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Fake Recruiters

Posted By APSO, Monday, 30 November 2015
Updated: Sunday, 15 November 2015

Fake Recruiters


The unethical posting of fake online job adverts by fake agencies is becoming more prevalent in South Africa. CNBC Africa is joined by KC Makhubele – Vice President of APSO.

Click here to view the broadcast.

Tags:  APSO  APSO Code of Ethics  APSO members  codes of professionalism  CV  ethics  fake recruiters  job search  professional body  vacancy 

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2015 talent trends: Insights for the modern recruiter on what talent wants in South Africa

Posted By APSO, Monday, 05 October 2015
Updated: Tuesday, 29 September 2015

2015 talent trends: Insights for the modern recruiter on what talent wants in South Africa
By: LinkedIn Talent Solutions


The typical career path is more fluid than ever. Today, talent is staying more connected, informed and open to new opportunities throughout their professional lives. In this report, step inside the mind of talent at every stage of the job search journey. Armed with this data, you will have a blueprint for successfully attracting, engaging, and hiring within this modern and dynamic talent pool.



We surveyed over 20,000 professionals in 29 countries, including 766 professionals in South Africa, to better understand their attitudes and behaviors at each stage of the job search. Do you think you know what talent wants?


Click here on to find out!

Tags:  APSO  candidates  CV  job  job search  LinkedIn Talent Solutions  management  modern  modern recruiter  opportunity  professionals  recruitment  recruitment professionals  resume  search  social media  work balance 

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Performance Managing your Recruitment/Staffing Providers

Posted By Natalie Singer, Thursday, 06 June 2013
Updated: Thursday, 06 June 2013

Most companies have structured performance review systems in place for their employees but only a handful have anything to assess their recruitment/staffing provider.

Recruitment costs are significant and whilst many companies have strict tendering requirements and service level agreements in place with their preferred suppliers, too few have a system to accurately assess delivery. After all, what do you measure?

  • Price / Spend?
  • Number of CVs submitted per vacancy?
  • Number of interviews set up with candidates?
  • Number of placements?
  • Success of the placed candidate over a period of time, i.e. 6 months?

People are not products

Applying simple service delivery assessments, as associated with products, doesn’t work. People are by nature flexible, unreliable and open to a myriad of things that can change their circumstances and affect their employment. You can’t say that if "employee A” doesn’t work out the provider should simply substitute with "employee B”, as would be the case with a defective product. 

Most of the staffing industry provides a form a guarantee but companies are cautioned against viewing this as a guarantee on the individual. After all, no one can predict what another person will do in the future. Rather, this guarantee should talk to the delivery of the service that has been agreed between the provider and the client. For instance, it would not be reasonable to expect an agency to replace a candidate who suddenly becomes ill and incapable of doing the job, except if it could be proven that the agency knew about the illness and purposely did not disclose this to the client, knowing full well that the placement would not be successful.

The controllable aspects are the recruitment methodologies and due diligence undertaken by the agency in assessing the candidate, not the decisions of the candidate or employer once the placement has been made.

Avoid comparing apples with oranges

On the surface most recruiters seem to be offering the same service, but don’t be fooled. There are a myriad of different recruitment methodologies and clients should ensure that they fully understand what they’re buying. When assessing a provider, ask the following questions:

  • What is their area of specialisation?
  • Can they prove success?
  • How do they source their applicants?
  • What processes are followed to screen applicants?
  • Method of interview, assessments, verification checks etc
  • What is the experience/expertise of the consultant assigned to manage the account?
  • What kind of success do they have in terms of placement and do their candidates remain in employment for a significant period of time?How much do they know about your business?
  • Will they be able to effectively source people who not only meet the technical requirements but would also be a good "culture fit”

It may be worthwhile to invite interested providers to do a formal presentation to your HR team. This way you can access their level of expertise, question their methodology and determine whether there is a "fit” for a mutually beneficial partnership going forward.

Annual Reviews

There is no point in having a preferred supplier list as long as your arm if the companies on it are not performing. Spend time each year assessing the suppliers against your expectations and their actual delivery and chop those that haven’t made the grade.At the end of the year, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which agencies actually made placements in the past year? Remove any that haven’t.
  • Of those who made placements, what kind of placements did they make? For example, have the tended to excel in placing IT people, finance, or technical? Separate your suppliers into subject-matter experts. Keep these lists separately and only send them specs for relevant positions, rather than the shotgun approach of sending all specs to everyone on the list.
  • Of the candidates who were placed, how many did not make it through the probation (or guarantee) period? Interrogate why this happened? Was it related to poor recruitment, or something else? How often has it happened per agency? If the problems appear to be with the initial recruitment process then consider ditching agencies that consistently don’t perform.
  • How many of the placed candidates have proven to be value-added employees who are contributing to the overall goals of the organisation? These are the agencies you want to work with so invest time in these relationships.

