In today's competitive hiring marketing, there are more open roles than available job seekers to fill them, making it more challenging than ever before to attract and hire qualified employees. So when an applicant comes along who looks great on paper, your team likely gets excited about the possibility of hiring them. But according to recent research, not all applicants are completely truthful on their resumes. 

The 2019 State of the Recruiter survey from Monster found that 85 percent of recruiters think applicants exaggerate skills and competencies on their resumes. For the study, Monster surveyed 1,700 current, full-time recruiters from around the world. 

Given today's tight labor market, the last thing you want is to get a new hire on board only to realize they don't have the skills they claimed to have during the hiring process. This will cause productivity on your team to take a hit as you either put in extra effort to train the new employee or look to hire a more qualified candidate. 

1. Send prescreen surveys.

When you receive many applications for an open role, the process of manually reviewing each applicant can be time consuming. And your team likely wastes time on applicants who aren't a fit for your open roles -- including those who might not be completely truthful on their resumes.

To help you team weed out unqualified applicants, you can automatically send prescreen surveys as soon as candidates apply. These surveys typically consist of a few true/false questions, including some "knock out" questions, enabling you to automatically eliminate applicants who aren't a fit. 

If you need to hire an employee who has a specific certification, for example, you can include this as a "knock out question" in the prescreen survey so only applicants who meet your needs move forward for your team to review. Of course, it's also possible for applicants to stretch the truth during this stage of the hiring process, so you can further validate their skills in future hiring steps. 

2. Ask detailed interview questions.

The interview stage is a great time to ask candidates to share specific anecdotes related to their skills. If a candidate is applying for a sales role and says he or she is skilled at negotiating, you can ask the candidate to share a story about a time he or she negotiated in a previous role. Or if a candidate claims to have stellar customer service skills, you can ask about a time he or she had to deal with a challenging customer and how the issue was resolved. 

If candidates step around questions related to their skills and don't have clear answers to share, chances are they might have exaggerated on their resumes. Asking detailed questions like this will help you eliminate unqualified candidates before they make it any further in the process. 

3. Require skills tests. 

Even if candidates have strong answers during the interview stage, it's important for you to see them put their skills into practice before making a hire. To further verify their skills and experience, you can require skills tests post-interview. 

For common office administration and related positions, these tests can gauge basic computer and technical skills such as Microsoft Office, Excel or basic math skills. For other roles such as sales or marketing, for example, you can ask candidates to pull together a mini presentation related to your business that showcases your skills. Such tests will ensure you have even more confidence in potential hires before extending a final offer. 

4. Check in with references.

Beyond skills tests, another verification step you can take to ensure job applicants have the experience and skills they claim is running reference checks. Previous colleagues and managers can share first hand feedback about a candidate's specific skills that you might not uncover during an interview or other hiring step. 

Some hiring managers might skip reference checks if a candidate already seems qualified because they can be time consuming. But rather than playing phone tag with reference contacts, reference checks can easily be automated. With online reference checks, all candidates have to do is enter reference checks' personal information and a survey will automatically get sent for references to fill out. 

Your employees can make or break your organization's overall productivity and profitability, so it's critical to ensure each candidate is fully qualified before extending a job offer. By following these steps, you can hire employees who have the skills needed to succeed on your team.