According to several recent studies released by a major American background check service, jobseekers worldwide all too regularly provide falsified information on resumes and applications when seeking employment. The most prevalent lies include inaccurate dates of previous employment, inflated wages/salary, and falsified education and credentials. The study found these employment discrepancies in the background checks of jobseekers at all levels—from associate to senior personnel.
While employment discrepancies appear to be particularly common in India—where employment screening found 36 percent of jobseekers provided inaccurate dates of previous employment and 96 percent lied about how long they had lived at their current address—American employers are not immune to the dangers of falsification. In fact, ADP has reported that 46 percent of employment background checks reveal discrepancies in employment, education or credentials.
While slightly modifying a job title or adding a couple months to a period of employment may not indicate that a jobseeker is a dangerous criminal or underqualified to perform the duties of a given position, it does suggest that he or she is comfortable with fudging, embellishing, padding and misrepresentation—characteristics few employers find attractive. And according to a recent study conducted by University of Minnesota researchers, resume fakers are often more comfortable engaging in other immoral activity than are those who tell the truth. These individuals may be more likely to steal from your organization or commit other types of fraud—putting your business on the line.
The best way to avoid the danger of employment discrepancies is to conduct thorough pre-employment screening on every candidate you’re considering. The process should include information verification with previous employers and references as well as criminal records and credentials checks. You can outsource much of this to a background check service.
Should you wish to verify employment information yourself, you should pay particular attention to job title, dates of employment, salary, education and professional license, as all are areas where lying frequently occurs. In addition, beware of “ghost” companies. These are previous employers fabricated by jobseekers to cover up gaps in employment, usually due to unattractive reasons like incarceration or termination. While some businesses legitimately fail—and a candidate may not be able to provide you with current contact information for a supervisor—they still leave some record of their existence.