A shorter list of specialised providers is not only easier to manage, but you’ll be surprised at the increased quality levels that will come from providers who are no longer competing with every Joe Soap and who feel they can invest time and effort in developing long-term relationships with you.

Tags:  agency  APSO  assessment  candidate  CV  guarantee period  interview  performance management  placements  preferred supplier listing  recruiter  shortlist  skill  staffing  verification 

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Don't be caught short!

Posted By Natalie Singer, Thursday, 06 June 2013
Updated: Thursday, 06 June 2013

Desperate times call for desperate measures and most research conducted recently, and specifically since the global economic crisis, has shown that CV fraud is on the increase.

CV or application fraud refers to any act that involves providing fictitious, exaggerated, or otherwise misleading information on a CV or job application in the hopes of persuading a potential employer to hire an applicant for a job they may be unqualified or under-qualified for.

In researching this article I stumbled across a myriad of forums and websites where the general consensus of participants was "it’s ok to lie, just don’t get caught”. Some respondents were a little more circumspect and advised other bloggers to avoid lying about the important stuff because it’s more likely to get you caught out.

Scarily, there appears to be a distinct difference, in the minds of most job seekers about the seriousness or guilt between outright lying and omission. Both however can have detrimental effects on the recruitment and selection process.

Most common CV lies

By far it appears that altering dates on CVs is the most common fraud employed by job applicants. For many, the reason touted as an excuse is to hide "too many jobs” with short lengths of service. There is a still a clear tendency amongst employers (and recruiters to a large degree) to dismiss out of hand an applicant that appears to be a job-hopper. However, with the dramatic changes in the world of work and the entrance of more Generation Y candidates into the job market, this discrimination will need to change. Research has shown that today’s 20-somethings are likely to have had at least 14 jobs by the time they’re 38 years old and this equates to an average tenure of just 16 months, a statistic that will horrify most Baby Boomers.

Of course, the reason for changing jobs should always be investigated – as we all know there are good, and bad, reasons for making a career move. The simplest way to uncover this sort of lie by omission is to employ a thorough interview process and to take several references with previous employers.

The next most common fraud is the substitution of friends or family as a "previous employer” for reference purposes. With the increased use of cell phones and email, it is now far easier for an applicant to arrange with a relative or friend to pose as their former boss who will naturally give them a glowing reference.

In my experience as a recruiter, most people who resort to substituting a referee do so because they’re unsure about the kind of reference they will get from the real ex-boss. Most often, this could have been avoided by simply being honest with the recruiter about the problems in the relationship etc. If doubt exists, a recruiter should conduct more than one reference to compare testimonials and make a judgement about the person based on several references rather than a single one that may well be tainted due to personal conflict. A small percentage, usually the cleverest and most charming applicants, will be using this ploy to hide a trail of disaster where they’ve been dismissed from several jobs, usually for the same reason, like substance abuse or theft. These are often the most difficult to uncover because the applicant is skilled at lying and committing fraud.

Other, more serious examples of fraud relate to fake credentials. In South Africa these are most often citizenship documents, drivers’ licenses and degrees/certificates. Whilst I acknowledge that some of these may be difficult to verify due to the inherent problems within the departments that issue them, recruiters should still satisfy themselves, as best possible, as to the authenticity of the documents. Qualifications should be verified, particularly if they have been issued by institutions outside of South Africa.

I personally experienced a situation where a candidate presented a degree from a university in Australia and where the qualification was confirmed and verified by the administration office of this institution. I later discovered that the degree had actually been bought online with the ‘added feature’ of a dedicated office specifically available for reference and verification of this false qualification.

Some candidates, particularly those with limited or no experience, may be tempted to falsify their CV by creating a list of fictitious employers some of whom may actually never have existed. Be aware of a string of "companies that have closed down” because this is often the best way to disguise a fake employer and avoid any reference verification from taking place.

The Pinocchio syndrome

Almost all applicants will admit to exaggerating their previous experience and see this as "stretching the truth” rather than outright lying. The most common exaggerations relate to job title where candidates will list themselves as "Office Manager” when in fact they were the only one in the office and so handled administration, reception and other similar duties.

