Employers Rank Resume Lies Sure to Tank Your Employment Prospects

Nick Fishman

Trends in Employment Background Checks

For the sixth consecutive year, EmployeeScreenIQ surveyed U.S.-based employers regarding their use of employee background checks. As with our previous surveys, the 2015 survey was designed to provide a reliable snapshot of:

  • How employers currently utilize background checks.
  • How they respond to adverse findings on background checks.
  • Their paramount screening-related concerns.
  • And their practices concerning Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) responsibilities, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance, and evolving ban the box legislation.

Today, I’d like to share our findings on the types of resume discrepancies, be it for past employment or education, that give employers pause for concern.

Resume Lies, Employment Background Checks

As with last year’s survey, lying about a degree or diploma earned topped respondents’ concerns, although the percentage fell from 84% last year to 75% this year. But we hasten to add that fewer than 10% of candidates actually lie in this way on their resumes, based upon our experience. The second most popular response was discrepancies in employment dates, although it too fell a few
percentage points from last year’s results. Employers continue to be least concerned with discrepancies related to salary.

Interestingly, 11% of participants indicated that there are no discrepancies that couldn’t be overlooked under the right circumstances.

I have a working theory that screening for resume discrepancies is becoming more and more important to employers as they struggle with how impactful criminal records should be in the hiring process (I promise I’ll write more about this when I’ve got something more substantive). We’ve certainly seen a growth in verification requests over the last couple years and I imagine this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

In Our Experience

As you can imagine, we keep extensive data on the resume verifications we perform on behalf of our clients. Overall, we find a 52% discrepancy between what a candidate represents about their qualifications and what we find when we contact their past employers and academic institutions.

The most common discrepancies we find on behalf of our clients are as follows:

  • 35% misrepresent dates of employment
  • 29% misrepresent salary information
  • 24% misrepresent their job title

We also commonly hear from employers that they struggle to actually complete a verification in a reasonable amount of time. Generally, our clients don’t have this challenge. See below.

  • EmployeeScreenIQ is able to successfully complete verifications 84% of the time
  • 12% of the time a verification can’t be completed due to the company closing or their lack of record keeping
  • Only 4% of employers refuse to cooperate with our attempts to verify employment

Additional Observations

  • Companies being shredding employment records as early as 2 years, commonly 5 years.
  • Records become unavailable in large numbers once 7 years have passed.
  • Organizations are not as proficient about keeping

To learn more about these findings and many others, check out the full results.

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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