Innovation and creativity are usually valued skills in the job market, but these attributes can be a double-edged sword and less attractive when applied to falsifying CVs and lying at interviews. With the mainland's economy booming and companies seeking to boost their headcount at unprecedented levels, opportunities abound for those seeking to advance their careers. With so many attractive vacancies up for grabs, some candidates may be tempted to embellish their credentials. 'We have come across some quite imaginative CVs,' said Wayne Tollemache, executive vice-president of First Advantage Asia Pacific, which carries out employment background screening, risk-management services and employment development programmes. Mr Tollemache said the most common embellishments were of education and professional qualifications, level of work experience and previous salary. But there were more serious cases such as that of a job candidate vying for a management position with a hi-tech company who had previously served a prison term for stealing intellectual property. Another applicant who had no formal training falsified education documents in a bid to obtain a job as a quality control manager with a chemical company. 'The way that businesses are run today, people at all levels have access to important information that, used incorrectly, could potentially damage a company's business or reputation,' Mr Tollemache said. One example of this was Joya Williams who was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment in the US last year for conspiring to steal trade secrets. Williams, an administrative assistant, offered to sell Coca-Cola's secret soft drink recipe to rival Pepsi. However, Pepsi reported her. As First Advantage has no direct contact with the job applicant, employers ask candidates to voluntarily sign a consent form to allow a background check. 'Usually, at this stage, if there is likely to be a problem, the job candidate withdraws their job application,' Mr Tollemache said. A background check on an entry level employee, including qualifications, criminal record and work experience, usually takes three days. A more thorough check for management level takes between a week and 10 days. 'We only check information that is in the public domain,' Mr Tollemache said. Nasdaq-listed SumTotal Systems is also helping companies operating on the mainland to screen and recruit talented employees. Chief operating officer David Crussell believes SumTotal Systems' Enterprise Suite software platform can be key in developing the mainland's talent base. The program allows firms to assess the potential of employees, develop their skills, and boost staff performance by aligning workforce goals with business aims. 'The web-based programme covers most industries and provides recruitment professionals with additional tools to evaluate an employment applicant's potential.' Mr Crussell said the program was designed to detect anomalies in a job seeker's application and evaluate a candidate's suitability to handle the job and fit in with company culture.