Resume padding is more common than you might think. So what is it?
Presenting false or misleading information about one’s education, work experience, credentials, job skills, or other important personal and/or professional data.
The following statistics come from a national survey conducted by CareerBuilder in 2015 among 2,532 hiring and human resource managers. More than half of employers (56%) have caught a lie on a resume. The most common areas around which job seekers lie are as follows:
Embellished Skill Sets – 62%
Embellished Responsibilities – 54%
Dates of Employment – 39%
Job Titles – 31%
Education – 28%
This should be a point of concern for any company motivating you start background checks on your job applicants. This will not only protect your business from risk, but save you money.
Adverse action, part of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), is a denial of employment, or any other decision for employment purposes, that unfavorably affects any current or prospective employees. The decisions may include not hiring, not retaining or not promoting an individual.
If an applicant’s consumer report returns adverse information, which may result in an adverse hiring decision, the employer is obligated under the FCRA to complete the following steps. If the employer does not take proper action they expose themselves to legal risk.
Before an adverse hiring decision is made, supply the applicant with the Pre-Adverse Action Letter, a copy of the consumer report and a copy of the Summary of Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This step notifies the applicant that information on the consumer report could lead the employer to take adverse action.
Give the applicant sufficient time to respond and/or dispute the information; the Federal Trade Commission suggests five days. This will allow the applicant the opportunity to review the consumer report and dispute the findings if they do not agree with the accuracy of the report.
If the applicant disputes the information on the consumer report, the Consumer Reporting Agency will reinvestigate any disputes and correct or reaffirm the report; an updated report will then be issued to the employer. The timing of the reinvestigation will depend on the issues being investigated; however it will be given immediate attention so a proper hiring decision can be made by the employer.
If adverse action is taken, send the Post-Adverse Action Letter. This step notifies the applicant that they are no longer being considered for the position or the offer is revoked.
Conducting thorough background checks will provide your company with the necessary information to protect itself and its employees. The following are the top five reasons to conduct pre-employment background checks:
- Falsified Resumes
If you receive a resume that is too good to be true, it probably is. Deception on resumes commonly entails falsifying education, stretching dates to cover employment gaps, enhancing job titles, embellishing job duties and achievements, fabricating credentials or licenses and inventing employers. A pre-employment background check will verify the accuracy of the information provided on the applicant’s resume.
- Falsified Identification
When an applicant falsifies their identification, they are usually trying to hide something. Here are examples of information that could be hidden with an applicant providing false information:
- Misspelling of name to avoid a past offense from being reported.
- Invalid Social Security Number to hide an alias.
- False address history to avoid uncovering a criminal offense that was committed in another state or county.
- Listing an education degree that was obtained through a diploma mill to hide not having a degree.
- Employee Theft
Past offenders have a greater tendency to recommit a crime; therefore a proactive pre-employment background check will uncover past criminal offenses and help protect your organization. The following fraudulent activities are commonly found in the workplace:
- Skimming – Taking cash/check payments before they are entered into the accounting system and reporting fewer sales than actually turned in.
- Lapping – Taking a customer’s cash/check payment and covering the theft by applying a different customer’s cash/payment to the account.
- Fictitious Vendors – Submitting invoices for payment from a fictitious vendor.
- Fraudulent Check Disbursements – Producing checks to non-business related payees or altering checks.
- Ghost Employee Schemes – Setting up an employee in the payroll system that does not exist.
- Theft and Sale of Inventory – Employees taking inventory without authorization and selling for personal gain.
- Submission of False/Fictitious Expense Reimbursements – Employees submitting expense reports for items already covered by a company credit card or items not allowable for reimbursement per the policy manual.
- Padding of Hours – Employees lying on timesheets.
- Improper Use of Company Credit Card – Employees using company credit cards for non-business expenses.
- Reduction in Turnover Costs
Verifying the truth and determining what is embellished on an application/resume will help you choose the best candidate for the job and minimize your turnover rate. Hiring the right person prevents:
- Restarting the hiring process.
