Leveraging Verifications in Background Screening

May 2 2024
5 min read

It’s not uncommon for individuals to stretch the truth on their resumes, CVs, and job applications. Whether it’s a slight exaggeration, a harmless fib, or a straight-out lie about academic credentials or nonexistent job roles, this is nothing new. But it seems to be growing more prevalent today, particularly as the interview process involves less face-to-face interaction—making it appear somewhat easier to get away with it.

Ready to work with a background screening provider who can help you with verifications?  Speak with our team to get started today.  

According to a recent StandOutCV survey, Google searches for advice relating to lying on resumes rose by 19% at the end of 2023 compared to 2022. On average, the same study found that 64.2% of Americans have lied about their personal details, skills, experience, or references on their resumes at least once. This could mean that an estimated 107 million Americans have lied on their resume to get a job.

Key findings of the survey also include:

  • Men are more likely to lie on a resume with 65.6% of men admitting to lying, compared to 63.3% of women.
  • Younger people are more likely to lie on a resume than older people, 80.4% of 18-25-year-olds said they had lied, compared to 46.9% of those aged 65+.
  • 1 in 4 (25.4%) have lied about their employer references, and 9 in 50 (18.5%) of this group have used fake job reference services, costing an average of $128.60 per reference, which can involve fake employers and paid actors.
  • Almost 3 in 10 (29.6%) have lied about their college degree on their resume, more than half (54%) of those people told employers they had a degree when they didn’t.
  • This research found that fake college degree certificates and transcripts can be bought online and cost an average of $197.83.
  • Almost 1 in 5 (18.6%) say they haven’t been caught regarding their job application lies.
  • Nearly three-quarters of people (73.4%) said they would consider using AI tools in 2024 to help embellish or lie on their resume.

What does this all mean?

For employers, it means you need to make sure you are getting as many facts as possible to make well-informed hiring decisions. What you don’t need is fiction when it comes to knowing who you are about to bring into your organization. Essentially, the more lies you do not uncover, the more at risk you are for potential theft; damage to employee, vendor, and customer relationships; workplace violence; and litigation for negligent hiring—a reality for many employers.

These risks can be minimized significantly if you take the necessary steps to help ensure a safe work environment. Background screenings, and specifically Verifications, such as employment, education, and references, among others, provide an important component both in reducing risks and in the defense against negligent hiring claims.

Three Areas Verifications Can Help Uncover the Truth

Verifications serve as a vital tool for employers to ensure the accuracy of information provided by applicants on their resumes or job applications. They not only assist employers in avoiding hiring individuals who have been less than truthful from the outset but also provide valuable insights into their character, skills, and background. Verifications help to address any gaps or discrepancies in employment or education history—although it’s important to note that not every gap or discrepancy signals dishonesty. Legitimate reasons, such as extended leaves for family reasons or educational interruptions, may contribute to such gaps and may have simply been overlooked in creating their resume. Without verifications though, there is no way to tell the difference.

Here are three areas that the study showed increased levels of untruthfulness—where verifications can be particularly helpful:

1.       Employment. The three most common things people had lied about on their resumes had to do with their prior employment, including their salary at previous jobs (32.8%), their skills (30.8%), and their previous work experience (30.5%). Employment Verifications confirm that the applicant’s employment history accurately represents their work experience, job titles, responsibilities, and employment dates. By cross-referencing the applicant’s claims with employment records, you can identify any discrepancies or inaccuracies in their work history.

2.       Education. Of the 29.6% who had lied about their college degree, more than half (54%) said they had lied about being a college graduate on their resume when applying for a job. Educational Verifications verify credentials listed by the applicant to help employers avoid this situation. By comparing the information provided by the applicant with official school records, you can ensure that the applicant’s educational claims are truthful.

3.       References. 25.4% of job applicants said they had lied specifically about the references on their resume. Reference checks offer valuable insights into their professional performance, character, and suitability for the position. Discrepancies between the information provided by references and the applicant’s claims often raise red flags.

By implementing thorough Verification processes, you gain a comprehensive understanding of your applicant’s background, qualifications, and suitability for the role to make more informed hiring decisions and maintain the integrity of your recruitment process. You also mitigate the risk of hiring unqualified or dishonest applicants, maintain the integrity of your hiring practices, and safeguard your organization’s reputation and success. To do so, it’s important to work with a trusted, PBSA-accredited background screening provider, such as Orange Tree, to ensure that Verifications are conducted responsibly, ethically, and in compliance with relevant laws and regulations governing privacy and data protection.

About Orange Tree Employment Screening

For more than 30 years, Orange Tree has provided technology-enabled background screening, drug testing, and occupational health services that are fast, easy to use, and can be tailored to the unique needs of each employer. Orange Tree streamlines hiring decisions, integrates with HCM and ATS platforms, and empowers employers in Healthcare, Manufacturing, Hospitality, Retail, Staffing, and other major industries to quickly fill open positions while delivering an engaging candidate experience. To get started with a background or drug screening program tailored to your needs, you can schedule time to Speak with Our Team.