Let’s face it – There’s a huge number of people out there looking for jobs. It is not surprising to see an HR manager’s desk piled with CVs! And, it is also not uncommon to find some that stand out, because they are just too perfect to be true – just the right words, just the right qualifications and skills!
Smell something fishy?
Turns out, a lot of candidates do lie on their resumes! A recent survey found that 46% of the workers polled knew people who had misrepresented themselves on their job applications!
The repercussions of this can be worrying – if you make a bad hire, the cost and productivity loss of a do-over can be surprisingly high. That’s not all. The incident could end up demoralising the rest of your staff, and lead to disengagement.
This makes it all the more important to spot the wolf in sheep’s clothing!
Steps To Identify Candidates Misrepresenting Themselves On Their Resumes!
Following these steps should help you sort the lying candidates from the genuine ones!
1. Use Behavioural Interviewing Techniques:
According to a survey, job experience is where most people misrepresent themselves, so start your queries there. Verify the claims made by the candidate in person and in their application materials.
Ask specific questions about their strengths, weaknesses and job responsibilities. The more detailed responses the candidate gives, the more likely it is that you are hearing the truth!
Body language is another aspect that, psychologists say, lets on more than what is being verbally conveyed. Look out for some of the following gestures:
- Lack of eye contact
- Lack of confidence
- Sheer inconsistency and hesitation in sharing details of job roles.
2. Conduct An Online Background Check:
Consider verifying the entire background information of the candidate. Social media is an excellent way to get an idea of how the individual really is. You can check the candidate’s LinkedIn profile to acquire knowledge about the work history and professional record.
3. Rely On Backdoor Reference Assistance:
Recruiters do ask the candidates to provide references of people whom they could contact to verify their details. However, conducting a ‘backdoor reference check’ can often be a great way to identify the real person behind the CV!
A backdoor reference check refers to obtaining information about a candidate from a source other than those referees specifically listed on the candidate’s resumé. It catches the unassuming source off-guard and provides you with a way to validate the claims made by the candidates!
This can be done by checking the candidate’s LinkedIn account, social media presence, blogs and websites he/she might own, or even alumni groups of the educational institutions he/she has attended.
However, if you are planning to do this, make sure you get blanket permission from the candidate to get reference checks done on them. Preferably in writing!
4. Keep An Eye On the Educational Qualifications
Education is another area where people tend to embellish or lie. Here, magnify on the specifics of the course. Look for the numbers. See to it that the score or percentage are stated clearly! Ask for certificates, if you are suspicious of the candidate!
5. Notice The Exaggeration In The Language?
If you come across a resume where you keep seeing a lot of “I” instead of “we”, it could be indicating a potential lie.
If the candidate is taking too much credit or claims responsibility individually for something that couldn’t be possible with help from a team, you must conduct an investigation to know the actual role of the candidate in the said accomplishment.
Check for these things too:
- Is the resume riddled with ambiguous phrases — “involved in” or “familiar with”? Imprecise language may indicate a lack of hands-on experience or direct responsibility.
- Using superlatives in the cover letter — “best,” “most amazing,” “number-one” could indicate a desire to convey credibility or insider knowledge, but it can also be a sign of an unsuccessful attempt to cover up a lack of familiarity with the job or industry.
- If a candidate’s cover letter says they worked somewhere for three years but the resume indicates only 18 months, the candidate may be trying to exaggerate their work history. Also, variation in job titles across application materials is something that should be vetted!
- If there are long stints of unemployment that aren’t explained in the cover letter, you should cross-check these during the interview.
Backdoor reference will help you gain knowledge in such instances too.
6. Assess Using A Skill Test:
A pre-employment test can be conducted so as to assess the skills of the candidate. This practice gives a clear vision of judging whether the candidate is skilled enough for the said job.
If the candidate doesn’t do justice to the test based on the claims he/she has made, chances are fair that they’ve lied on their resume!
So, You’ve Found Out That A Candidate’s Lying! What Next?
Once you conclude that the candidate is lying, you must employ the following steps to avoid a bad recruit.
1. Confront The Candidate:
Confrontation with the candidate will indicate that their lie is exposed! Discuss the entire matter and state the cons of the same. If the misrepresentation isn’t too serious, consider guiding them right.
2. Dismiss The Candidature:
If the candidate has grossly misrepresented himself/herself, reject such candidature, as a bad hire can have serious repercussions for the company!
3. Document The Case:
It’s important to document the incident for future reference and mark the said candidate. This not only helps the interviewer be more cautious but also prevents the employee from applying for future positions.
If the lie is revealed after hiring the candidate, and it is a serious misrepresentation, it is important to investigate and take the legal route, and ensure termination!
These fake or embellished resumes can be comprised of minor overstatements to outright false details and claims. The best practice is not to treat every embellishment the same. They should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis!
It’s one thing to omit the small internship stint between jobs. It’s another thing to willfully include false dates, employers, or degrees!
Make sure you follow the above-mentioned steps to separate the liars from the genuine candidates and save yourself the losses of a bad hire!