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Plagiarism can occur in business quickly: Are your applicants the persons they claim to be?  CVs, role descriptions and motivational letters are increasingly available online. In business, it can pose danger to companies’ work quality and performance and reputation. Often enough, job seekers aren’t aware of the legal consequences of cheating in the job application process when submitting plagiarized content. This has a severe impact on companies as well as the economy.  

Shift in the job market increases pressure on applicants and recruiters in business

Corona and the inflation are leading to an increase in both layoffs as well as vacant positions to fill. In times like this, applicants, as well as Human Resources staff, are under an enormous amount of pressure:  People looking for employment are usually creating and submitting applications for many jobs at a time. On the other side, recruiters have a plethora of applications to review and evaluate. In times like this, job seekers might be tempted to ‘brush up’ their CVs with role descriptions borrowed from LinkedIn or other digital platforms, or even copy whole motivational or introductory letters, and hope to get away with it. Often enough they do because of time restraints on recruiters’ side.  

Forgery, fraud and identity theft are a criminal offenses

Most of you have probably watched ‘Catch Me If You Can’, and are familiar with the story of Frank Abagnale that forged diplomas to get better jobs. ‘Catch Me If You Can’ was an entertaining Hollywood blockbuster, but the message behind the movie was clear: Forging diplomas, impersonating other people and fraud will land you in jail. Nevertheless, almost scarily often we hear about doctors turning out to have no official certification or even medical studies, for example. This is where Frank Abagnale’s story hits today’s reality. We need to be able to trust that the person applying for a job really does have the experience and background it claims to have.  


Plagiarism in CVs and motivational letters, does it really do that much harm? 

Job openings are not just additional headcount that gets added onto the company’s payroll. Every position has its own distinct requirements in terms of knowledge, experience and seniority to ensure that tasks within a company get done in the best way and quality. Otherwise, the position would not be needed. In order to make the company be successful, job applicants need to have the required set and mix of knowledge, experience and seniority.  

A second factor that recruiters take into consideration when reviewing applications is the question if applicants fit into the company culture and the team they will be working in and with. Soft skills (or their lack) will often be most evident in the interview stage, but often indications can already be found in the submitted application documents – a CV, a motivational letter, or both.  

If these documents contain phrases or parts of content that can be found online, which can be called plagiarism, it tells recruiters a lot of things. First, it might mean the applicant is not willing to show their true self, but tries to hide something (and may it even be their inability to write perfect applications). Secondly, the applicant tends to prefer short-cuts and does not like to go the extra mile. Thirdly, if an applicant is already dishonest during the application process, will he or she really be honest, truthful and trustworthy after starting the position?  

Also, the probable lack of knowledge and experience can result in severe damage for the company – and this across all departments as well as all seniority levels.  

A solution to ensure the originality of applications and CVs with plagiarism detection

Text-analysis tools like Ouriginal’s similarity detection solution can ease up recruiters’ work in manually checking the originality of application documents in a standardized process. This speeds up the review process significantly and also gives the recruiter already a first understanding of the applicant’s work ethic.  

To learn more about the usage of Ouriginal in the HR and business context, visit this page for more information on the corporate usage. Also, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly, we’re happy to hear from you.  

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