Study Finds Huge Jump In Resume Fraud

According to the 2017 Employment Screening Benchmark Report, 85% of employers found embellishments or outright lies on job applicant resumes in the last year.  This finding is up from 66% only five years ago. While lying on a resume is nothing new, the steep jump hiring managers uncovering untruths in such a short period of time is certainly cause for concern.

HireRight’s 2017 Employment Screening Benchmark Report provides insight from nearly 4,000 human resource professionals about employment screening best practices. The report explores key issues, trends, and underlying business drivers affecting background check programs of U.S. organizations and compares these findings to survey results over the last decade.  Here’s a quick overview of the key themes within the report:

Mary O’Loughlin, the Vice President of Global Customer Experience at HireRight, believes the increase in resume lies could be attributed to a recent wave of Baby Boomers retiring. Hoping to cash in on Boomers’ former roles, roles that generally required greater skills and experience than the rest of the labor force, job hopefuls are inflating their credentials and skills, O’Loughlin says. Another possible reason: Job applicants may have been out of work during the Great Recession and don’t want those years to go missing on their resumes.

Of course, being caught in a lie is far worse than explaining a gap in employment. As O’Loughlin states,

“In reality, most employers are going to be more upset about the lying than someone not having a job for a period of time. Employers understand that there were a number of people who were unemployed during that period or at some point during their career and most won’t hold it against [them].”

The top three areas of fraud to look for and suggestions provided by

Covering up Employment Gaps

Many candidates are concerned about explaining periods when they were out of work. FakeResume’s recommendation: Pretend you were volunteering. It’s a lot tougher to verify volunteer work than employment history. But if you’re suspicious, don’t just brush past the issue. Ask probing questions about the work and, if possible, check references at the organization.

Another tactic to cover employment gaps or inflate experience is the so-called “functional resume,” which lists experience and accomplishments grouped by type, followed by a list of previous employers, rather than a chronological list of past positions. Not everyone who uses a functional resume is lying — but it might put you on alert.

Fake References

Most resume lies can be caught by checking references — so candidates who are serious about their dishonesty will provide references that are fake or impossible to check. FakeResume recommends candidates provide the name and phone number of a fictitious supervisor at a large company. The number actually belongs to a friend who pretends to be an admin and tells the caller the company only provides references via letter. The candidate then mails a fake reference letter. Candidates also place “typos” in a former employer’s address or phone number, hoping HR won’t bother when they can’t contact the person. If you’re concerned about the references someone gives, experts recommend finding the company’s Web site and contacting the supervisor through the main phone number.

Embellished Responsibilities

Most fraudulent resumes don’t contain outright lies. More often, candidates stretch the truth, beefing up previous titles and exaggerating the responsibilities they had in previous positions.

The best way to catch those fibs is to ask detailed questions and not let the candidate off easy if you get vague or suspicious answers. Another tactic: Bring in somebody who’s already doing a job similar to the one the person’s applying for. Dishonest applicants will try to fake their way through an interview using buzzwords and generalities but break down when someone who’s actually experienced in the field asks for details.

Malcolm Whyte, SPHR – Vice President HR Services

Disclaimer: Some information contained herein has been abridged from numerous sources and may be protected by various copyright laws. Such information should not be construed as consulting or legal advice. Please contact our office for specific advice and/or referrals




Bay Area Human Resources Services

Employee Engagement Survey Basics

According to SurveyMonkey, when employees are engaged with their work, they’re more fulfilled and more motivated. That ultimately leads to higher productivity—as much as 22% in some cases.  So, an engaged workforce results in a more productive — and profitable — organization. In fact, Gallup found that companies with highly engaged workforces outperformed their peers by 147% in earnings per share.

Employee engagement surveys often are the first step toward increasing employee engagement. But the surveys will be ineffective without the support of senior management, which is essential for the survey results to spark needed changes. Ensure that employees’ responses will remain confidential to get honest answers, and keep the surveys simple and straightforward.  The following are some employee engagement survey basics as provided by XpertHR legal editor, Robert Teachout, SHRM-SCP.

