Liar, Liar. Are Job Seekers Hiring Professional Liars to Verify Resumes?
July 19, 2013
As an employer, you may expect a few lies in the hundreds (or more) resumes you receive. These discrepancies may or may not be intentional — a forgotten end date of employment or job title is average to find on almost any resume. However, you might not expect for applicants to both blatantly lie on their resume and ensure that their lie is verified. It seems like a lot of work for someone who just wants a job offer. Or is it?
As an employer, you most likely verify resumes through a third party–a background screening company, or perhaps you verify this information yourself. Regardless, you hope that one of these methods would uncover any discrepancies on a candidate’s resume. It’s standard to verify education, recent employers and perhaps request a reference or two before offering someone a position. The question is, how can you know how accurate these verifications are?
It may (or may not) be shocking that there are companies and websites with the sole aim of deceiving employers, while helping job seekers-for a price of course. An article posted on CNN Money, details the “business” of Timothy Green, who claims to run a company that will to lie anyone, about anything (however, if you read the terms on their website, that’s not entirely true). You can read the article for more information, but knowing the premise of this company, how can an employer or company feel safe with their hiring decisions?
What if your applicant needed additional references to pad their application and hired a company like this one to give them a very convincing, glowing review when you call? Or what about the “required experience” you carefully listed in the job description? Maybe the applicant pays someone to claim they have exactly the skills and experience needed for this position.
While it’s scary living in a world where you can pay someone to professionally lie for you, using a pre-employment background check company for resume verifications is the best choice you can make. Why? Background screening providers are trained to find all the information for a verification, and it’s their job to discover any possible incorrect information.
How Do Background Screeners Verify Employment?
To better understand when it might be difficult to verify if an applicant is lying on their resume, it’s important to look at how an employment verification is completed.
- If the company or employer is larger, they often utilize third parties (such as The Work Number) to verify previous employment, which typically includes dates of employment and job title, and sometimes salary. If the third party doesn’t have information on the subject of your background check, the company may or may not re-verify. The reasons vary, but sometimes the employment may have been too long ago to be included on their records.
- For companies that do not use a third party, verifications are sometimes completed by contacting the corporate HR office. Researchers will then follow the process set in place by that company to verify employment.
- When an employment verification is started, researchers verify that the phone number provided by the applicant (if it was provided), traces to the company. Whether or not it does, researchers will call to find out if it is the right company and if they can verify the employment listed on the application.
- The verifications that are more difficult are when a phone number is provided, but it might be a smaller company or might not trace to the company listed. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the applicant lied, but it seems more likely that a “deception” company could have been hired by the applicant.
How Can You Avoid Being Lied To?
The truth is…you can’t. Whether you are calling a reference or you work with a third party to conduct a reference interview, the only thing you can do is ensure that any verification is as thorough as possible. However, being aware of the facts and how resume verifications are being completed provides you with the maximum amount of certainty that the information you receive is correct. Consider this:
- Finding discrepancies is not necessarily a negative result. For example, EmployeeScreenIQ finds discrepancies in 50% of the education and employment verifications we conduct. However, that doesn’t mean these applicants blatantly lied on their resume. Sometimes dates of employment can be missed by a few months or the applicant may not clearly remember their old job title.
- Know your background screening company. Do you understand the process your background screening provider takes to complete resume verifications? This should include research to ensure the information provided by the applicant, such as a phone number for an employer or reference, traces to the company that they claimed to work for.
- Is your background screening provider accredited? Background screening companies accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) must meet the highest standards when it comes to their services as a whole, and specifically for providing the highest quality resume verifications.
Find out more about Employment Verifications here.