While the word “lie” probably got your attention, the next candidate you speak with may at least just slightly exaggerate the skills they have on their resume. In fact, 66% of employers say they experience a disconnect between what’s on a resume and the skill level that really exists in candidates they interview. Another survey showed that 78% of applicants “stretched the truth”—but employers hired them anyway. Let’s explore this issue to find out what is the most common resume “confabulations” we see in the staffing industry.
How to Know if Your Candidate Lied on Their Resume
Top Resume Fibs to Watch For
Watch the dates on resumes; if a candidate has a gap between jobs, it’s common to stretch jobs to cover the hole. The candidate may even create an interim job to add between the real jobs to cover themselves. It’s okay to have a gap in your resume, especially if you took time off to be with your family or travel or perhaps go back to school. One of the questions we usually ask when there’s a gap is what the candidate did during that time to keep their skills sharp. What’s not okay, however, is to lie about the gap or otherwise stretch job dates to fill the hole.
Along the same lines, we often see skills stretching. This is exactly why technical screening for actual job responsibilities is so important. This happens quite a bit in the software development world, because your understanding of what may feel like “expert” knowledge of a language may not be so expert when compared to someone else. Also, the definitions of jobs can vary widely so the skills for a job that the candidate lists may sound great on paper, but upon careful questioning, you can find they aren’t nearly as relevant to the job as you think. Or, the candidate simply lies about what they know. That’s the far end of the extreme, of course, but again, your job as the interviewer is to ferret out the reality versus their interpretation of the candidate’s experiences and skills.
There are also candidates who lie about their educational credentials. Watch for red flags such as listing the school with no credentials received. You can ask if they finished and received their degree. If not, why not? Also, figure out if it really matters to your organization whether the candidate has a degree. Is equivalent experience and credentialing enough?
How can employers protect themselves from candidates who may be less than honest? Employers can:
- Conduct a skills assessment or a technical screen to determine what the candidate really knows.
- Follow social media to see if some of the candidate’s basic facts match up with their resume. You should also check out the candidate’s character online to be sure they’re the kind of person you want on your team.
- Background checks are great. You’ll see former employers, educational experiences, and more. Match that report up carefully with the candidate’s resume to find out the truth about their experiences.
- Ask great questions during the interview process and look for discrepancies between answers.
How Are You Screening Your Candidates?
You, as the employer, can do all of these things, or simply leave this process in the hands of a qualified, experienced recruiter at The Custom Group of Companies. We help employers find the perfect match within the parameters of their hiring goals every day. Our team is standing by to help your business. Call on us today.
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