But how often do people cheat in recruitment? Let us count the ways:

  • Apparently, one third of UK ‘graduates’ embellish or exaggerate their academic qualifications when applying for jobs. (2,3) One third!
    • 46% of these incidents are to do with to grade inflation.
    • 28% are for claims to have completed a course that was only partly finished.
    • 15% are for people claiming to have a degree, who haven’t at all.
    • 11% are for changing the subject of the qualification.
  • Almost three quarters of employers say they have spotted a lie on a job applicant’s cv (4)
  • 17% of 1,800 firms surveyed by the Federation of Small Businesses and the BBC had uncovered applicants who had used fraudulent references when applying for a job. (5)

So it seems that there is a problem! But how serious an issue is it, really?

In our particular field (IT) most of our clients consider that a person’s character and ability to do the job in practice are more important than the qualifications listed on the cv. In other words, the degree result itself (for example) might not actually matter at all.

But the fact that they have chosen to present a dishonest profile of themselves matters a lot.

When our candidates are in the late stages of applications for IT roles – at all levels – we take steps to uncover deception. We do identity checks, we take proper references, and we verify any qualifications that are required for the job. Having said this, it can be very difficult to unmask a determined cv fraudster – on paper.

But some things are very difficult to fake, namely:

  • Attitude
  • Technical ability
  • General intelligence
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Motivation

We use tools (6,7,8) to measure these factors in order to build a profile of an individual candidate’s personality, motivations, and technical capability. When combined with a solid interview process this is a devastatingly effective way to find candidates who fit not just the technical brief, but your behavioural requirements as well.

So we can’t eliminate cheating from the UK recruitment scene, but we can make it far less of an issue for our clients.

If you’re thinking about adding to your IT team and (like us) you believe that crime shouldn’t pay, then get in touch.

Your move.