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Is it a Resume or a Fairy Tale?

August 9, 2011

With unemployment hovering around 10%, the job market is fierce. Job seekers are looking for the edge over their stiff competition. Very often, they are trying to gain it by embellishing their resumes.
The incorrect information can range from small little exaggerations to big boldfaced lies. And not catching them can cost your company big!
It’s estimated that almost half of resumes contain at least one item that is not true. Let’s examine the most common offenders:
#1: That’s me in the cap and gown. Applicants may list a degree when they only attended classes at a university or college, or may not have ever gone there at all. LISTEN FOLKS: Diploma mills are a billion dollar business. If you want to see how easy it is to fake a degree and transcript, look at this site: http://www.nd-center.com. For $400, you can have a degree and transcript from any university you choose, even if you never stepped foot on the campus. Scary.
#2: I worked there for 10 years. 1 in 3 resumes are estimated to contain some sort of fraudulent dates of employment. This can range from stretching employment dates to cover job gaps (or something more sinister like jail time), to claiming they were ‘self employed’ for a certain timeframe. Some applicants will even create jobs to cover gaps in employment.
#3: That’s not my mama, that’s my reference. A good portion (estimated at 27%) of all resumes contains a false reference. Applicants may lie about this because they had poor performance at their previous job, or may have fabricated their entire work history. The potential hire may submit incorrect or incomplete reference information in hopes that the employer will not take the time to ‘track down’ the reference. The resume may also contain fraudulent information that directs employers to friends or family members-claiming they are managers or co-workers-that report in glowing terms on the applicant.
#4: I was VP of Everything. Lots of applicants believe they can land a higher paying position by fabricating a higher job title. Many candidates will ‘promote themselves’ to a title several levels higher than their real one in hopes that the potential employer will offer them a similar position to the one showing on their resume.
REMEMBER: the consequences of being duped by a resume lie are high. The U.S. Department of commerce estimates that 30% of all companies fail because of bad hiring decisions. A bad hire costs real money in terms of hiring time, training, salary, and replacement costs. An employee that is a bad fit can also cost a company:
-Customers (if they are incompetent and cause customers to leave)
-Inventory costs (if the bad hire steals)
-Expenses of a lawsuit (if the bad hire’s bad judgment or their inexperience causes injury)
Protect your company from a dishonest job applicant by looking at resumes and applications with a critical eye and verifying all information on the resume. Then you will have a much better chance of a happily ever after.

~Susan McCullah is the Product Development Director for Data Facts, a 22 year old Memphis-based company that provides pre-employment screening solutions to companies nationwide.

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