Too Good to Be True: How to Spot a Lie on a Candidate’s Resume

Many people feel like they are able to get away with telling lies on their resume because nobody is going to review and validate the various parts of their background.

Whether it’s a deliberate omission, a little white lie or an obvious fabrication, hiring managers need to sniff out these resume lies so they can hire the best applicants.

Common resume lies

Many lies included on resumes relate to education. Some applicants will try to make it seem like they graduated from a college when they dropped out. Others will completely fabricate attending school in the first place.

Dishonest applicants may try to cover up an employment gap in their work history by stretching employment dates. Some will even make up a part-time interim job to cover for the time when they didn’t have full-time employment.

While its common for job seekers to fluff up their credentials, some applications will claim to have expertise in areas where they really only have a passing knowledge.

How to spot lies

With a limitless amount of information just a mouse click away, spotting resume lies is easier than ever. First of all, you need to be aware that resume lies are out there. While you’d like to give each applicant the benefit of the doubt, your job is riding on the ability to spot unqualified candidates and eliminating them from your hiring process.

If you are hiring for a position that calls for specific technical ability, performing skills assessments is a great way to sort out the contenders from the pretenders. Whether your company has an in-house expert in the required skill set or uses an outside consultant, have her or him test promising candidates on their knowledge.

Googling a person’s resume or looking on social media are two great ways to confirm employment dates and educational background. If your search results don’t match up with what is on the resume, you should either eliminate the candidate, or ask them about the discrepancy.

Background checks are another very useful tool in trying to spot resume fabrications. It’s quite easy for you to pick up the phone, contact an applicant’s former employer and confirm the exact dates of employment.

If you are looking to screen applicants for soft skills like leadership or good communication skills, personal reference checks are quite handy. During reference checks, be sure to ask for specific anecdotes that relate to the skills in question.

Finally, you need to inform all applicants that the discovery of false information on any application materials is grounds for termination. Letting potential applicant know they are never off the hook for resume lies is a good way to deter the behavior altogether.

At Labor Temps, we conduct a robust applicant screening process to avoid working with job seekers who lie on their resume. If your company is currently looking to outsource part or all of its talent acquisition, please contact us today to discuss a range of solutions.