According to EndlessLyrics.com, there are 10,000 songs that use the word “lie” or “lies” in the tile or in the lyrics. (I am referring to the noun meaning a false statement made with the deliberate intent to mislead, an intentional falsehood, a falsehood.)
Like love, lies are a universal musical theme. And over the years, I’ve come across a few. The kind of lies found on candidates’ resumes or exposed during background and reference checks.
More than 30% of all job applicants provide false information on their resumes, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
HireRight, a leading provider of on-demand drug screening and employment history solutions, has put together the five most outrageous lies they’ve come across.
Pre-employment screening improves every year, yet many applicants still outright manipulate, conceal, and lie on their resumes. Surprisingly, many job applicants simply don’t understand the seriousness of lying or trying to hide information from prospective employers. Here are five of the most unbelievable candidate lies, according to HireRight. How many have you seen?
1. Falsification of the Title or Credential Obtained
With such a high discrepancy rate in the information provided by candidates regarding their educational qualifications, it is important that you understand the variety of ways applicants lie to claim unearned degrees. In many cases, candidates may forge diplomas, buy a degree from a diploma mill, lie about their major, or have attended classes but never graduated.
Other times, applicants will falsify their educational qualifications by trying to pass off degrees earned by family members as their own. Such is the case with an applicant who presented “proof” of her education by presenting a valid title in her name. However, a problem arose as the title date was only five years after the applicant’s birth. The candidate confessed: the diploma belonged to his father, from whom he received his name!
2. Inflating salary history or the title you have
Not surprisingly, some candidates who are not qualified for a position may lie about their degrees to claim skills and experience they don’t have. They will inflate their previous salaries to bargain for better packages than they could get otherwise.
In one case, a candidate who claimed to have spearheaded many major M&A deals at a previous employer applied for a senior finance position at a Wall Street brokerage firm that was opening an office in Japan. As it turned out, his background check confirmed that he had, in fact, been heavily involved in each of the noted deals, as a staff interpreter!
3. Hide criminal record
The most common way candidates with criminal histories try to avoid detection is by changing details like their date of birth or the spelling of their name. It is important that you conduct very thorough criminal searches, beyond the basic data provided, to confirm the results and avoid hiring a potentially dangerous person.
For example, a search for Frank T. Booker (names changed to protect the not-so-innocent), DOB 6/8/72, came up clean, but a further search for F Booker resulted in a record found for a Fred T. Booker, born 8/26/72, for six DUIs and two felonies.
4. Exaggerated dates of previous employment
It is extremely common for applicants to lie about their dates of employment. Candidates often try to stretch the truth about dates to fill in gaps in employment that they may not want to explain.
An individual extended his termination date at his previous company by six months to hide the fact that he spent those six months serving a jail sentence!
5. Hide a drug habit
About half of Americans admit to having used an illegal drug at some point in their lives, so taking a proper drug test should be a standard step in any screening program. There are numerous ways that drug users try to pass the drug test, and some go to great lengths. In fact, one determined applicant recently decided to shave his entire body just hours before showing up for his scheduled hair sample drug test. A more common way for drug users to avoid detection is by adulterating their urine samples through dilution, the addition of other substances, or urine substitution.
What scheming applicants don’t realize is that today’s drug tests can identify these attempts and are more accurate than ever in determining positive and negative results despite tricks and excuses.
Lying on job applications, if not outright fraud, at least provides a reason to question an applicant’s character. With professional background check best practices in place, along with your best efforts, you should make the right hiring decision the first time.
The information provided in this article is attributed, in part, to HireRight, Inc.