What to Do When an Applicant Lies on a Resume

catching lies on resumes

Are alternative facts creeping into your hiring process? According to HireRight’s 2017 Employment Screening Benchmark Report, the answer is “yes.” The report found that 85% of employers spotted a lie on an applicant’s resume or job application during the screening process. And it was happening at the highest seniority levels, too.

For professional recruiters, however, this isn’t a shock – an entire industry has developed around teaching people to lie on their resume to land a job. Job seekers using FakeResume.com learn to “fill the gaps” in their employment history, adopt “foolproof methods to add experience” to their resumes, employ schemes to “get fake references,” fabricate “college transcripts from any university with any GPA” they want, and more.

How to find out if a candidate is lying on a resume

Companies, however, can protect themselves against resume lying by doing the following:

1. Inspect references. Candidates are taught to create references that are nearly impossible to check. Employers should watch for “typos” in a reference’s contact information that prevent them from contacting the actual reference listed. The candidate may also provide a fictitious supervisor’s name with the phone number of a friend who pretends to be an admin. If you’re suspicious about a reference, contact that reference through his or her employer’s main phone number.

2. Ask probing questions. During an interview, ask detailed questions – particularly if you spot a vague job description or receive a suspicious answer. Learn how the candidate handled specific scenarios or ask them to respond to hypothetical situations.

3. Dig into periods of unemployment. FakeResume recommends applicants pretend they were volunteering whenever there are gaps of employment. Your job? Do your homework on those volunteer organizations and ask questions about their experience.

Although most job openings at smaller organizations needed to be filled yesterday, it’s critical that companies spend time finding the right candidate for a job – not the one who put together the most impressive (and maybe the most fictional) resume.

Stacey Gibson

Author Stacey Gibson

Stacey is a certified Professional in HR (PHR) and the reason her clients would never consider leaving Stratus.hr. When not at work, you can hear her at one of her children’s sporting events -- she’s the one whistling louder than the refs.

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