British employers, particularly small businesses, are abandoning the traditional CV when recruiting new workers in favour of gut instinct or word-of-mouth recommendations.
Figures published by the Employment Law Advisory Services found that more than four out of 10 (42 per cent) of the 250 small and medium-sized businesses polled admitted to having recruited at least one member of staff without having seen their CV. do not insist on seeing a proper CV before hiring staff.
But ELAS warned such a relaxed attitude could leave firms open to potential discrimination claims and difficulties when it came to firing people who had lied to secure a job.
ELAS described the practice as "foolhardy in the extreme".
Businesses are risking costly and embarrassing tribunals by failing to ask for even the most basic documents before hiring new staff, it added.
Pam Rogerson, head of recruitment at ELAS, said: "Even where a candidate has not exaggerated their own abilities – which can result in automatic dismissal – having a CV on file is a basic piece of procedure.
"Whenever you decide not to recruit a candidate – especially a minority candidate – there is the risk that they will feel prejudiced against and issue tribunal proceedings.
"It is absolutely essential that an employer can prove they have done everything by the book," she added.
"Even if it tells you nothing about the person – if you are hiring a trusted friend, for example – taking a CV is a crucial part of the procedure to defend your company against any future mishap," she concluded.