Lying on resumes and CVs has become so commonplace that around 85% of companies report catching applicants lying on their resume. While some lies might only rise to the level of obscuring the exact dates worked at a company, others wholly misrepresent a person’s skills or credentials.
So, how do you spot a lie when you see one?
Look for Incongruities
One of the simplest ways to spot a lie on a CV or resume is to keep an eye open for incongruities. For example, they list accomplishments that don’t line up with their job title. Someone working in HR won’t realistically have anything to do with sales or production numbers. A massive jump in job title from one company to the next can also serve as a red flag for dishonesty.
Takeaway: Incongruity doesn’t always mean dishonesty, but it should prompt some serious questions for the candidate.
It’s the very rare candidate indeed who brings proficiency in every skill listed in the job description. Someone who works with spreadsheets might have seen a pivot table, but it doesn’t mean they’re experts at making them. By the same token, someone might have played around with HTML a few times, but it doesn’t mean they can write the code for your new website. Make sure you dig into these proficiency claims with some technical questions that can expose exaggeration.
Get a Background Check
If you think that someone is misrepresenting their education or credentials, the simplest way to vet the CV is with a background check. These checks can verify not only educational history but work history and even prior earnings. Background checks come at different levels of scrutiny, and more extensive checks cost more. You’ll need to decide how deep you want the background checks to go.
Takeaway: A background check will prove much cheaper than going through the entire hiring process a second time when you discover the lie.
Use Backdoor Reference Checks
No one provides references who will torpedo them with a potential employer. That means that sometimes, you need to go with a backdoor reference check of someone who worked with a candidate but isn’t on their reference list. You can use a resource like LinkedIn to find former managers or coworkers.
Takeaway: These backdoor reference checks often reveal a much more accurate picture of someone’s skills and accomplishments.
With lying some common on CVs these days, you must remain wary for the lies. Keep an eye open for incongruities and claims of universal proficiency. Shell out for a background check on all serious applicants. Dig into their background with backdoor reference checks. It’s always better to avoid hiring a lying applicant than needing to replace them later.
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