Job applicants are not always honest on their resumes. And if you do not investigate suspicious claims, you might end up hiring an unqualified and unethical employee, which could lead to financial, productivity, and legal liability issues. The resume fibber also might be more likely to commit occupational fraud.
Here is how to unearth the three most common resume falsifications.
- Deceptive dates
Whether to gloss over a termination, a period of job hopping, or time spent out of the workforce, some job seekers ‘adjust’ dates to make their employment history seem more consistent. Look closely at resumes that state employment dates in years, not months. Say an applicant claims she worked at her last job between 2017 and 2018. Her tenure may only have lasted two months — December 2017 until January 2018 — instead of the implied two years.
Confirm an applicant’s precise employment dates with all previous employers. Also make sure that candidates complete your entire job application, informing them that, although a resume is not a legal document, a job application is. Lying on it is cause for immediate dismissal.
- Fake degrees & shifting majors
Workers applying for a position that requires a specific degree are more likely to lie about their education than other applicants are. If a resume lists an unfamiliar school, or coursework and years but no degree, dig deeper. A school you have never heard of could be a diploma mill. A resume that simply lists Chemistry, State College, 2002, may indicate that the job seeker completed classes in that subject but did not actually receive a degree.
Always check applicants’ educational claims by contacting the degree-granting institution. If you are suspicious of a school, verify its accreditation with the U.S. Department of Education.
- Embellished titles, skills, & accomplishments
Everyone tries to look their best on a resume. Some, however, embellish their experience, titles, skill proficiencies, or grade point averages with outright lies. There is no such thing as a perfect job candidate, so you may want to flag any resume that exactly matches all of a position’s qualifications.
You should contact all personal references and speak with previous supervisors or human resources staffers, not peers, to confirm titles and job responsibilities. To elicit the best information, ask open-ended questions, followed by more probing, detailed ones. But be aware that some past employers will give only limited information, such as dates of employment.
Time & money well spent
If you are quickly checking resumes and conducting interviews, you are less likely to separate the candidates with real potential from those sporting fake credentials. If time is scarce, outsource this process. It is money well spent if you can save your company from public embarrassment, legal woes or financial losses due to fraud.