As a hiring manager, you are probably seeking applicants who are qualified, personable and professional. Honesty should also be one of the key qualities you look for in a job candidate. It can be difficult to detect when an applicant is stretching the truth, embellishing his experience or dressing up past titles. Learn the eight most common resume lies, so you can spot them instantly and ensure you are hiring the most qualified person for the position.
1. Lying About Education
If the position you posted requires a particular type of degree or certification, it is part of your job as a hiring manager or recruiter to weed out applicants who don't meet the minimum qualifications. Unfortunately, some candidates lie about their education and training. Request documentation of degrees or certifications as part of the hiring process to avoid getting outsmarted by dishonest applicants. One clue that may help you detect a fake degree is an obscure college or university name. Perform a quick online search to find the higher education institution and verify its accreditation if your gut is telling you something is not right.
2. Listing Fake Companies
If you have never heard of a company listed on a candidate's resume, it could indicate that the organization doesn't exist. Verify the company is legitimate by researching online. Investigate the contact information and address of the company and make a quick call to ensure its authenticity. Some candidates even list a friend or family member as a representative of the company to provide a sham reference. Instead of contacting the number provided by the applicant, call the number found online and ask to speak to the reference directly to verify the facts.
3. Embellishing Salary
In an effort to boost the dollar amount of job offers, some candidates lie about their salaries in previous positions. Weigh the salary figure provided against the candidate's experience and the profitability of the firm. If it doesn't seem accurate or even plausible, do some investigating. Check online for average salaries the company offers or compare the amount with statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can also ask applicants to submit a recent pay stub or tax return to verify earnings.
4. Dropping Names of Professionals
Many job seekers drop names of people in their professional network to get a foot in the door. However, if it seems unlikely that the two individuals worked together professionally, trust your gut and look into the matter. Contact the professional listed in the cover letter as a reference and ask questions about how he or she is acquainted with the applicant.
5. Missing Dates
Although the fear of age discrimination is a valid concern that may cause candidates to eliminate dates on their resume, some applicants leave off dates of employment, graduation or certification because the information is false. This omission also makes it difficult for you to determine whether gaps exist in the employment history. Request a revised application with dates clearly listed so that you can confirm employment.
6. Inflating Job Titles
Some companies give employees impressive titles in lieu of pay raises, but for the most part, job titles are relatively simple and closely related to the duties assigned. If you receive a resume with a job title that seems a little over the top or that shows a promotion from an entry level position to an administration position within a short time period, question the facts. Verify this information by checking the applicant's references and contacting previous employees to obtain the actual title.
7. Embellishing Accomplishments
Job candidates must highlight their accomplishments in the field and mention the recognition they have received. However, when applicants make over-the-top claims that seem a little far-fetched, it's important to ask for more details. For example, be skeptical if an applicant claims that he was "the first person to meet sales goals" or the "only employee to satisfy clients," especially if he worked for an established firm.
8. Padding Grade-Point Averages
Companies who request grade-point averages as part of the hiring process may notice that many applicants are not fully truthful. Take a long look at the GPA provided and the degree earned. An individual who claims to have earned a cumulative 4.0 GPA should also note that he graduated with honors. If you are unsure of the truthfulness of the claim, request a transcript to double-check the applicant's grade records.
Unfortunately, some applicants stretch the truth or even lie on resumes. You can uncover fabrications by investing time in investigating an applicant's claims, trusting your gut and requesting more documentation. If you follow these precautions, you can make sure you offer the job to the most qualified and honest candidate.
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