In a competitive job market, employers are increasingly finding candidates lying on their resume. In the recent HireRight Employment Screening Benchmarking Report (2012), 70% of respondents reported that they have uncovered a falsehood on an applicant’s resume. The frequency of lying demonstrates just how far some applicants will go to land a job.

Take a look at the top 3 resume lies and what you can do to catch them:

1. Inaccurate dates of past employment

It’s extremely common for applicants to lie about their dates of employment. Candidates often do this in an attempt to cover gaps in employment they may not want to explain or to cover a pattern of “job-hopping”.

For example, a candidate who was once screened extended his end date at his previous company by six months in order to hide the fact that he spent those six months serving a jail sentence. Applicants may also fabricate jobs like “independent contractor or consultant” to cover up would-be gaps in employment even though they performed no consulting or contract work during that period.

Takeaway: Verify dates of employment with past employers and ask probing questions about any work that seems suspicious or vague. And a criminal record check doesn’t go astray either!

2. Falsifying degrees or credentials earned

With a reported 20% discrepancy rate in information provided by candidates regarding their education qualifications, it’s important that companies understand the variety of ways applicants lie to claim unearned degrees. In many cases, candidates will attend classes, but not graduate. Even if a candidate has earned a legitimate degree, the applicant may lie about what they majored in to enhance their qualifications.

Earlier this year Yahoo unceremoniously dumped its former CEO, Scott Thompson, after a public scandal surrounding a resume ‘error’. Yahoo investor Third Point uncovered that Thompson had falsely claimed he earned a computer science degree from Stonehill College. In fact, the former eBay executive earned an accounting degree from the school. Yahoo’s Board of Directors were heavily criticized for not only failing to find the error but also its attempts to sweep the issue under the rug.

Takeaway: Checking up on credentials can be time consuming but failing to catch falsified credentials can end up dragging your company’s reputation through the mud – especially if lies are caught by investors!

3. Inflating salary, title, or work details

It’s hardly surprising that a candidate might exaggerate these important facts to get a better job or a higher salary. That’s why employers should contact previous employers to verify positions. Salary verification can be more difficult since many companies will not reveal this information. In such cases, asking the candidate for previous T4 forms can serve as validation.

Takeaway: Verify. Verify. Verify! Confirming past employment and salary information will not only help determine the candidate’s honesty and integrity but also comes in handy when negotiating the appropriate package.

In Summary…

Remember a “resumé review” should serve as an initial assessment of whether a candidate meets the basic qualifications for the role. It should also identify areas to probe and verify during later stages such as in a phone screen interview, an in-person interview or a reference check. It is the first of many steps in the hiring process that should be taken to ensure you are hiring top talent.

And if all that seems like a lot of headaches, here at The Headhunters we’ll take care of all that grunt work for you. All our candidates are pre-interviewed and reference checked, plus every candidate undergoes a Workstyle and Performance Profiling assessment to help determine the best fit for employers. We can also perform criminal record checks, credit checks and education verification upon request.