Imagine this scenario: You’ve identified a good candidate who has a bachelor’s degree from a respected state school. You know this because it said so on her resume and application. Maybe she even included a scan of her degree. Your human resources duties are done for the week. But are they?
Misrepresentation of educational background is one of the most frequently lied about details on candidates’ resumes, and the dubious practice is on the rise. A study conducted by staffing firm OfficeTeam found that 46 percent of workers polled said they know someone who included false information on a resume. This represents a 25-point increase from a 2011 survey. Simply put, candidates are lying about their education at epidemic levels. Hiring managers are often simply too busy (or too trusting) to check whether information on the application is true.
Increasingly, employers are looking for very specific degrees and qualifications to avoid wasting time with armies of generalists applying for jobs they’re not qualified for. Many candidates, confident they “know” the job, are stretching the truth about their degree level (bachelor’s versus master’s) and their majors. The most egregious offenders are inventing entire educational backgrounds and even creating fake diplomas. (For fun, here’s a recounting of some of the most memorable resume lies recounted by employers.)
Candidate Screening Tools
The good news is that screening tools are getting better and easier to use. As an employment background screening company, we provide clients with highly detailed reports very quickly, so potential employers can uncover the candidates misrepresenting themselves before they are accepted (or rejected). The services go beyond verifying degrees: DataCheck Degree Check can verify high school diplomas, G.E.D. certificates, college and university attendance, degrees, and trade school certification. It can also find misrepresentation of grade point averages and class ranking. (Your “valedictorian” may have barely squeaked a passing grade.)
Not all application lies are easy to spot (unlike the 32-year-old worker claiming 25 years of professional experience). Subtle misrepresentation and “white lies” can be expensive and time-consuming to catch, so many companies simply “take the chance,” which can result in expensive hiring mistakes (not to mention lawsuits by clients and customers). With the aid of an experienced third-party background check organization, the process becomes fast, easy and reliable.