Uncovering Résumé Lies

December 14, 2016

Chelsey Franks
CFE, Vice President - Investigations

Magnifying glass in front of files

Consider the humble résumé - it is often the first-step to getting a new job, and also serves as your "paper" reputation in your industry and among colleagues. It's how potential business partners and employers "see" you until you meet in person. In an increasingly competitive job market, and with deal-making standards growing more stringent, individuals are searching for ways to compete with each other - one of the more common ways to give yourself an edge is by giving your résumé a makeover (unfortunately, too often enough through padding, embellishing, exaggerating, stretching the truth or downright lying). In fact, 53% of résumés and job applications contain falsifications and 70% of college students surveyed said they would lie on their résumé to get the job they wanted.

Résumé Lies

While a résumé might look great on the surface, it might not always be as accurate as you'd think. These lies can be minor embellishments to complete fabrications on qualifications and experience. Job seekers could extend employment dates to cover up being out of work for an extended amount of time, remove graduation dates to prevent ageism or even raise grade point averages to look better to the reader. Some common résumé lies found by employers include:

  • Exaggerated job titles and responsibilities
  • Falsification of education credentials
  • Covering up criminal records
  • Inflated salaries
  • Misrepresentation of dates of employment
  • Falsification of professional license
  • Erroneous claims of financial responsibility or asset management

Benefits of Employment Verification

When employers or potential business partners begin to investigate by doing a background check on the individual's résumé and experience, it was found that 46% of employment, education and/or credential reference checks conducted revealed discrepancies between what the individual provided and what the source reported. Background checks bring to light the truth about individuals, good or bad, and help business partners or employers make educated decisions. The following components are (or should be) key parts of a background screening program that can be used to verify that an individual is actually who they represent themselves to be on their résumé:

  • Credit Bureau Checks – Credit Bureau checks can reveal a history of missed payments, bad debt write-offs, collections or fraudulent banking as well as providing insight into whether or not your applicant can responsibly manage a company's assets.
  • Employment Verification – Employment verifications authenticates job titles, dates of employment, confirmation of salary, reason for leaving and eligibility for rehire. The employment verification uncovers any exaggerated employment claims such as inflated titles or incorrect dates that may be covering up a termination.
  • Educational Verification – Educational verifications confirms degree type and date of completion directly with the school registrar. This check can also determine if a degree is valid or purchased via a diploma mill.
  • Professional Credentials – Professional credential checks verify if the candidate actually holds the designation they claim while also making sure that the job candidate is in good standing with the affiliated regulatory body.
  • Criminal Background Check – A criminal background check can be run for potential job candidates based on residence, employment and educational history. Employers can run county, state and/or federal district court searches to verify records.

Due Diligence When Vetting

Taking the time to verify résumé information will give you peace of mind that you are hiring the best candidate with "real" qualifications for the position, or that the person across the deal-making table has been confirmed to be who they say they are.  Selecting the wrong fit based on falsified experience or credentials can be an extremely costly mistake. Put your due diligence in the professional hands of Bishops Services, a leading provider of global background investigative services.