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17% of Employees Have Provided Fake References When Applying to Their Jobs. 85% of Resumes Contain Exaggeration and Outright Lies


As an employer, it’s likely that at least once, you’ve been duped by an applicant’s amazing resume. Not only was it printed out on resume paper, rather than hastily scribbled on a napkin, most of the words were spelled correctly and the job history made it seem like they’d be a responsible, attentive and productive member of your team.

Unfortunately, the internet isn’t the only place where you can’t always believe what you read. According to a survey conducted by SocialTalent1, 17% of employees had provided fake references when applying to their jobs, and worse yet, 85% of resumes contain exaggerations and outright lies.

Luckily there are some red flags that signal, Danger Will Robinson, Danger! 

Unclear Personal and Contact Information

We’ve all felt like we wanted to escape from the world. But an honest individual has no problem including their complete legal name, address, phone number, and e-mail. whenever a candidate’s resume shows unclear on their personal and contact information, it’s a clear sign they have something to hide.

Unexplained Gaps

When the dates are clear, but there are gaps in between, ask them what their activities were. It could be that they were in school or took a leave of absence to have a baby. However, when the dates are overlapping, and the gaps are unexplained or aren’t satisfactorily explained, probe a bit deeper to uncover what they actually did during those periods. Being couch-locked might give them some product knowledge, but it doesn’t sit to well in regards to their work ethic.

Employers You Can’t Identify

Small businesses come and go, so there’s a good change that you may not know a person’s past employer. That doesn’t mean that the person is lying. It does mean that you should research the business before hiring. Google and make sure information online matches the information on the person’s resume. If the addresses don’t match, either the company moved or the person is hoping that you’re one of the many employers that doesn’t read every detail of a resume.

Unsolicited Name-Dropping

Is the applicant claiming a former apprenticeship with Keith Stroup or Jerome Baker? Be suspicious of these claims and ask for more information during an interview.

Ask References Consistent Questions

A reference check can be one of the most telling parts of the hiring process. One trick is to press references on more subtle nuances of a candidate’s employment. Consider asking not just about their job skills, but about their attitude, and how they handle stress and relationships with other staff. Above all, though, make sure you cover the same ground with each contact. Compare the answers to uncover anything that sounds a bit ‘off’.