How hiring managers can catch lies on a resume

As a hiring manager, almost nothing

is as important as ensuring that your company has unfettered access to the best

available talent in your industry whenever you have an open position on your

team. That said, something that’s just as important is protecting your

organization from candidates who lie on their resumes–including everything from

small lies that may seem insignificant but could come back later to haunt your

team, to bigger lies that may have a real adverse and lasting impact on your


After all, in many ways you’re the

gatekeeper between your company and the world, and your instincts and expertise

as an HR professional will help decide who gets to play a key role in

supporting and building your company. That’s a great responsibility, and one

that should be taken with great seriousness if you want to fully support the

company you work for. There’s just no upside to offering shady candidates keys

to your kingdom–if they’re willing to start things off on a foundation of lies,

it’s a real reflection of their compromised moral and ethnic judgment and

decision-making abilities. And if they’re willing to be dishonest on their

resumes, who knows what other duplicitous activities they’re capable of?

You likely don’t need us to tell you how important it is to ensure that your HR pipeline remains as free from inaccurate and lie-laden resumes as possible–but are you confident that you’re going about it in the most effective way possible? Keep reading for ways you can help make sure that you’re catching resume lies when they show up at your company’s doorstep.

Look for inconsistencies

Candidates who are intent on lying

on their resumes will make a real effort to cover up their tracks, but you may

(or may not) be surprised by how many of these deceitful images can be caught

at their own game by a careful resume review. When reviewing resumes, look for

things that simply don’t make obvious logical sense. Dates of employment that

don’t line up or that unexplainably overlap, odd jumps between jobs (going

straight from an intern to a vice president might be a red flag), or jobs that

don’t seem to align with a candidate’s background or education (a candidate

with a BA in psychology working as the head of a hospital’s psychiatric team

might be questionable) should all serve as triggers that something fishy might

be going on.

Conduct careful initial phone screens

We know you’re busy and taking the

time to carefully screen every potential candidate is time-consuming but trust

us–it’s well worth your time. The truth is, the best hiring managers have

well-honed lie-detection skills and speaking to a candidate can help reveal

some truths that they were trying to keep under wraps.

Look for classic “tells” that might

indicate someone is lying–these include things like misplaced overconfidence,

over-explaining points on one’s resume, and curious nervousness and anxiety

that comes and goes during the conversation. Also, be on the lookout for

candidates who mention something that contradicts with what’s written on their

resumes–sometimes they may not have committed their lies to memory and slip an

accidental truth in while talking.

Don’t short the reference checks

As an HR professional this may seem

obvious, but trust us–the reference check often gets shorted in the process

when things are busy, especially when a candidate makes a powerful and positive

impression during interviews and you really want to hire her or him. Lying

candidates are counting on this, and their lies are essentially a gamble that

you won’t catch them up by performing a detailed background check.

Diligence includes everything from

requiring a comprehensive set of references to contacting them and following up

if they aren’t immediately available. Yes, sometimes actually getting in

contact with a reference can be a real chase, but it’s worth your time to be

persistent. If there are any things that still seem odd on a resume, even after

meeting with a candidate, the reference check could be a place to effectively

get to the truth. Also, be sure to scour social media and LinkedIn, which may

also uncover some discrepancies between what a candidate says on their resume

and reality. 

If you want to do everything you can

to ensure that deceptive candidates don’t make it far along in your hiring

process, you must screen them carefully–and the resume review process is a

great place to get to the truth. Use the strategies and advice presented here

to help support your efforts.

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