Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
Tips for identifying and guarding against costly résumé fraud

According to CBS News correspondent Kelly Wallace, three out of ten people lie on their résumés.

Three out of ten.

While certainly not a new problem, résumé fraud is a growing concern in light of current workforce woes. As layoffs continue and jobs remain scarce, competition for available opportunities is fiercer than ever--compelling desperate job seekers to lie in order to outshine their rivals.

Warning Signs

When it comes to a candidate's résumé, beware--things are not always as they seem. Professional background screening expert Kevin Connell lists the three most common lies people tell on their résumés as:
  • Lying about dates of employment

  • Inflating salary history

  • Exaggerating job titles or qualifications
Fraudulent claims like these translate into lowered productivity, increased turnover, bad publicity, lost clients and expensive litigation--costing companies hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

So how can your business protect itself?

Tips to Head-Off Résumé Fraud

Implementing a comprehensive screening process is the single best way your organization can reduce the hiring mistakes and costs associated with résumé fraud. Here are some guidelines for creating a thorough process that will help protect your company from dishonest job seekers:
  • Confirm degrees before scheduling interviews, so you're not wasting time on unqualified candidates. Believe it or not, the diploma mill business is a global, billion dollar industry.

  • Ask the candidate for exact dates (to the day or month) of prior employment. Additionally, ask him to explain any gaps, to make sure the individual isn't covering up a brief employment that ended in termination, or a stint in jail.

  • Make sure companies listed as references are legitimate. (Remember Vandelay Industries on Seinfeld?) Use the Internet to verify the company's main number and then contact the primary reference through it.

  • Confirm the circumstances of every change of employment with previous employers.

  • Seek additional references, such as former colleagues, supervisors or direct reports, in addition to those provided by the candidate.

  • Verify professional licenses and memberships. Most professional organizations and licensing bodies have websites and phone numbers to verify an individual's standing within their groups.

  • Complete all steps of your background check and pre-employment screening processes before extending an offer. This will prevent you from entering a legal relationship with a candidate before you have all the facts.

Ensure great hires. Minimize risk. Work with a staffing service.

All these recommendations for guarding against fraud, while effective, involve a substantial investment of time and resources for your company. To get the results you want, without the headaches and hassles, consider working with a staffing service. Here are just a few of the advantages their direct placement services provide:
  • Screening expertise. Recruiters are fraud-detection experts. They leverage experience, technology and economies of scale to thoroughly (and cost-effectively) vet the candidates they present.

  • Reduced hiring risk. Direct placement services effectively reduce your hiring risks by offering replacement guarantees if your new hire doesn't work out--some for as long as six months.

  • No loss of focus. When you offload the critical, yet time-consuming and expensive activities involved in screening, background / reference checking, skills verification and drug testing, your internal staff has more time to focus on key priorities--without sacrificing quality.

Reprinted with permission courtesy of
Key Resource Group, LLC
(716) 631-3951