June 19, 2018

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Five Common 'Fibs' Told by Job Applicants on Resumes and Applications

Every job applicant has the right to put their best foot forward and to accentuate the positive. However, when such efforts cross the line into fabrication and fantasy, employers need to be concerned. Based upon many years of performing background checks, here are five common “fibs” told by job applicants during the hiring process:

  1. Employment Inflation: Applicants give themselves a promotion in position by claiming an inflated job title or responsibility. An applicant may enhance a previous job from an assistant position to a management job, even though they never supervised anyone.

  2. Covering up Employment Gaps: Unexplained employment gaps are critical for employers. Without knowing where someone has been, it makes it harder to perform criminal checks and opens the possibility that an applicant may in fact have been in custody for a criminal offense. Stretching out job dates to cover up gaps in employment is a big problem.

  3. No Degree: There is a growing problem with applicants claiming degrees they do not have. This can stretch from claiming a degree for a school the applicant never attended, to turning some units into a BA or a BA into an advanced degree. Beware of applicants who claim the school made a mistake and then provides an authentic-looking degree. There are websites that will give anyone with a credit card a "genuine” imitation degree. When in doubt, send a copy of the supposed degree to the school for verification.

  4. Degrees from Fake School: Anyone with an e-mail address receives almost daily the opportunity to obtain a degree instantly- it only takes a credit card. Beware of diploma mills and phony schools. Some of the diploma mills are so sophisticated that they have even invented fake accreditation agencies. However, diploma mills should not be confused with legitimate distance learning schools that provide an education opportunity.

  5. Denying Criminal Records: It is critical to ask all applicants on both an application form and in an interview if they have a criminal record. Although a criminal offense may not automatically cause an employer to reject an applicant without some showing of business necessity, an employer who unwittingly hires someone with an unsuitable criminal record creates unnecessary risks for themselves, their workforce and the public, and creates the possibility of workplace violence or some other criminal act against co-workers, clients or the public.

The bottom line: Every employer has a duty to take reasonable precautions to hire individuals who are qualified and fit for the job. An employer who fails to exercise due diligence opens up the possibility of workplace violence, fraud, theft and lawsuits for negligent hiring.

-Lester S. Rosen

President of Employment Screening Resources

(c)by Lester S. Rosen