 Survey’s Purpose

Statistics show that organizations with highly engaged workforces generally outperform those with low employee engagement and typically have higher productivity and profitability, less employee turnover, and lower absenteeism rates.

An employee engagement survey is designed to help HR and senior management understand how employees perceive their work environment and the extent to which they are engaged and committed. The survey can provide an organization with employee feedback to help it identify where it is maximizing employee potential and where attention is needed to improve staff motivation, productivity and retention. Human resources manager Kevin Epley, SHRM-SCP, of Landmark Automotive Group in Springfield, Ill., said, “With my own engagement survey experiences, I’ve learned to take the good and bad feedback and work with it for better employee engagement outcomes.”

 Preparing to Survey

It is recommended that HR gain the commitment of the organization’s senior leadership to use and act on the survey data prior to undertaking the survey process. When the employer does not follow through after an engagement survey has been conducted, employees’ trust is drastically reduced and the employer will have a harder time getting employee buy-in and participation in future efforts. When the employer follows through, however, employee trust grows.

An employee engagement survey should not have too many aims. It should focus on a small and manageable number of questions that are relevant and meaningful to the organization. To determine the design of the survey, the employer should consider what impact it wants the survey to have on the organization. As well as striving to understand and increase engagement, many employee surveys endeavor to improve key measures, for example, business performance, recruitment or staff retention.

 Confidentiality Is a Top Priority

To encourage employees to participate in the survey, employers must ensure that they maintain employee confidentiality throughout their analysis. It is important that employers do not analyze results at a level or by using a demographic that will identify employees. This means that respondents should not be able to be identified from their responses. The employer should communicate to employees that confidentiality is important and guaranteed. If the employer doesn’t ensure anonymity, it can undermine or erode the trust of employees, noted Adam Calli, SHRM-SCP, principal consultant at Arc Human Capital in Washington, D.C. “Without trust, you can’t have a great place to work.”

To ensure confidentiality, the employer should not analyze or share survey results at the team level in instances where a team provides fewer than 10 responses, nor should the employer break down results by demographic data if the demographic group is not large enough to ensure anonymity. However, these results will still feed into the results for the organization as a whole and any higher business-unit levels. Wording to this effect should be included on the survey.

 Content and Process

The survey should be straightforward and easy to understand, administer and analyze. Marking all questions, or just marking potentially sensitive questions, as nonmandatory can encourage survey completion because this will enable employees to complete the survey while leaving blank questions that they would prefer not to answer. “The greater your response rate, the greater the insight you can draw from the survey,” said Calli, “and the better tailored your go-forward strategy can be.”

A 5-point scale is recommended to allow for gradations in perception (versus “Yes”-“No” answers).

Employers should keep the survey title simple and avoid the term “engagement,” which could be confusing to respondents.

 Survey Results

Survey data should be analyzed for overall trends across all respondents, and, if relevant, broken down by large, intact departments, organizational units and/or demographic groups. The analysis should focus on a comparison between responses of “engaged” and responses of those who are “disengaged.”

HR should be responsible for survey administration, data analysis and reporting. Reports of survey results should be available to HR and senior leadership. Once an employer has evaluated its engagement surveys and initiatives, it should follow through on needed changes. Employees should be apprised of any changes that are a result of survey findings.

Improving employee engagement should be viewed as an ongoing process, with a number of diverse campaigns and initiatives, including the employee engagement survey. In addition, “expect the engagement survey effort to be ongoing,” said Calli. “A ‘one-off’ might yield results that could be interesting, but you really get the best ROI [return on investment] when you’ve done the survey a few times and can track trends and identify patterns.”

Malcolm Whyte, SPHR – Vice President HR Services

Disclaimer: Some information contained herein has been abridged from numerous sources and may be protected by various copyright laws. Such information should not be construed as consulting or legal advice. Please contact our office for specific advice and/or referrals.

Bay Area Human Resources Services