For Employers: 5 Ways to Uncover Resume Fraud

Just because it’s almost assumed that job seekers fudge their résumés doesn’t mean you have to fall victim to it. Hiring managers can and should uncover little white lies and big fat fibs on a resume. From misleading the employer about where a college degree was earned, to inventing positions at companies that don’t exist, experienced human resources pros have seen it all.

Various studies show that more than 50% of job applicants submit false information to potential employers. And this includes everyone from Fortune 500 CEOs to college football coaches. A 2004 survey of human resources professionals reported that over 61% of them had uncovered falsifications or inaccuracies in resumes “often” or “sometimes” after carrying out pre-employment background checks.

With a more competitive job market than we’ve seen in a very long time, business owners and hiring managers are sure to see an increase in desperate job hunters hoping you’ll believe what they claim for education and experience—or at least that you won’t take the time to verify it.

Here are 5 Ways to Uncover Résumé Fraud:

  1. Conduct a thorough employee background check: You can receive reports verifying an applicant’s name, social security number, sex offender status, criminal and civil court records, address history, credit report and more.
  2. Verify employment and personal references: Job seekers sometimes get away with phony references—because employers don’t take the time to actually check them. If a phone number and reference name provided by an applicant don’t match, that could be a red flag. It could also be a simple mistake, so be sure to follow up with the candidate. Make sure you double-check employment dates with previous employers to determine whether the applicant stretched them to cover gaps in experience.
  3. Do some social network sleuthing: a simple check of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter could reveal more about a job candidate than they want you to know. Or, it could provide you with the good feeling that they are who they say they are.
  4. Ask questions: Require job applicants to explain gaps in employment history. Ask detailed questions about education or work experience. If you know a professor at the school they claim a degree from, drop the name. Ask about their supervisor or team leader. Listen for any signs of nervousness or inability to answer questions immediately and succinctly. Broad, vague answers are another warning sign.
  5. Make them nervous: It might sound a bit unkind, but suggesting to a job candidate that you’ll be checking references, including past employers and colleges or universities, might spur a confession by one who has been less than truthful. Those who do not fudge will have no problem with you checking every reference, so try this tactic if you wish to sort out dishonest applicants.

When hiring, you have an obligation to your company, your customers and the rest of your staff to take the time necessary to check out applicants thoroughly. After all, if you hire a liar, trouble could follow.

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