Catching resume lies through background checks
Comprehensive background checks are critical for companies to make informed decisions about job candidates, especially those who pad their resumes with false credentials or exaggerated work experience.
Call it resume "embellishing," "fudging" or outright "lying," but the practice is more common than some hiring managers may believe. Steven D. Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics and an economics professor at the University of Chicago, cites research suggesting that more than 50 percent of applicants lie on their resumes.
A worker taking credit for the value they provided past employers is not necessarily a boldfaced mistruth. However, recruiters would be wise to check references in regards to these common resume lies:
* Education: Fraudulently claiming to hold a postsecondary degree, or listing a degree or certification from an unaccredited institution, is a big lie that can be ferreted out through a background screening. Falsifying educational records is even illegal in some states. Claiming a fictitious degree in Texas, for example, is punishable by $2,000 in fines and up to six months in prison.
* Job title: Making up or overstating a title is a falsehood that should be an easy catch for companies that carry out a reference check on an applicant.
* Dates of employment: Some candidates will stretch out their tenure with a company to cover up employment gaps. Adding months or years of service to a resume may be tempting for desperate job seekers, but any background screening will quickly uncover the lie.
According to Leavitt, the reputed 50 percent of resume cheaters "are mostly making little cheats here and there, for instance, to cover up times when they were out of the labor force for six months.”
For companies taking on these workers, even little lies can have big consequences, from subpar job performance to employment termination or possible legal action. A complete background check will ensure candidate falsehoods don't make it past the application stage.
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