In order to uncover exaggerations relating to duties and responsibilities, a structured interview process should be employed and a suitably qualified and experience person should handle the interview process. It would be very easy for an IT programmer applicant to bluff their way through an interview with someone who clearly didn’t know the difference between C# and C++

It is for this reason that employers would do well to retain the services of a specialist recruiter in instances where they are recruiting candidates with a very niche set of skills and where the results of hiring an un- or under-qualified candidate would be disastrous.

In an economy that is putting increasing financial strain on individuals many candidates will look to exaggerate their current salary in the hope of getting a significantly bigger offer from the new employer. As a result, it is now common practice for recruiters to request a copy of the most recent pay slip to verify actual earnings.

Who’s more likely to fabricate their CV?

According to research conducted by The Risk Advisory Group (TRAG) annually since 2005, younger more junior people are more likely to have a discrepancy on their CV. Someone in a junior administration position is 23% more likely to have a discrepancy than someone in a managerial role. Furthermore an applicant aged under-20 years old is 26% more likely to have a discrepancy than a 50 -60 year old.

Interestingly, women are marginally more likely to have a discrepancy with 13% of all applications submitted by the fairer sex having a discrepancy compared to only 10% of those of men. Graduates too are less likely to feel the need to alter their CV fraudulently with only 13% compared to 17% of non-graduates. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times when employers place greater emphasis on applicants with tertiary qualification?

TRAG’s CEO, Bill Waite said that the motivation for lying on a CV was often simple ‘survival of the fittest’. "In a tougher job market, it is clear the temptations for exaggeration or downright lying increase dramatically,” he said. Getting a job can be highly stressful and candidates feel pressure to enhance their achievements to present themselves in the most favourable light.

In their book Deception in Selection, Liz Walley and Mike Smith suggest that, in such circumstances, people are pushed to deception in the belief that "everyone else is doing it". Walley and Smith put forward the theory that job candidates often fabricate an element of their CV in the belief that it will only be a short-term measure. Yet, if not discovered early on, they find it hard to turn back the clock and escape their deception.

How do you safeguard your business and avoid being caught short?

A good recruitment agency should provide you with a comprehensive service that includes:

  • thorough interviewing aimed at interrogating the applicant’s employment history;
  • skills assessment to verify actual ability;
  • verification of employment history through reference checks;
  • verification of qualification; and
  • credit and criminal checks (where appropriate)

Not all recruitment companies are the same, nor are their recruitment methodologies or processes. Question your provider to be sure that you’re getting the service that you expect and so that you can determine whether or not you need to conduct any pre-employment verification yourself before making an offer to the candidate.

The APSO Code of Ethical & Professional Practice does not dictate service offerings to members but does make it clear that an APSO member agency is required to clearly outline their service offering to the client and to ensure that the candidates that are submitted have been properly interviewed and verified, in accordance with their agreed terms of business.

Should you experience a problem with an APSO member who has not fulfilled their terms and conditions in terms of candidate verification, you are able to lodge a complaint with APSO. For more information, and to view our Code of Ethical & Professional Practice, visit

Tags:  APSO  baby boomer  compliance  CV  experience  fraud  Gen X  Gen Y  interview  qualification  risk  verification 

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Picking a Recruitment Partner

Posted By APSO, Thursday, 06 June 2013
Updated: Thursday, 06 June 2013

Choosing a recruitment agency is an important decision, after all, the agency is an extension of your company in the minds of candidates and you definitely don’t want desirable candidates to be turned off by their interactions with your recruiter.

Partnering with the right agency should save you time, ensure that you’re able to source the best candidates who wouldn’t be accessible to you via other means, and guide and assist you throughout the hiring process.

When one considers that the vast majority of the skilled workforce is not actively looking for a new job, you must ensure that your chosen recruitment partner is able to access the best people in the field, not just those who are unhappy and have sent their CV out everywhere. In order to do this, you have to form a strategic partnership with a well connected, experienced recruiter who can bring in the talent necessary to transform your business.

Because there are currently no, or very low barriers to entry, there are literally thousands of individuals and companies claiming to be recruitment consultants. How do you choose from the myriad of options that all appear to be the same if you listen to their rehearsed telephone sales pitches or read their generic company profiles?

