How to catch and handle a lie on a candidate's resume

September 19, 2022

In a time when you can find virtually anything on anyone via Google or social networks, you might think candidates wouldn't lie on their resumes. Think again. A study from Checkster Research found that 78% of candidates lie on their resumes to some degree. 

Knowing what to do when a job candidate lied on their resume is crucial for companies that want to hire top-notch personnel. Learning to spot lies or embellishments on resumes can help you weed out candidates who are dishonest or unqualified. Discover how to catch a candidate who lied on their resume and what to do about it.

How to spot a lie on a resume

Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for candidates to lie on their resumes. With some positions being very competitive and everyone wanting to make themselves stand out, some people can take things too far when it comes to boosting their credentials, skills, and experience. Here are some tips for picking out lies on an applicant's resume to help you find a truly qualified candidate:

Check dates

Most resumes include dates for things like:

•    Employment history
•    Education
•    Certifications
•    Training

When scanning resumes, look for inconsistencies with these dates. For example, if the person's age makes it unlikely that they were working somewhere from 2002 to 2005 because they would have still been in school or only recently graduated, this could be a sign that they're not being truthful. Also, consider the dates they attended school and where. If they claim to have earned a bachelor's degree in two years, you should probably question them further about their educational background.

Verify references

Although it can be challenging to verify someone's references, it's still important to do when searching for the right candidate. People have used a number of tricks to get around being caught falsifying their references. Some provide contact information for friends they've coached on what to say when you call. Others just give the wrong phone number or email and act like it was an innocent mistake.

Let the candidates you want to hire know that you'll be checking their references, but keep in mind that they may not want you to talk to a previous employer. Most employers will share the dates past employees worked for them and the positions they held with the company. Consider asking specific questions about tasks related to the job you're hiring them to do. For example, ask, "Was data entry one of Elena's daily duties?" or "Did she interact with clients regularly?" The answers they provide can give you insight into whether the candidate will fit well in your company.

Ask technical questions

If you're interviewing the candidate but you're not sure they've been truthful on their resume, ask them some technical questions. Use jargon that's slightly advanced for the role you're hiring for but would still be information they should understand. If they can't answer or don't seem to grasp what you're talking about, it may be a sign that they've lied on their resume.

Conduct background checks

Before hiring anyone at your company, it might be a good idea to do a background check. Any potential employee who refuses to go through a background check is probably not someone you want to hire. There are several types of background checks you can do, depending on your company. They are:

•    Criminal background checks
•    Credit background checks
•    Identity verification
•    Professional license and education background checks

With some positions being very competitive and everyone wanting to make themselves stand out, some people can take boosting their credentials, skills, and experience too far.

What to do when a job candidate lied on a resume

If you do find out a candidate has lied on their resume, you need to take certain steps. It's not just about the employee you've hired or caught in a lie, but it's also about the future of your company. These are some steps you can take when a job candidate lied on a resume:

Set policies

Whether your company is large or small, having policies in place for what to do when a job candidate lied on a resume can guide you in handling this situation. Set policies for what to do if you catch the candidate lying before you hire them, as well as if you catch them afterward.

Confront the employee

Once you know an employee has lied, confront them. Discuss the lie with them. This can help you understand their reason for lying as well as the extent of the lie. By confronting them, you give them a chance to come clean and possibly reveal more important details.

Consider the options

After discovering that a job candidate has lied, you have to consider the gravity of the lie. If they only lied about a few skills that they don't actually possess, it's likely not as bad as if they say they worked somewhere at a high-level position when they didn't. Decide whether you want to give them a chance, hire them for another position, remove them as a candidate, or, in some cases, contact the law.

Make a decision

The last thing you have to do is make a decision. You can still give the candidate a chance if they seem like a good fit for your company, as they may have what it takes to learn what they need to know. However, if you feel like they're a dishonest person in general, it might be a better choice to pass on hiring them.

Hiring employees isn't an easy process, and it can be even more difficult when candidates lie on their resumes. Understanding how to spot lies on a resume can ensure you don't hire the wrong person. Use this guide to help you hire better candidates who can perform the job you need them to do.


Here are more tips about today's job market to help you boost your business:

Did you know that most Americans are seeking new work right now?

Use these tips to convert candidates to employees at hiring events.

Even if you can't offer remote work, you can still attract great candidates.
 

 

 

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