At Breon & Associates, we believe that a strong ethical culture can protect your company from unnecessary losses due to liability and fraud. Naturally, an important ingredient in an ethical culture is the presence of ethical individuals. Thus, when you hire and promote workers, you need to consider the applicant’s character for honesty and veracity. Unfortunately, too many organizations accept what an applicant says at face value and only later find out they’ve been deceived. This starts with an uncritical, or rather an un-skeptical, reading of an applicant’s resumé.
Consider this: an applicant who puts false or misleading information on a resumé to gain a hiring advantage may also falsify company records for personal gain. The idea that someone who lies to get hired will become honest once he’s landed the job is not logical. Rather, wouldn’t the reward for lying reinforce the tendency? So, if you hire this individual, you might not be able to trust him or any of your internal processes in which he plays a role. And there’s another important consideration: the applicant with the fraudulent resumé might not have the qualifications or innate ability to do the job.
So, here are a few pointers on detecting false claims on a resumé.
- Misleading timeline — If the applicant’s work history is vague, containing indefinite dates for beginning and ending employment, he might be trying to cover holes and give the impression he has more experience than he really has. If the resumé only lists years, not months and days, of employment, you need to elicit more precise dates. This is why you must have the applicant fill out a job application, after informing the applicant that it is a legal document and any statements later discovered to be false are grounds for immediate dismissal.
- Questionable degrees and majors — If the position you’re looking to fill calls for a specific degree, you might want to look for clues that an applicant has changed his educational credentials just for you. You might also see a course of study listed without a degree, which should raise a red flag. You must follow up with the institutions listed to verify the applicant’s credentials. This is especially important if you are unfamiliar with the school. In this case, you might want to check the institution’s accreditation with the U.S. Department of Education.
- Puffery — Everyone wants to look good on paper, and naturally applicants tend to embellish their experience and proficiencies. But you must draw the line at outright lies. Where skills testing is appropriate, you can get an objective measurement. But with matters like communication skills, collegiality and leadership, it’s important to verify the resumé by contacting former employers, supervisors, and personal references. When conducting an interview, you should ask open-ended questions with follow-ups to elicit greater detail.
Unfortunately, too many employers make excuses not to probe too deeply into an applicant’s background. They find the process burdensome, so when they find a candidate who looks good at first glance, they don’t want to stare too deeply into what could be an abyss. But, on the contrary, time and resources dedicated to checking resumés and conducting interviews can save your company in the long run.
This is a very brief treatment of a subject that deserves greater coverage. It is vitally important that you separate fact from fiction when screening candidates, so you can spare your company public embarrassment, legal woes or financial losses due to fraud. To learn more, call Breon & Associates today.
Contact Breon & Associates in Harrisburg
Consult Breon & Associates for knowledgeable, individualized assistance in preparation and filing. With offices in Harrisburg and North Central PA, Breon & Associates provides business, accounting and tax services throughout Pennsylvania. Call us at 1-888-516-8476 or 717-273-8626, or contact one of our offices online to schedule an appointment.
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Wyomissing, PA 19610