Plagiarism in recruiting: policies and tools to prevent it

Last updated:
November 3, 2022
November 8, 2022
min read
Richard Grant
plagiarism in recruiting
Table of contents

Whether in recruitment, admissions, scholarships, or research grants, administrators are increasingly looking for plagiarism and other unethical practices. The extent of such practices isn’t just limited to instances of dishonesty and exaggeration, but the blatant outsourcing of documents such as letters of intent, pitch letters, cover letters, and more.

Given the extent to which such practices have spread, and with candidates no longer just searching for tips on writing a scholarship essay. Still, having a third-party work on it entirely, human resource departments at leading organizations have no choice but to alter how their systems and processes work fundamentally. 

This includes more emphasis on in-person meetings, written tests, and specialized training and tools for recruiters to spot instances of fraud and deception in the recruitment process. 

In this article, we cover some measures that seasoned human resource professionals swear-by.

1. Dig deeper into specifics

An in-person interview is where attractive profiles often seem too good to be, and the candidate will face a reality check. No matter how many weaves are spun by the candidate, an experienced recruiter can easily see through most, with the right questions and keen observation of body language and other behaviors. 

Usually, when the recruiter zeros in on certain aspects of the profile, candidates who tend to lie (or exaggerate) tend to speak in general terms, sometimes offering various cliches, but avoiding speaking to the specifics of the story. This is where the lies start to unravel, and it remains all the more effective when dealing with plagiarized copies.

Recruiters should note, however, that candidates who tend to be nervous or anxious during interviews might display similar behaviors. So, seeming unease isn’t always a sign of lying, or exaggerations, and shouldn’t be treated as one.

2. Put skills to the test

Nothing can beat the good old fashion written tests, coupled with a competency-based interview when it comes to deciphering the reliability of an application. 

A written test is included in the early stages of recruitment, and is often quite technical to gauge the knowledge, experience, and skills of the candidates.This can include a coding test, basic intelligence and aptitude questions, or a hard skills test specific to the role. A competency interview involves situation-based questions, where the candidate is asked to describe similar situations that they have faced, and how the situation was dealt with.

All of this takes a lot of preparation, but fortunately there are dedicated tools such as TestGorrila, eSkill, and more coming to the aid of overburdened recruiters. Even for the detection of plagiarism, there are a number of tools such as Unicheck and Copyleaks for academic purposes, and services like Ouriginal for recruitment.

3. Perform extensive background checks

If there are inaccuracies within their past experiences, candidates tend to be reluctant to provide references to validate the same. Any such hesitations should be a cause for concern, and this only adds value if the recruitment process involves an extensive review of a candidate’s background, and their letters of recommendation, if there are any.

As this is usually done at later stages, with a small pool of shortlisted candidates, many tools and services can perform such checks fairly thoroughly and accurately. 

This is a specialized job, requiring plenty of experience, and knowledge of the subject matter, which is why it is best left to the professionals.

Final Words

Despite the advances in cheating technology, seasoned recruiters with years of experience can size-up a candidate from the get-go. This is where experience comes in, and is precisely why organizations should trust and value such human resource professionals.

There are plenty of new innovations in HR tech, specifically focused on aiding in recruitment, and selection of candidates, but no matter how advanced such tools get, there will always be individuals looking to game the system, and they are best dealt with by other individuals who’ve seen every game in the book.

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