Silicon Valley companies stepping up checks on their workers' backgrounds are finding that they have been hiring employees from hell.
Sacramento firm A Matter of Fact, which checks employee backgrounds, said that its business has been booming in the wake of last year's terrorist attacks.
Owner Glenn Hammer explained that IT companies have been stunned to find that nearly a quarter of their employees had discrepancies in job titles, dates of employment or salary levels.
There have been cases of criminals on parole, people who have been fired, false degrees and non-existent job experience, he said.
Sun Microsystems, Cisco Systems, Intel and Charles Schwab all claim to have used employee checks before 11 September and, according to Hammer, smaller companies are now being forced to follow suit.
HireRight, a Southern California business that conducts background checks for IT companies, has estimated that 34 per cent of job applications contain outright lies about work experience and education.
More than nine per cent of job applicants lied about having a college degree or listed false employers.
According to employment agency Datajob IT, companies are so desperate to hire people with skills that they don't look too closely into a new employee's background.
Jane Pilkington, the agency's senior adviser, explained that IT people were notorious for bending the truth on their CVs because they were confident they would not be found out.
"But with 11 September making companies more paranoid, it would be a lucky IT person who would slip through the net at the moment," she said.
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