How hiring managers can catch lies on a resume
As a hiring manager, almost nothing
is as important as ensuring that your company has unfettered access to the best
available talent in your industry whenever you have an open position on your
team. That said, something that’s just as important is protecting your
organization from candidates who lie on their resumes–including everything from
small lies that may seem insignificant but could come back later to haunt your
team, to bigger lies that may have a real adverse and lasting impact on your
After all, in many ways you’re the
gatekeeper between your company and the world, and your instincts and expertise
as an HR professional will help decide who gets to play a key role in
supporting and building your company. That’s a great responsibility, and one
that should be taken with great seriousness if you want to fully support the
company you work for. There’s just no upside to offering shady candidates keys
to your kingdom–if they’re willing to start things off on a foundation of lies,
it’s a real reflection of their compromised moral and ethnic judgment and
decision-making abilities. And if they’re willing to be dishonest on their
resumes, who knows what other duplicitous activities they’re capable of?
You likely don’t need us to tell you how important it is to ensure that your HR pipeline remains as free from inaccurate and lie-laden resumes as possible–but are you confident that you’re going about it in the most effective way possible? Keep reading for ways you can help make sure that you’re catching resume lies when they show up at your company’s doorstep.
Look for inconsistencies
Candidates who are intent on lying
on their resumes will make a real effort to cover up their tracks, but you may
(or may not) be surprised by how many of these deceitful images can be caught
at their own game by a careful resume review. When reviewing resumes, look for
things that simply don’t make obvious logical sense. Dates of employment that
don’t line up or that unexplainably overlap, odd jumps between jobs (going
straight from an intern to a vice president might be a red flag), or jobs that
don’t seem to align with a candidate’s background or education (a candidate
with a BA in psychology working as the head of a hospital’s psychiatric team
might be questionable) should all serve as triggers that something fishy might
be going on.
Conduct careful initial phone screens
We know you’re busy and taking the
time to carefully screen every potential candidate is time-consuming but trust
us–it’s well worth your time. The truth is, the best hiring managers have
well-honed lie-detection skills and speaking to a candidate can help reveal
some truths that they were trying to keep under wraps.
Look for classic “tells” that might
indicate someone is lying–these include things like misplaced overconfidence,
over-explaining points on one’s resume, and curious nervousness and anxiety
that comes and goes during the conversation. Also, be on the lookout for
candidates who mention something that contradicts with what’s written on their
resumes–sometimes they may not have committed their lies to memory and slip an
accidental truth in while talking.
Don’t short the reference checks
As an HR professional this may seem
obvious, but trust us–the reference check often gets shorted in the process
when things are busy, especially when a candidate makes a powerful and positive
impression during interviews and you really want to hire her or him. Lying
candidates are counting on this, and their lies are essentially a gamble that
you won’t catch them up by performing a detailed background check.
Diligence includes everything from
requiring a comprehensive set of references to contacting them and following up
if they aren’t immediately available. Yes, sometimes actually getting in
contact with a reference can be a real chase, but it’s worth your time to be
persistent. If there are any things that still seem odd on a resume, even after
meeting with a candidate, the reference check could be a place to effectively
get to the truth. Also, be sure to scour social media and LinkedIn, which may
also uncover some discrepancies between what a candidate says on their resume
If you want to do everything you can
to ensure that deceptive candidates don’t make it far along in your hiring
process, you must screen them carefully–and the resume review process is a
great place to get to the truth. Use the strategies and advice presented here
to help support your efforts.
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