Fighting Resume Fraud in 2013

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Really? We still have to deal with this? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Two out of three employers have caught an applicant lying on his resume – and those are the ones caught!

Resume fraud wastes time, money, denies qualified applicants job opportunities, and can expose a company to potential risks down the road. So how can you protect yourself?

  1. Use LinkedIn. The three most common fibs people tell on their resumes are: dates of employment, salary history, and job titles and qualifications. An applicant might be willing to lie on paper but is less likely to do so in a public forum where he can be called out by his peers. A quick look at a candidate's LinkedIn profile can confirm whether any inconsistencies exist – at least on the surface.
  2. Phone more than one friend. Reference list? Check. Applicant can list three people who like him? Check. Try to get in touch with former colleagues, supervisors or direct reports in addition to those listed by the candidate. It shouldn't take more than a couple clicks to find a phone number or email address now that everyone is on social media. These references will provide a more honest assessment of the candidate's skills and qualifications. It also doesn't hurt to call the company to confirm it is legit. Has anyone heard of Vandelay Industries? (Seinfeld reference).
  3. Hand out homework. The applicant says he can perform a cost-benefit analysis but I'll ask him just to make sure. I bet his answer was somewhere between "good" and "expert". Great. As part of the interview process, test an applicant's skill set. Email him a sample Excel spreadsheet and ask him to actually perform what he is claiming to be capable of. This will weed out a few potentials quickly.
  4. Verify that you are going to verify. Be up front with an applicant that, as part of the hiring process, you conduct due diligence and verify education, skill sets, professional licenses and memberships. Sometimes this will scare off a less-than-truthful applicant. Also, require applicants to check a box on the job application form acknowledging they are aware of your hiring practice and that they have represented themselves honestly.
  5. Background checks. This step takes Googling a candidate to a higher level and should be reserved for those that have received or will receive a job offer. Background checks will truly verify an applicant's education, work history, degree, graduation date, job title, salary, etc. Even though traditional verification tools involve time and money, they can save you a significant amount of time and money by "rubber stamping" candidates of high integrity and quality.

Bottom line: before you decide to invest in a candidate, make sure what he wants you to believe happened is the same as what really happened.

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Guest June 28 2017
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