Recently there have been local, national and international examples of people lying about their credentials for employment purposes. These examples include a local secondary school teacher, a college football coach, and government employees in another country.
As human resource directors know, attempts at credential distortion are common and can be found in 15 percent to 50 percent of job applications.
Credential distortion can take place during the interview, on the employment application form or resume, or in the submission of supporting documentation such as transcripts, certificates or licenses.
There are three kinds of credential distortion: fabrication, concealment and misrepresentation.
In fabrication, the applicant creates a credential for which there is no basis in fact. Common examples include education, previous jobs, licenses or certifications, and awards or honors.
Concealment occurs by omitting or attempting to hide a fact in one's background or history. The most frequently concealed fact is firing, followed by jail time, convictions, emotional difficulties, substance abuse and periods of unemployment.
Misrepresentation is embellishing or exaggerating a fact of one's background. This is the most common type of credential distortion and often appears in the presentation of previous work experience as an inflated job title or job level, difficulty, authority or responsibility.
Dalton Brannen is a senior professional in human resources and a professor of management in the College of Business Administration at Augusta State University.
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