Six ways to catch resume lies

Six ways to catch resume lies

Six ways to catch resume lies Depending on who – and how – you ask, between 40 and 78 per cent of applicants admit to lying on their resumes. Here are six top tips to help you spot less-than-honest accolades and prevent potentially costly hiring mistakes for your business.

Perform a full background check 

Really, this should go without saying but too many industry professionals take for granted that applicants are telling the truth insists career expert Heather Huhman.

“Contact the university where the candidate claimed to have received a degree. Does the university have record of the candidate? Did the university offer its program at the time the candidate claims to have graduated? Complete calls to former employers. Ensure the candidate’s employment timelines and salary claims are truthful.”

Social media sleuthing

It’s now common practice to have separate social media accounts for our personal and professional lives but examining them alongside one another can help spot any discrepancies.

From photographs of graduation ceremonies to angry statuses about being sacked – personal social media accounts can tell a very different story to what professional platforms portray.

Huhman says hard-core sleuths can even check to see if applicants are “highly active during normal business hours.”

Tell it to my face 

Hiding behind a screen makes it easier to lie, says Brigham Young University information systems professor Tom Meservy – “because people can easily conceal their identity and their messages often appear credible.”

So if candidates are pushing you towards text-based communication, that’s a red flag – the sooner they’re sitting in front of you, the sooner you’ll be able to read their body language and decide whether you trust them, says Meservy.

Let’s get specific 

“Flukes will pad their resumes with a generic fact like, ‘Honoured as a “Who’s Who in Business” by an influential paper,’” says Huhman. “Ask the candidate for the specific paper. Oftentimes that influential paper turns out to be a hometown circular.”

Put them to the test

Rather than have candidates do another round of interviews, why not wean out the ones who simply don’t have the skills set by giving them a practical test?

Monica Rogati, VP of data at Jawbone, gives candidates a dataset and three hours to solve it, revealing their technical skill, creativity, and communication.

Interview in the morning 

We’re not sure how much weight this one really holds but ethics researchers from Harvard University and the University of Utah found that people’s moral willpower dwindles as the day goes on.

Maryham Kouchaki and Isaac Smith found that people are more morally aware in the morning and are more likely to engage in unethical behaviours in the afternoon.
3 Comments
  • Phil McGuire 6/05/2015 1:19:03 PM
    Unfortunately these days, the National Privacy Principals make all employers jump through hoops before they can make enquiries on any prospective candidate. It would be great if we could just pick up the phone and freely make enquiries with previous employers but you have to obtain permission from the candidate first. What a croc!!
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  • Scott 12/05/2015 9:43:00 AM
    I'd say those statisitics point out the flaws in the way we make people apply for roles - it is very hard to make a judgement call on a potential candidate by only focusing on their resume.

    In my experience there have been people who are perfect on paper, and when scrutinised are indeed who they say they are, who have been absolutely terrible fits for the role and working enviroment within our office.

    On the otherhand a placement student we got from the wrong side of the tracks that was terrible on paper (and definately padded her resume) who we took a chance on is now an invaluable part of our team and one of most dedicated & hard working employees we have.

    Perhaps its time to just take resumes with a grain of salt and rely on other methods to decide the suitability of candidates.
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  • Helen Stephens 13/05/2015 10:44:08 AM
    Hire for attitude & train for skill!
    As an ex HR / Recruitment Professional now working in a brokerage, I have reviewed 1000's of resumes and interviewed more staff in my time than I care to remember and yes, I will agree that most people do exaggerate on paper but I am most definitely a social media detective!

    You can tell a lot about a person by what the chose to share (or not share) on social media profiles or by the time and care they have taken to actually apply for a specific position.
    I would much rather take a chance on someone who is honest about their shortcomings and demonstrates a positive attitude than someone who looks to be perfect on paper, but lacks the substance to back it up.
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