Finding the right candidate to fill an open position can be stressful for many businesses. Many hours and resources are spent on recruiting the right person for the position. What can a company do if the candidate has padded his/her resume in order to stand out?

Emma Dawson, Face2Face business partner at Employmentsure, said: “Despite being a common practice, it is not easy to identify a dodgy resume, especially when the recruitment process begins.” “Often, an employer will not detect a dodgy resume until the employee begins working and any inconsistencies are apparent.”

She explains the signs to look out for when a CV is exaggerated.

Inconsistencies in the application, CV and verbal statements are common signs. Inconsistencies in dates can be a sign. What the candidate says verbally during an interview may not match what is on their resume. When the CV is vague or generic, such as’studied for a degree’, it can raise suspicions. Where did they go to school? When did they study? Did they finish their degree? Did they pass their degree? What major did they choose?”

If a CV is based on buzzwords it may be an attempt to divert attention from their suitability for a job or the truth of their employment record.

A recent LinkedIn Australia survey with more than 7,500 responses revealed that 75 percent of respondents said honesty was key, and they would never lie on their CV. In contrast, 18% said that lying is “too risky” and only 5% would lie just to “sound good.”

A CV that is shady can have things like a more impressive job title than the one they actually held in their previous job. To make up for gaps in employment, Ms Dawson suggested adding a few weeks or months onto the time spent in previous positions.

In many cases it is not about the content being dishonest. A CV that is not honest can be a subtle lie or exaggeration. Candidates may claim that they have completed certain tasks or projects, but in reality, it’s more likely that they have only done them once or twice. They have not gained enough experience to be able to handle the task. They may have listed their friends as references, even though they have never worked with them.

Source: Cytonn Photography at Unsplash

Legal Implications

A resume is not considered a legal document, so a minor typo or exaggeration would not be considered a serious offense. Faking documents such as letters of recommendation or formal qualifications is considered forgery. According to Commonwealth law, knowingly using fake documents or possesing them with the intent of using them can result in a maximum of 10 years of imprisonment. The business could be forced to pay compensation for the fraud.

Ms Dawson said, “Employers are protected, as long as they follow best practices and take legal action when dealing with these matters.” Employers must always consider the fairness of their termination process when terminating someone who has provided a shady CV.

How can business avoid such situations?

  • In order to help prospective candidates, it is important that the job description clearly outlines the expectations and role of the position, and distinguishes between the essential and desirable qualifications and skills.
  • To obtain additional information about a candidate, businesses can use tools such as questionnaires, aptitude tests and reference checks.
  • Checkr, Intelius TruthFinder and Certn, which search public records, are useful tools for confirming information on a CV.
  • Referroo and Checkster are examples of software that streamlines the verification process.

Ms Dawson also stresses the importance of paying attention to what is being asked during the recruitment process.

She noted that “some questions can lead to discrimination”. She noted that, for example, if a person of ethnic origin uses their Anglo-Saxon birth name instead of their own name on their CV. The fact that an employer asks questions which imply that the candidate is dishonest is not enough to reject their application.

It could result in adverse actions against the company, depending on the circumstances.

“Adverse actions are essentially discriminatory factors that are considered, particularly during the recruitment process. You’re looking for questions that are aimed at protected or personal attributes like age, sex and race. This is something employers should avoid as it could expose their business to more issues in the future,” explained Ms Dawson.