Resumes & References - Truth or Consequences

By Doris Lowell

As competition for jobs heats up, more applicants may try to gain an unfair advantage. Job seekers frequently 'stretch the truth' on their resumes. Some studies estimate that as many as one-third of all job seekers provide false or exaggerated information on their resumes, ranging from innocent omissions to blatant lies. Other studies estimate that false information on resumes occurs much more often.

Some of the common resume misrepresentations include:

  • Stretching dates to cover employment gaps
  • Enhancing job titles/authority/salary
  • Embellishing job duties and achievements
  • Inventing past employers
  • Listing non existent degrees or certifications

A carefully planned interview may uncover resume truth. However, a thorough reference check could always be used to confirm accuracy. Now that option is in doubt with the appearance of a new online reference service that adds a new dimension of deceit to the job application process. actually offers job seekers the following resume and reference checking services:

The following is a direct excerpt from the site:

            "You Choose Your Career History!
            You Pick Your Start and End Date!
            You Choose your Salary!
            We Provide a Real Company Just for You!
            We Provide a Real Address For That Company!
            We Provide a Real Website For That Company!
            We Provide a Real "800" Phone Number!
            We Will Have our Operators Standing By!
            We Will E-mail you Every Time Someone Calls!"

We will not address the legal ramifications of this type of service because it is not any employers your intent to go out and find people who are being deceitful. You just want to find a qualified and suitable employee.

So what can employers do to minimize costly mishires? Consider implementing the following employee selection strategies:

  1. Read the entire resume – check the dates – clarify concerns by asking appropriate questions.
  2. Check credentials – Request to see the certificates
  3. Interview the candidate using Behaviour Description Questions
  4. Use assessments that include an 'honesty' check such as the Prevue
  5. Use job description benchmarks to help determine the right fit
  6. Conduct a second interview to dig deeper into areas of potential concern
  7. Ask the candidate to participate in a mock work requirement simulation or test them for proficiency in required skills
  8. Conduct at least three reference checks or have a third party do so
  9. Ask the candidate to certify that the information they submit is true and correct
  10. Ensure that you have at least two interviewers  

Following the steps above will increase the probability of hiring right the first time.  Select and hire with confidence based on best fit, not gut feelings, over inflated resumes and 'slick' interviewees.

Remember you don't have to do this alone. Our specialists can provide you with the selection and assessment services you require.

If you don't have the time or expertise to conduct a due diligence recruitment and selection process, invest in the professional services of a qualified third party – there is too much at stake not to hire right the first time.




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