Originally created 01/06/02

Employers must verify resume data

The degree and frequency of lying on resumes and applications increases with higher unemployment rates.

There are two general steps that can be taken to detect a candidate who presents a bogus background.

The first is to carefully verify all information provided by the candidate, especially that which is the most relevant and current.

The second step is to seek out additional information, including checking credit and criminal records, and contacting more references than given by the job applicant. Some employment application forms have statements to the effect that any and all sources of information may be utilized.

Here are some more specific techniques for ferreting out bogus credentials:

  • Carefully scrutinize all documents for genuineness. Look for legitimate letterheads and transcripts and beware of poor copies, different style fonts, or smudges in key places. If in doubt, ask for an original.
  • Be careful with listings of college work that omit details such as specific degrees, dates and majors.
  • Resumes with long narratives may intentionally be long on verbiage so as to be short on specifics.

    Look for logical progression in dates such as birth, graduation, jobs, marriage, and children. Get an explanation for overlaps, gaps and inconsistent dates showing up from different sources.

  • When reviewing the work record, look for a career path that is predicable and logical. Has the progression been upward, downward or lateral?
  • Be aware that claims of "self-employment" or "consulting" are commonly used to conceal periods of unemployment or other difficulties.

    Dalton Brannen is a professor of management in the College of Business Administration at Augusta State University.


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