Upwardly mobile India fights scourge of fake CVs
More companies in India's lucrative IT industry are hiring detectives to root out job applicants who pad their résumés.
These gumshoes don't wear trench coats or dark glasses. They don't even carry weapons.Skip to next paragraph
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Yet in cities across India, armed with vast databases of citizens' personal information, these detectives work in hot pursuit of the latest form of fraud threatening India's lucrative IT and outsourcing industries.
The perps? A fast-growing, wide-reaching ring of "CV cheats."
These are job applicants so hungry for India's cushiest jobs that they pad their résumés to boost their chances. With the economy slowing and companies making fewer hires, competition has gotten so tough that about 1 in 4 résumés submitted for an IT job is found to have discrepancies, according to the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), an IT watchdog in India.
"When there are [fewer] jobs on offer and more candidates chasing them, many indulge in embellishing their résumés," says Ashish Dehade, the West Asia managing director of First Advantage, a fraud detection company based in California that serves more than 900 multinationals in India.
In the past several years of India's IT and outsourcing boom – which has created millions of new jobs – CV discrepancies have seen the highest increase in the past 15 months, Mr. Dehade continues.
According to First Advantage, 1 in 5 résumés checked during the second quarter of 2008 had employment-related discrepancies, compared with 1 in 6 résumés in the first quarter. In the outsourcing industry, 1 in 6 résumés contains inaccurate information.
One reason for the rise may be the declining growth rate in the IT sector, which has slipped from 30 percent since the start of the year to about 21 to 24 percent, according to NASSCOM.
Meanwhile, India's economy is growing at a slower-than-expected annual rate of 7.5 percent, its slowest after more than three years at an average of 9 percent annual growth.
Having fewer new spots to fill, many companies are now looking primarily for experienced professionals. With engineering colleges across India continuing to put thousands of fresh graduates on the job market each year, more are hiring "CV detectives" before they recruit, to weed out those with fraudulent credentials.