News & Resources

The Top 5 Little White Lies of Resume Fraud

Aug 13, 2010 Brian Bradley

Back in late July I discussed the importance of doing adequate background checks on job applicants in order to protect your company from résumé fraud and the possible repercussions of a bad hire. But what are the particular areas of a résumé that require special attention from hiring managers?

The top 5 "little white lies" found on a resume:

1. Reasons for Leaving a Prior Position - You can easily defend against this by checking an applicant's criminal history and by calling previous employers to inquire whether he or she is eligible for rehire.  If an employee is not eligible for rehire, that should be a red flag for hiring managers and further inquiry is required.

2. Accomplishments and Skills - One way past accomplishments can be verified is to speak to former colleagues and managers.  If a skill set is relevant to the position, you may want to incorporate an assessment into the application process through which these professional skills can be verified.

3. Faking Credentials, Degree Fabrication, and Misstatements - It is important to not only verify whether the applicant is licensed or a member of an association, but also they are currently in good standing.  And when verifying education you should contact all places of higher education and verify degree obtained, dates attended and all transcript information available.

4. Providing Falsified References - In regards to a reference letter, make sure to reach out to the reference over the phone to verify that the reference wrote the reference letter and ask any additional questions that may apply.  It also never hurts to verify the phone number provided by the applicant with the main phone number of the company.  Remember Vandelay Industries?  And don't hesitate to call the references provided by a candidate and seek additional references, such as former colleagues, supervisors or direct reports.

5. Unexplained Gaps in Employment - Have the applicant describe exactly what occurred during this time period and verify the applicant's story. These unexplained gaps may be a cover up for a job that ended very badly or a criminal history.  When there are unexplained gaps in an applicant's resume it's crucial to check for a criminal record for the applicant at each of the addresses where he or she has lived.