What Applicants May Not Be Telling You and What It Might Mean

40% of job candidates lie on their resume or application. Learn what they might not be telling you and how to better protect your hiring process against omissions risk.

When you are looking to fill a position at your organization, you are probably hoping to find someone that meets the skill, previous employment, and education qualifications for the job as well as factoring in their fit into your culture. It can take time, money, and careful vetting to find someone you think checks all those boxes. 

Did you know that more than 40% of job candidates lie or omit information on their resume or application? 

This could be falsifying a degree, the length of time they were in a position, or just omitting something that they think is not relevant. When identified, this information could have an impact on how you may think the candidate would fit in your open position and often it warrants further discussion. Depending on the circumstances and gravity of the lie or omission, it may even be enough to disqualify a candidate. If not caught during the verification process, it could mean going back to the drawing board, wasting more time and money on the search, and experiencing a longer time of unproductivity. 

Even more unsettling is that 80% of job candidates who falsify or omit critical information on their resumes are hired. Surely, a great number of these candidates’ falsehoods and omissions were not discovered or, at least, not before they already had the job. This does not mean that you should be overly suspicious of all job applicants. But given the importance of finding the right candidate who fits the organization and the complexity of the  application and interview process, it can be worthwhile to use a pre-employment  verification process to help unearth these inconsistencies, determine what information is relevant for review and ultimately better protect yourself from potential risk.

What Might You Be Missing if You Don’t Do Thorough Pre-employment Verifications?

Let's say you’re looking to fill a role in your organization and, after going through applications, resumes, and speaking with candidates, you think you may have found a strong individual. Based on their listed qualifications and what they have told you, this individual appears to be a good fit and you are considering  extending an offer for them to join your organization. That's when the background screening process can begin. Conducting a thorough background screen can help you better understand, qualify, and verify that what the candidate included in their application and in their interview is accurate and truthful.

Oftentimes, they match up and all is good.  But not always…

For example, you could be hiring for an electrical engineering job and an applicant has noted that they have a degree in electrical engineering. It's important that their education data matches the skills of the job because this is a prerequisite for the  position and must be true. But, if that individual does not have that degree, they may not be qualified for the work. Without verifying their education, you could be introducing risk into your organization.

Employment and education verification is incredibly important for employers operating in compliance driven industries, and for those who serve customers with high regulatory standards. Additionally, when hiring for a position that requires very specific skills, experience, and education, employers should ensure they have a pre-employment verification process to help validate this information.

What Else Might They Not Be Telling You?

Education isn’t the only misrepresentation or omission that you may run into. Other common omissions you could potentially find include:

  • Covering up gaps in employment to avoid questions

  • Claiming to work for a company they never worked for in order to seem more credible

  • Criminal history

Omissions like these don’t always mean that somebody is doing something purposely to be fraudulent or to try to embellish. But, when the omission is discovered, it could signal to you to engage in additional conversations with the candidate and ask probing questions on their work experience, the amount of time they had on a job, or perhaps about experiences they shared with you in the interview process.

Not all information that's omitted is bad. It just means that it may not have been seen as relevant by the applicant. But, it is important that you have all the information you need to help you make a good decision. In many cases, omissions don't mean that an individual isn't qualified for the job, they just mean that there's more to dig into to get a full view of the candidate.

How To Better Protect Your Process Against Omissions Risk

While an omission is not necessarily an intentionally nefarious act, not having all the information on a candidate could introduce the potential for skills mismatches, business culture issues, and retention risk. If you're only specifically verifying the employers and education information that's been listed on their resume, you don't know what you don't know.

By verifying an individual using verified data through the background screening process, you're more able to identify if there is work history or employers that may not have been listed on the resume. You can gain a more complete picture of the candidate, identify if they have the appropriate experience and education, and potentially uncover business culture or possibly integrity issues. Without a more complete candidate picture, your new hire may not be qualified and could leave or be asked to leave within the first 30 or 60 days or more.

With a tight talent pool, it is really important to think about how to help reduce employee turnover and hire candidates that fit with your organization and their role. Having verified data to help ensure that a candidate has accurately represented their work experience and tenure can really help you determine if they are truly qualified and possess the required skills for the role. Confirming this probable fit pre-hire would seem preferable to finding out a new hire might not be qualified for the role weeks or months into the job. In the latter scenario, the employee might feel underqualified themselves and select themselves out of the organization, or you might have to make the hard decision to ask them to leave. And if this happens in under 30 days, for example, you've immediately put yourself back into a scenario where you're back in the hiring process for a position that you had likely hoped to have filled.

Verifying Employment and Education History

Conducting a thorough verification process can help you mitigate risk by helping ensuring that you're not hiring somebody who may have provided false information on their resume or has actually left off information from their application that might be pertinent and valuable to know.

Depending on your method, verifying employment and education history can be time-consuming, and it can result in some really big challenges. These challenges tend to surface most often when you’re doing it manually and alone. At its most time-consuming, you may be making numerous phone calls and checking pay stubs. This can cause strain on existing resources, and that strain could be exhibited not just in the HR organization but also on the hiring manager and the teams that are waiting patiently for that role to be filled. Sometimes the verification process, if done manually and independently, can delay the hiring. And when you know you have tight timelines and talent that is potentially looking at multiple different opportunities, speed to hire can be critical.

A recent study shows that employers who have accessed candidates with verified employment history in their hiring process observe:  

  • 28% higher 6-month retention rate

  • 45% higher 1-year retention rate

  • 59% higher 2-year retention rate

…compared with employers who do not conduct employment verifications.*

What this means is that through pre-employment verification using verified data, you're often better equipped to evaluate a candidate's true experience and education information to help determine their quality of fit for the job, the role, and your organizational requirements. And when you find the right fit, you're more likely to retain them than organizations that are working without verifications.

If you are not currently doing any pre-employment screening and are interested in learning more about where to start, what options are available, and how pre-employment verifications can help you know more about candidates up front to further enhance your ability to make more informed hiring decisions, visit us at https://workforce.equifax.com/solutions/pre-employment-verifications.

*Equifax, 2018

The information provided is intended as general guidance and is not intended to convey any tax, benefits, or legal advice. For information pertaining to your company and its specific facts and needs, please consult your own tax advisor or legal counsel.  Equifax Workforce Solutions provides services that can help employers reduce their compliance risks. Details on our provision of these services and related support will be contained in your services agreement. Links to sources may be to third party sites. We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third party sites or services.

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