Fact vs Fiction
In a competitive job market, the pressure to stand out can drive individuals to exaggerate accomplishments, skills, or even fabricate experiences. Unfortunately, embellishing experiences and qualifications on a resume is becoming more common. While embellishing qualifications may seem like a common practice, it poses significant risks both for the individuals involved and the organizations seeking genuine talent. However, employers are becoming increasingly adept at uncovering such discrepancies through rigorous background checks and thorough vetting processes.
According to a recent ResumeLab study of more than a thousand people in the United States, 56% of people admitted to lying on their resume. The top 5 areas found to be fabricated were:
- Job experience (25%)
- Job duties (21%)
- Employment dates (16%)
- Skills (15%)
- Salary (10%)
While the motivations behind resume dishonesty can differ, a common thread among those who choose to embellish their credentials is often the belief that they won’t face repercussions or that their actual qualifications may fall short of the job requirements. Now more than ever, employers are investing in sophisticated background checks. The concern lies in the potential fallout from resume deception.
The ramifications of hiring an individual who has misrepresented their skills and qualifications, leading to significant errors in client interactions or instances of theft, can be substantial. The repercussions extend beyond mere financial losses, encompassing added stress on leaders and the organization, adverse publicity, client attrition, and the potential expenses associated with legal liabilities.
If you’re ready to mitigate risk and get started with background screening, you can Speak with Our Team.
More Than the Resume
As Hire Image previously reported, in 2023, counterfeit nursing diplomas and transcripts, valued at over $100 million, were sold to thousands of individuals. This not only compromised the well-being of patients and staff in the institutions where these individuals were employed but also posed a significant threat to health and safety standards. Depending on the nature of the position, hiring someone without the required qualifications may also expose an organization to legal liability. This is especially true in fields where certain certifications or licenses are mandatory.
Employers face an elevated risk, surpassing 50%, of recruiting individuals who have provided misleading information on their resumes or job applications. Although the full extent of the deception may not be immediately apparent, employers should prioritize acquiring accurate information to inform their hiring decisions.
Thorough employment, education and reference verifications can help to mitigate the risks associated with deceptive information on resumes.
Employment Verifications are the most commonly requested type of verification. They not only confirm dates of employment, positions, job duties, the reason for termination (in some states), and eligibility for rehire, but they also reveal insights into the applicant’s truthfulness, loyalty, work habits, and integrity.
While verifications are generally obtained directly from the past employer, there are more companies who are outsourcing this to outside services. These third-party service providers typically source their data directly from companies’ payroll providers and provide these verifications to background screening companies, such as Hire Image and Orange Tree. They may also house additional employers for the applicant that were not provided on the application or resume, which will give a broader picture of their past employment history.
An Education Verification is an effective resource for uncovering resume inflation and/or fraud pertaining to an applicant’s educational background. With an Education Verification, it is imperative to confirm that the school was accredited by an agency recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education, so as to avoid diploma mills.
Diploma mills are a multi-million-dollar industry affecting reports from high schools, colleges, and universities. Diploma mills claim accreditation by an accreditation mill and refer to themselves as being “fully accredited.” Due to the increasing amount of diploma mills, Education Verifications are more important than ever.
Any international employment and education should also be verified when screening applicants who have lived, attended school, or been employed outside of the United States. For Education Verifications, it’s important to verify a copy of a degree obtained from a school outside of the United States since diploma mills are also be found in many other countries. Some employers think if they have a copy of the degree from the applicant, it is all they need. However, many diplomas and degrees look authentic when they are anything but, even to one with experience in this area.
PROFESSIONAL LICENSE VERIFICATIONS
A Professional License Verification can provide additional information and qualifications by verifying the issuance of any professional licenses claimed by the applicant. The appropriate licensing agency is contacted to verify the validity of the license, the date issued, and, if applicable, the date of expiration. In some cases, disciplinary actions brought against the license holder can also be discovered. If an applicant will be employed in a position where licensing or certification is required, their credentials should always be verified.
Insights into an applicant’s work ethic, character, ability to interact with different leadership levels within an organization, and job responsibilities, as well as strengths and areas of improvement, can be obtained through Professional and Personal References. References can also ascertain that there are no contractual stipulations that would affect the applicant’s ability to perform at the prospective employer. Most references will provide these answers.
At Hire Image, after we obtain permission from the applicant to conduct the background check, we provide five attempts at hard contact for verifications. Hard contact includes:
- Directly speaking to the confirmed source
- Directly faxing to the confirmed source
- Directly emailing to the confirmed source
- Leaving a voice message for the confirmed source at their extension.
A source is confirmed when we have located the correct entity (i.e. school/college, business entity, certifying agency) and identified the correct person to respond to the request. Once we connect with that person, we understand the appropriate questions to elicit helpful information.
Hire Image is a division of Orange Tree Employment Screening, uniting our strengths to design a background screening program in your best interest and deliver unmatched client experience. You can Speak with Our Team if you have any questions about your own background screening practices.