Given the competitive hiring market, your team will likely jump at the opportunity to quickly move the hiring process along for applicants who look good on paper. But while applicants might appear qualified based on their resumes and cover letters, job seekers aren't always truthful to potential employers
A recent study from ResumeLab, a resume software company, found that 36 percent of its survey particpants admit to lying on their resumes. Additionally, 93 percent of respondents surveyed said they know people who have lied on their resumes. For the study, ResumeLab surveyed more than 1,050 Americans about whether people lie on their resume, what they lie about, and what factors led them to lie.
In some cases, employers make the mistake of hiring job seekers who stretch the truth on their resumes. This can ultimately cause productivity to take a hit if new hires aren't truly qualified for the role.
How can your team flag job applicants who aren't completely honest on their resumes - and avoid hiring them? I've outlined some key steps you can take below.
1. Rethink your job requirements.
According to the ResumeLab study, one of the top reasons some applicants lie on their resumes is because they feel as though they do not fully meet the requirements or have the right experience for the job. Rather than hiring a candidate who is not truthful, your team should consider loosening the requirements for your open roles.
I previously wrote a column about why you should hire candidates who don't meet all your requirements. In many cases, candidates who don't have the exact experience or background you're looking for can end up being some of your top employees-- as long as they're motivated and receive the right training.
In your job descriptions, rather than requiring three years of sales experience, for example, let job seekers know you're looking for applicants who are comfortable negotiating. Then, during the interview process, walk candidates through a potential sales scenario to see how they would negotiate the deal.
Top candidates will do well with this portion of the hiring process, whether or not they have direct job experience in sales. On the other hand, candidates who lie on their resumes might struggle to come up with an answer related to their skills and competencies.
2. Test candidates on their skills and experience.
Beyond presenting candidates with potential scenarios related to their fit for your open roles, you can also directly test candidates to ensure they have the skills or experience they claim.
As soon as applicants submit their resumes, you can send prescreen surveys with simple yes/no questions to weed out applicants who don't meet your basic requirements. Later in the hiring process, you can administer skills tests to gauge each candidate's skill level.
When it comes to skills tests, if a candidate says he or she has Microsoft Excel experience, for example, you can send a test via email that prompts the candidate to run through various formulas or functions. Candidates who lie on their resumes likely won't receive top marks on the test and you can eliminate these candidates from the hiring process, avoiding the potential mistake of hiring them.
3. Confirm work history with references.
The ResumeLab study found that the top lie candidates tell on resumes is related to the dates of a previous position. In fact, one-third of those surveys who have lied on a resume stretched the dates of a previous role.
To confirm accurate work history, make sure to include reference checks as a step in your hiring process for each candidate. This can be as simple as calling the previous employer about the dates of employment.
If you have further questions related to candidates day-to-day responsibilities and experience in previous roles, you can also ask references to elaborate about candidates' time on the job.
Job seekers who lie on their resumes likely don't have what it takes to succeed on your team and -- for all you know -- might continue to lie about their workload, metrics related to their performance, and more if hired. By taking proactive steps to avoid hiring dishonest candidates, you can hire qualified talent who will drive productivity and profitability for your organization.