Don't get fooled by a fake resume: A Guide to Spotting Fraud
- Kevin Rosenquist
As a business owner or HR professional, you want to hire the best people.
You have processes in place to help narrow down often long lists of
interested candidates. The hope, of course, is that the ones who make it to
the final round of interviews are the cream of the crop.
Applicants know this and are going to do everything they can to impress on
their resume. Unfortunately, some job applicants may attempt to deceive you
by exaggerating their skills, experience, or education.This is known as
resume fraud, and it can be costly for your business. You could waste time
training someone who lacks the skills you need for the position. You also
could miss out on a qualified candidate that was passed over for the person
with the padded resume.
If you’re diligent, you can spot resume fraud. All it takes is a bit of
sleuthing and a keen eye. Here are four tips on how to spot resume fraud
during the interview process.
Look for inconsistencies in the resume
A tactic that is common in HR is to ask the candidate questions that are
already on their resume. How quickly and accurately they respond can give
you insight into the validity of their claims. During the interview, ask
the candidate about their work experience, skills, and education. If their
responses don't match the information on their resume, it could be a sign
of resume fraud. If they stumble a lot while answering, and it feels like
more than standard interview jitters, there may be cause for concern.
If they claim a degree, ask specific questions about the college they
attended. It can be about the school itself, the football team, the city
where the college is located, or anything else that someone with a degree
should know. If they claim to have worked at a company for several years
but can't provide any specific details about their responsibilities or
accomplishments, it could also be a red flag.
Ask for references and follow up with them
A candidate who has nothing to hide will have no problem providing you with
references. Sure, the references they provide will most likely be people
they know are willing to sing their praises. But too often employers don’t
actually check the references and some candidates might be willing to roll
the dice. They might include impressive names and titles hoping you won’t
actually make the calls.
Contact the references and ask them about the candidate's work history,
skills, and overall performance. If the references provide inconsistent or
vague information, it could be a sign that the candidate is lying on their
resume. If it feels like the reference is less than enthused to be talking
about the candidate, perhaps the candidate didn’t impress them and it’s
cause for concern.
Verify the candidate's education and credentials
This is especially important for positions that require very specific
skills or knowledge. Candidates have been known to embellish education and
certifications or straight up lie about having them. Contact the school or
institution where the candidate received their education and ask for
verification. You can also contact the issuing organization for any
certifications the candidate claims to have.
Contacting the right people and getting responses from educational
institutions can sometimes be a struggle. It can be time consuming and
difficult to complete. If you’re conducting background checks on
candidates, most companies offer education verification as part of their
services. They have the experience and contacts to get better results when
it comes to confirming a person’s education.
Conduct a thorough background check
On that note, conducting thorough background checks for employment is an
essential tool for verifying a candidate's employment history, criminal
record, and other important information. Services like education
verification, employment verification, and even drug testing helps to
validate the claims made on a resume or in an interview. If you’re hiring
for a position that requires driving or deliveries, motor vehicle reports
give you insights to any potential problems the applicant may have had
behind the wheel.
Identity checks are also a key component to verifying a candidate’s resume.
I-9 and E-Verify searches confirm a candidate’s ability to work here in the
United States. Social Security Number traces and verifications provide a
detailed address history, AKAs, and help confirm an applicant's SSN is a
As always, when using employment screening as part of your hiring process,
it’s imperative that you work with a reputable background check company.
There are a myriad of websites that make big claims about their abilities
and certifications. But many of them are not FCRA certified. If you dig
deep on their website you’ll likely find a reference to that. Always work
with employment screening companies that are FCRA certified. If they don’t
have the skills, knowledge, and training to conduct proper background
checks you could open yourself up to problems.
It would be great if everyone were honest. But as we all know, that’s
simply not the case. Spotting resume fraud will ensure you have the best
people in place to build an effective team.