- Loss of income due to the position being vacant.
- Lost customers.
- Low morale of staff.
- Prevents high turnover rate.
- Damage to professional reputation.
- Training of a new employee.
- Negligent Hiring
Negligent hiring defined as the failure to properly screen employees, resulting in the hiring of someone with a history of violent or criminal acts. It is important to remember that negligent hiring is a legal doctrine and employers are responsible and liable for the destructive actions of employees when due diligence (conducting background checks) would have revealed the employees’ propensity to commit such actions.
Definition: Companies that sell “degrees” on the internet without requiring the buyer to do anything more than pay a fee.
Shocking statistics from a May 20, 2015 editorial in The New York Times asserts that “there are 3,300 unrecognized universities worldwide, many of them selling degrees at all levels to anyone willing to pay the price, and that more than 50,000 Ph.Ds. are purchased from diploma mills every year – slightly more than are legitimately earned.”
The competitive job market has made education qualifications more valuable than ever so it is not surprising to see that job candidates are embellishing their qualifications. The Federal Trade Commission provides the following clues to help you spot questionable credentials on a resume or application. Look for:
- Out of Sequence Degrees. When you review education claims, you expect to see degrees earned in a traditional progression — high school, followed by bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral or other advanced degrees. If an applicant claims a master’s or doctoral degree, but no bachelor’s degree — or if the applicant claims a college degree, but no high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) diploma, consider it a red flag, and a likely sign of a diploma mill.
- Quickie Degrees. It generally takes time to earn a college or advanced degree — three to four years for an undergraduate degree, one or two years for a master’s degree, and even longer to earn a doctorate. A degree earned in a very short time, or several degrees listed for the same year, are warning signs for the hiring official or the person doing the preliminary screening.
- Degrees From Schools in Locations Different From the Applicant’s Job or Home. If the applicant worked full-time while attending school, check the locations of the job and the educational institution. If the applicant didn’t live where he went to school, check to see if the degree is from an accredited distance learning institution, using the steps described under ‘Checking Out Academic Credentials.’ If the degree is not from a legitimate, accredited distance learning institution, it may be from a diploma mill.
- Sound-Alike Names. Some diploma mills use names that sound or look like those of well-known colleges or universities. If the institution has a name similar to a well-known school, but is located in a different state, check on it. Should you come across a degree from an institution with a prestigious-sounding foreign name that calls for some homework, too. Researching the legitimacy of foreign schools can be a challenge, but consider it a warning sign if an applicant claims a degree from a country where she never lived.
A background screening provider can help you verify that the school, professional program, degree(s) achieved, and date the degree was awarded are accurate to what a candidate is reporting on their resume. If the applicant is still attending school, dates of attendance can also be provided. Verifying qualifications can protect you again negligent hiring claims in the future.
Are you aware if you are an employer in one of the 21 states and more than 100 cities and counties that have already passed “Ban the Box” legislation?
The “Ban the Box” movement relates to removing the conviction history checkbox from job applications thus making sure employers consider a candidate’s qualifications first and delay the background check inquiry until later in the hiring process
Noncompliance can make you subject to monetary fines and/or imprisonment which varies in severity. Two state examples are:
- For employers that employ 10 or fewer persons at a site, the penalty is up to $100 for each violation, not to exceed $100 in a calendar month.
- For employers that employ 11 to 20 persons at a site, the penalty is up to $500 for each violation, not to exceed $500 in a calendar month.
- For employers that employ more than 20 persons at one or more sites, the penalty is up to $500 for each violation, not to exceed $2,000 in a calendar month.
- A violation is a misdemeanor with potential penalties of a $500 fine and 90 days’ imprisonment.
- In addition, complainant may be awarded back pay, reinstatement, attorneys’ fees, and compensatory damages (including damages for emotional distress and expenses incurred in seeking other employment)