Employers: Be on the Lookout for Phony Résumés

employee background check, employee prescreeningIf you’re a business owner or hiring manager who’s getting ready to do some hiring, you may need to be aware of résumé fraud—especially if it’s been awhile since you last hired a new employee. As the recession drags on, every job opening has the potential to bring in more applicants than you might expect. Some could be long-unemployed applicants who desperately need work, while others could be gainfully employed and seeking new opportunities.

No matter what the applicants’ backgrounds, some could go beyond stretching the truth about their work or education history and fabricate some—or all—of their résumé. With every job desired by more applicants, some may venture beyond getting creative to stand out from the competition into fraudulent means to land a job.

Verifying Educational Credentials
These days, it’s not difficult to obtain a phony degree or diploma, or to create bogus college transcripts. Some applicants will go so far as to rent a mailbox and supply that address for a fake alma mater, so that any requests for verification come directly to him or her. They can then do whatever is needed to substantiate their claim of a degree.

Employers can thwart this scam by having a pre-employment screening firm verify educational credentials, including what schools an applicant attended, any degrees earned and even grade-point averages. Employers may also ask the applicant for written authorization to obtain transcripts directly from a college or university.

Verifying Employment History
Job applicants may have a long history of magically matching their work experience directly to a job description, but now things have gone beyond a bit of résumé fudging. Expanding on job duties, exaggerating dates of employment or creating past employers out of thin air are not unusual occurrences.

When you receive a résumé from an applicant, look for clues that he or she is either exaggerating skills or fabricating them completely. Some will use functional résumés, which offer a laundry list of job tasks performed, but don’t tie them to specific positions. This can hide any employment gaps or job-hopping.

Asking applicants to perform written or verbal tests that can verify job skills is a good way to weed out those who are unqualified. And pre-employment screening is a great way to verify that an applicant actually worked for an employer listed on his or her résumé.

Avoid Fake Résumés
Another good method of screening out fake résumés is to ask the candidate to complete a written job application that asks for the same information contained on a typical résumé. If you have an applicant who purchased a ready-made résumé online—a too-common practice—they may have not memorized its contents, and are u therefore nable to recreate it on the job application.

Do not skip over these steps in the verification process, no matter how desperately you need to fill a position. You’ll almost never be sorry when you plan well advance and take your time. And once you’ve narrowed the field to a handful of candidates, conducting a thorough background check, credit check and employment verification through a trusted pre-employment screening service is your final step in hiring the right candidate that you will be able to trust.

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