Exaggerated Work Experience & Outright Lies: How to Spot the Cheaters Applying to your Company!
As a professional recruiting firm, we see thousands of résumés each year. It is no secret that some people like to pad their skills or overinflate their work experience. People know how competitive it is out there, so they want to do all they can to help them get into a specific job. Unfortunately for them, lying is never a good option. Aside from the potential damage to their own reputation and future employability, these individuals can also cause real damage to the companies who have been duped into hiring them. Remember Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson? An investor found out he had lied about a college degree, which led Mr. Thompson to quit after only 4 months as CEO.
The best advice we can give to any person seeking work is simple: don’t lie! Between social media and rigorous background checks, your secret will eventually come out. But since some people out there won’t take our advice, here are 5 things you can check for when you are hiring for a new position.
Most people list their education on their résumé, but how often does HR ask to see the degree? Our advice here is to not only ask to see a copy of their degree(s) but to take it one step further and call the school to confirm your candidate did in fact go there.
Overinflated or fake work experience
A typical résumé will be an overview of a candidate’s work experience. The detail listed under each job should give you a good idea of what skills they acquired while working there. The odds are good follow-ups will only be made to the companies with the most relevant work experience, and/or the most recent position they held. What to watch out for:
- Skills listed for companies that no longer exist, making them nearly impossible to confirm.
- Older entries may also be harder to confirm, given changes within an organization.
Make the effort to try and track down someone at each company, especially if the needed skills listed are from the older entries. Failing that, get a reference associated with the older entries, so that you can confirm your candidate did work there & actually has the skills they listed.
This is an easier problem to catch when you are vetting candidates. Either by getting them to perform a test related to a particular skill, or by discussing the skill in more detail during the interview process.
Mind the gaps!
Depending on the style of résumé, a candidate might have significant, unexplained gaps in their employment. Of course, the reasons could range from pregnancy to health issues, but it might also be an attempt by the candidate to omit a place they got fired from or worse! Whatever the reason, you need to ask the right questions to find out what the real story is.
Employment dates – do they add up?
Some candidates might try to stretch the length of time they worked in a previous position. The reasons for doing this might be unique to an individual but confirming the actual length of employment with a previous company is a simple step to ensure the information listed is accurate.
Finding the right candidate for your company is time consuming enough, without later finding out they lack the necessary skills to do the job. The effort you put in prior to hiring them can help save your company time and money, as well as a potentially embarrassing revelation at some point in the future.