Criminal Records Background Checks News

Resume Fraud

November 1995

In a survey of 150 executives of Fortune 1000 firms, AccounTemps has found that up to 33 percent of all résumés may be fraudulent or "lacking in vital information," Personnel Journal reports. And human resource managers aren't surprised by those results. "Today, it's probably as high as 30 or 40 percent," Lorayne Dollet, vice president and personnel specialist at the Chicago office of Hay Management Consulting, told Personnel Journal. "As a result, HR people are spending more time verifying résumés than ever before."

Here are some tips from Personnel Journal to help you detect lies on résumés and during interviews:

  • "Carefully note the order of the material given on the résumé. What's given up-front is generally what the applicant wishes to emphasize. But what's hidden below may well be more revealing."

  • "Concentrate on the most important points in the applicant's résumé. Diverting attention to too many insignificant details draws focus away from key areas."

  • "Look for conflicting details or overlapping dates."

  • "Look for gaps in dates. It's common for applicants who wish to cover something up to try to omit it."

  • "Pay attention to what the applicant doesn't say as much as what he or she does say. You'll probably find the most valuable information in those areas your applicant doesn't want to discuss."

  • "Get particulars about various subjects. For example, if the applicant says he or she studied business at Harvard, find out what courses he or she took. Casually ask some questions about the campus or physical environment just to determine if the applicant really was there. People who are dishonest will probably stumble on questions like those."

  • "Probe the applicant's reasons for leaving past jobs or for jumping from school to school."

  • "Ask the applicant if he or she minds if you verify information. Then assure him or her that you will need to verify every detail. Impostors likely will drop out at that point."

  • "Ask colleagues to sit in on your interview. Your associates may catch vital signs or details that you might miss. They might also think of revealing questions to ask."

  • "When confirming information by phone, begin by asking for the company operator. That will help you be sure that the place you're calling is a genuine company. Then move on to the personnel department and then to the particular manager indicated."

Source: Recruiting Trends, August 1995

Slickly Packaged: How To Deal With a Professional Résumé

When an employee sounds great on paper, but his or her skills on the job fall far short of the sales pitch, it may be because they didn't write their own résumé or cover letter and an experienced writer did.

Don't assume applicants write their own résumés
In tight job markets, count on the fact that people will go to great lengths to be competitive, including paying top dollar for a professionally written résumé. But don't write people off just because they hired a professional. It may indicate applicants know how to delegate jobs they're not good at. And it's smart for applicants to present their qualifications in the best possible light if they're real. The danger comes from applicants who misrepresent themselves or hide their lack of experience behind hype. They're not qualified, but want you to think they are.

Become familiar with standard formats and language
Visit your local computer store and look up current versions of software programs that specialize in professional résumé writing. Take note of résumé writing services offered within your industry at trade shows or in trade journals. Some applicant groups rely on professional résumés more than others, especially those notoriously uncomfortable with the written word. Learn who they are and read with a grain of salt.

Probe beneath the surface
Don't fall into the trap of assuming that just because the applicant does an excellent job of describing the skills you need that he or she actually has those skills. Pose "what if" situations during the interview to test specific knowledge. Set up questions where applicants identify the "next step" in a complicated technical process.

Concentrate on skills
When interviewers are overly impressed by a résumé, they put more time into determining how the applicant will fit into the organization and downgrade questions about competency. Better: Emphasize skills in the first interview, and worry about "fit" later.

Source: Manager's Legal Bulletin, June 1, 1995