CV True or False?

Back in to good old days of the GFC… actually, I shouldn’t say that! Through the GFC, my team and I thought it was going to be a recruiters dream. We had visions of queues of highly qualified, high performing, well presented candidates banging down our door to find them roles. Both luckily and unluckily for our industry, real estate as you have heard me say before, remained relatively unchanged. What we did see (instead of any queues at our door) was an increase in flowery and embellished CV’s and Agencies coming unstuck from not having either the skill or the time to know what to look for.

A background screening company in Australia drew statistics from more than 1,345 reports to find that misrepresentations in CVs have more than doubled since 2004 with some 40% of employment checks uncovering inconsistencies, most commonly around inflated salary (13%) or a previous position held (10%).

So, true or false? What do we advise you should be looking for?

  1. Validity of role & title – often we find that the position title is made to sound more senior than the duties that someone was responsible for. Ask probing questions. Key dialogue to look for is “we”. If that comes out, delve in to whether they were responsible for projects and duties themselves or were they reporting to the person responsible?
  2. Progression – Absence of progression within firms may indicate either a lack of ability or ambition. On the flip side, often candidates won’t provide you the history of progression within their CV, but rather just have their current or most recent position and its duties listed. If they have been there 12 months or more, investigate what role they started in so that you get the true picture.
  3. Achievements – scrutinise the facts and look for measurables rather than vague statements that don’t tell you anything quantifiable.
  4. RFL – Reason for leaving. “not the right fit” and “no career progression available” are not answers that we accept. It may be masking poor performance or a conflict situation.
  5. Tenure – here we look for specific commencement and departure months i.e. 2008 – 2009 could be a 2 month (December to January) or a 24 month role (January to December). Are there gaps being hidden or jobs that they have omitted?
  6. Frequent Movement – Many of us are all guilty of making mistakes or poor decisions at some point in our careers, but frequent movement demonstrates an inability to learn from our mistakes, difficulty getting along with others or plain restlessness.
  7. Certification – Just because it is on the CV as studied, doesn’t mean that it has been completed. If it’s a requirement, check that it has been done in its entirety.
  8. Poor spelling & grammar – whilst this doesn’t fall in to the falsifying of facts category, this is always something that our team look for. A lack of these could indicate laziness, low attention to detail or an inability to use word processing programs (i.e. spell check)
  9. Remuneration – Whilst this isn’t always listed on the CV, it is frequently something that is embellished. Ask for breakdowns of ‘in hand’ amounts and you can always have your bookkeeper work back from there to verify. Alternatively Group Certificates, commission statements or similar provide a solid confirmation.

Nothing is better than a face to face interview to uncover untruths, but in the preliminary screening stage or telephone interview, these are some quick pointers to help sort the true from the false.

One of the most respected leaders in real estate focused recruitment, Sharon Bennie and her team have built up an impressive and loyal client base, and have shared their expertise and knowledge through franchise and industry conferences. The team love helping businesses grow through strategic recruitment and sourcing strategies.

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Sharon Bennie

Sharon Bennie is the owner of 'sharonbennie' specialist recruitment and headhunting agency focusing specifically on the property and real estate market.