Is someone lying on a resume? 3 ways to turn the tables


When a candidate seems too good to be true, a healthy dose of skepticism could save you trouble down the line. Here’s how to avoid the uncomfortable situation of not finding out someone was lying on a resume until after you’ve hired them.

People managers and recruiters can go through hundreds of resumes to find the perfect fit for a role. I’m sure there’s no worse feeling than having all that effort undone by not realising someone was lying on a resume.

Eventually you come across one or two resumes that fit the bill. The resume outlines the extensive and impressive education of the applicant (I didn’t know there was a Harvard College in the Bahamas?), their many years’ experience (even though they were born in 1998) and their interesting hobby of tree shaping.

But as we all know, appearances can be deceiving. Increasingly, there are reported cases illustrating the very real issue of resume fraud, which can cause reputational carnage for organisations and the individuals responsible for not catching the lie.

How can you ensure that you and your organisation do not become the target of a ‘creative candidate’ who is lying on a resume?

1. Collect any evidence and supporting information.

As far as possible, you should require applicants to:

  • provide original hard copies of any qualifications or transcripts they are relying on; and
  • consent to you directly contacting any relevant educational or training institution to verify attendance and academic records.

Engage in professional skepticism about an applicant’s pronouncements – particularly for those senior positions. This is not to say that you need to distrust all job applicants; it is simply that you need to take care to independently verify an applicant’s claims.

2. Review your recruitment process.

There is no harm and there should be little cost involved in requiring all job applicants to sign statements acknowledging that:

  • they have carefully reviewed and confirm the contents of their resumes; and
  • their resumes are accurate and a true reflection of their skills, experience and qualifications.

3. Become or appoint a dedicated ‘resume fact detector’.

This is someone who:

  • verifies the applicant’s academic or training records directly with the relevant institution;
  • takes steps to verify an applicant’s previous work experience, independent of their listed references – even a brief Google or Facebook search might ring appropriate alarm bells if no relevant results are returned;
  • asks applicants to sign a declaration that their application is accurate and an acknowledgement that serious consequences might follow if any falsehoods are included in their resume;
  • ensures that there are provisions in the standard employment agreement, where the employee guarantees that they have not made and will not make any false representations to the organisation in the course of applying for or during their employment; and
  • carefully studies any agreement with recruiters to check that the recruiter is also taking appropriate steps to verify applicants’ claims. You should not assume that your organisation can rely on a recruiter to perform the necessary background checks.

This isn’t to say that you should become a complete cynic. Balance your desire to get the best person on board with a healthy dose of curiosity. The next hire could be your best yet – or hopefully with these steps you’ve at least avoided Hannibal Lecter …

 

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Carmel Ross
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Carmel Ross

A great article with wise advice. My worst case was a claim of a staff member whose CV included an MBA from a prestigious university. Interestingly, the university refused my original request for confirmation on the grounds of privacy legislation, however when I replied that there were serious performance issues and that this was not a good reflection on the quality of their degree, they decided to let me know he’d never been enrolled… Legal advice that followed this incident indicated what this article suggests – ask candidates who are short-listed to sign a declaration that their application is accurate… Read more »

Geena Naryan
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Geena Naryan

Its employers and recruiters responsibility to be stringent during Recruitment and Selection Process. Bearing in mind there is so much competition, discrimination, hiring who you know rather than what they know and unfairness in getting an employment anyone can fake it to make it. (What they say survival of the fittest – culture) Why should an employer or recruiter be concerned if they have a stringent R & S Process in place. Such as: Asking relevant interview questions, police clearances, reference checks on validity of employment, recruiters should take responsibility to get educated on fraud, conduct Analysis of Resumes, verify… Read more »

Joel
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Joel

Clear consequences for providing false information is necessary as mentioned in Number 3. I would include, if found guilty of false information, employer right of immediate dismissal, applicant payment of cost of recruitment, etc.

Herbert Stencil
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Herbert Stencil

Yeah, because the bigots who preach diversity while cheating autistic graduates out of work are the ones I want to take morality cues from. I only lie on my resume when I’m dealing with an employer I’m not safe being honest with.