For most businesses, appointing a recruitment agency usually comes down to the following four factors: 

  • Cost
  • Time
  • Quality of candidates
  • Advertising reach, i.e. who is their audience

Whilst these are common factors that should always be considered, the real debate is how you weight the factors – at the end of the day, it should always be about getting results!

An HR Officer recently told me, "Criteria important to me are cost, quality of candidate, turnaround time, and reputation for successfully placing candidates into regular positions.”

Whilst cost is important, you should rather measure your recruitment partner on other factors to more accurately determine the return on investment before simply choosing to do business with the agency that is prepared to charge you the least. Some key factors to be considered include:

Quality Recruitment Consultants

The quality of the individual recruiters working within the recruitment company will directly influence the success rate of finding, and securing, the best talent available. 

Do you feel comfortable talking to the recruiter, do they seem intelligent and do they have a genuine interest in understanding your business to ensure a good fit, not just of technical competence but also of culture fit within your business context?

Do they demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the current job market and do they utilize this information to make suggestions to you on how you can improve your recruitment and selection process to attract the top talent?

How does your recruiter interact with candidates?

Do they have a professional, honest and consistent process for candidate management?

And most importantly, do you believe that your recruiter operates ethically and honestly and will be a good brand ambassador for your company?

Recruitment Methodology

Not all agencies can be compared. Unless you ask what the agency’s recruitment methodology is, you might unfairly be comparing apples with oranges. Many "recruitment agencies” rely heavily on advertising and utilizing job portals to simply source a CV to send directly to the client, but this can be detrimental to clients who are looking to source candidates who are not actively in the market or who have been already been considered by all and sundry, including your competitors.

Ask the agency to fully explain their methodology including advertising, sourcing and networking to find suitable candidates. Do you know for sure how candidates are screened before they’re submitted to you for consideration? Don’t assume that all agencies interview candidates face-to-face, verify information contained on the CV and conduct reference checks. Check that you’re happy with the screening process and the level of information that is being provided to you so that you can effectively ascertain whether or not to bring a candidate in for an interview.

APSO member agencies are bound by the APSO Code of Ethical and Professional Practice which prescribes minimum service levels in terms of client and candidate service. If you choose to work with an APSO member and you’re unhappy with the level of service, you have recourse via the APSO Ethics complaint process.

Specialism & Experience

Does the agency specialise in the area you’re recruiting? It is perfectly reasonable to make use of several agencies for different areas of your business to ensure that you’re dealing with a recruiter who fully understands the environment in which the candidate will be working and who can leverage their networks in this area to source the best talent available for a specific vacancy.

Have they got a proven track record of previous success in placing candidates in this field? Working with a specialist recruiter means that you have a recruitment partner who knows the right people to contact and who can appreciate the technical and business nuances that will contribute to making a successful hire.

"A key criteria for me when choosing a recruitment provider is whether they have the business maturity to interpret the company’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and turn that into a compelling dialogue that will attract more of the right sorts of people for us to interview,” says a Marketing Manager responsible for recruitment of staff for his department.

Reputable & Referenceable

A good recruitment agency should be able to provide you, if asked, with strong testimonials from companies in similar industries who have made use of their service. Consider querying your own network about whether they’re aware of the agency’s work and reputation.

Personal Service

Your recruiter should provide you with personal service and this means you should have a designated single point of contact within the agency who you feel is always available and approachable. You should have open channels of communication that are direct and not driven through email. You should feel confident that your recruiter fully understands your business and the associated requirements of the respective positions so that they only send candidates who they know are a match. Furthermore your recruiter should be available to assist you with the full process, including providing guidance on setting up interview questions and even joining in on panel interviews.

A leading corporate Recruitment Manager says, "I tend to prefer external recruitment providers who know how to run an intelligent campaign, who take ownership of the vacancy or project and who I trust will source the right candidates.”

Terms of Business

Utilizing external recruitment providers can be very costly, but there are usually many different fee options available to clients who are willing to work with the agency. Many agencies are willing to offer reduced rates to clients who offer them exclusivity or who work with them on a continued, retained basis.

Above all, companies should remember that they will get the best possible return from their recruitment company if they are treated as partners rather than transactional suppliers. To this end, you should always be sure to invest the time to brief your recruiter to ensure that they have an in-depth understanding of your business and requirement so that you will receive the level of service you want. A close working relationship between recruiter and client has been proven to improve hiring success.

Tags:  advertising  APSO  cost  CV  ethics  preferred supplier listing  quality  recruiter  recruitment methodology  sourcing  verification 

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