It’s not uncommon for people to exaggerate on their resumes — or lie outright. While it’s not exactly breaking the law, there are still ramifications for both the potential employer and the job seeker who is lying.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused many to lose their jobs, desperate job seekers may feel more and more compelled to stretch the truth on their resumes. It’s rarely meant maliciously; it’s more an effort to help a person stand out in a crowded field where opportunities are scarce. But that doesn’t mean it’s harmless.
Employers want to be sure the people they’re hiring really have the skills and experience they say they have. As a recruiter, then, it’s necessary to spot resume fraud before a new hire walks in the door. Here are some useful tips to help you do just that:
Start With the Dates
While it is not always easy to tell if someone has lied on their resume, you can typically save yourself a lot of frustration down the line by carefully scrutinizing resumes at the start of the recruitment process.
Candidates lie for many reasons, but one of the most common motives is to cover up a patchy work history. That’s why you should pay careful attention to employment dates. A gap between roles could be insignificant, or it could be a candidate’s attempt to gloss over a job where they were fired for poor performance. Similarly, unclear time frames can be a major red flag. If a candidate is being vague with start and end dates, they may be trying to hide something.
While employment gaps and unclear time lines aren’t reasons to immediately rule a candidate out, recruiters should be prepared to probe deeper into these things during the interview process to get the full story.
Use Social Media to Check for Consistency
You can find out an awful lot about a job seeker simply by searching for them on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. Most people willingly provide a lot of information about themselves on these platforms, which can possibly save you from making a bad hiring decision.
Of course, social media is not a 100 percent foolproof way of exposing resume fraud. People often present curated images on social media, but at the same time, candidates may offer some clues about their past employment. Such clues could help you verify the information on their resumes.
LinkedIn is the social media site most likely to contain the kind of information you’re looking for, so start there. Check to see whether the candidate’s listed skills and work history match with what they’ve written on their resume. Take a look at their connections, too, to see if they are really part of the networks they claim to participate in.
LinkedIn can also be a very useful way to confirm a candidate’s references are legitimate. Is the former manager they’ve listed as a reference really just a peer who was particularly fond of them? A quick LinkedIn search for the reference’s name should clear that up…