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Is someone lying on a resume? 3 ways to turn the tables


When a candidate seems too good to be true, a healthy dose of skepticism could save you trouble down the line. Here’s how to avoid the uncomfortable situation of not finding out someone was lying on a resume until after you’ve hired them.

People managers and recruiters can go through hundreds of resumes to find the perfect fit for a role. I’m sure there’s no worse feeling than having all that effort undone by not realising someone was lying on a resume.

Eventually you come across one or two resumes that fit the bill. The resume outlines the extensive and impressive education of the applicant (I didn’t know there was a Harvard College in the Bahamas?), their many years’ experience (even though they were born in 1998) and their interesting hobby of tree shaping.

But as we all know, appearances can be deceiving. Increasingly, there are reported cases illustrating the very real issue of resume fraud, which can cause reputational carnage for organisations and the individuals responsible for not catching the lie.

How can you ensure that you and your organisation do not become the target of a ‘creative candidate’ who is lying on a resume?

1. Collect any evidence and supporting information.

As far as possible, you should require applicants to:

  • provide original hard copies of any qualifications or transcripts they are relying on; and
  • consent to you directly contacting any relevant educational or training institution to verify attendance and academic records.

Engage in professional skepticism about an applicant’s pronouncements – particularly for those senior positions. This is not to say that you need to distrust all job applicants; it is simply that you need to take care to independently verify an applicant’s claims.

2. Review your recruitment process.

There is no harm and there should be little cost involved in requiring all job applicants to sign statements acknowledging that:

  • they have carefully reviewed and confirm the contents of their resumes; and
  • their resumes are accurate and a true reflection of their skills, experience and qualifications.

3. Become or appoint a dedicated ‘resume fact detector’.

This is someone who:

  • verifies the applicant’s academic or training records directly with the relevant institution;
  • takes steps to verify an applicant’s previous work experience, independent of their listed references – even a brief Google or Facebook search might ring appropriate alarm bells if no relevant results are returned;
  • asks applicants to sign a declaration that their application is accurate and an acknowledgement that serious consequences might follow if any falsehoods are included in their resume;
  • ensures that there are provisions in the standard employment agreement, where the employee guarantees that they have not made and will not make any false representations to the organisation in the course of applying for or during their employment; and
  • carefully studies any agreement with recruiters to check that the recruiter is also taking appropriate steps to verify applicants’ claims. You should not assume that your organisation can rely on a recruiter to perform the necessary background checks.

This isn’t to say that you should become a complete cynic. Balance your desire to get the best person on board with a healthy dose of curiosity. The next hire could be your best yet – or hopefully with these steps you’ve at least avoided Hannibal Lecter …

 

4
Leave a reply

avatar
100000
  Subscribe to receive comments  
Notify me of
Carmel Ross
Guest
Carmel Ross

A great article with wise advice. My worst case was a claim of a staff member whose CV included an MBA from a prestigious university. Interestingly, the university refused my original request for confirmation on the grounds of privacy legislation, however when I replied that there were serious performance issues and that this was not a good reflection on the quality of their degree, they decided to let me know he’d never been enrolled… Legal advice that followed this incident indicated what this article suggests – ask candidates who are short-listed to sign a declaration that their application is accurate… Read more »

Geena Naryan
Guest
Geena Naryan

Its employers and recruiters responsibility to be stringent during Recruitment and Selection Process. Bearing in mind there is so much competition, discrimination, hiring who you know rather than what they know and unfairness in getting an employment anyone can fake it to make it. (What they say survival of the fittest – culture) Why should an employer or recruiter be concerned if they have a stringent R & S Process in place. Such as: Asking relevant interview questions, police clearances, reference checks on validity of employment, recruiters should take responsibility to get educated on fraud, conduct Analysis of Resumes, verify… Read more »

Joel
Guest
Joel

Clear consequences for providing false information is necessary as mentioned in Number 3. I would include, if found guilty of false information, employer right of immediate dismissal, applicant payment of cost of recruitment, etc.

Herbert Stencil
Guest
Herbert Stencil

Yeah, because the bigots who preach diversity while cheating autistic graduates out of work are the ones I want to take morality cues from. I only lie on my resume when I’m dealing with an employer I’m not safe being honest with.

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.
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