How to Discover Lies In A CV

How to Discover Lies In A CV

Hiring a well-qualified candidate can be very essential to the growth of a company. Companies invest a lot of money and effort in recruitment processes. It will be heartbreaking to find out that a prospective employee is nothing compared to what he claims he is. Recruitment processes normally span across weeks or months.

The thought of recruiting a false candidate after all these months can be daunting.  As a manager in charge of the recruitment processes of your company, you will occasionally come across candidates who tell white lies in their application. Twisting around the truth in a resume or cover letter is not unheard of. A third of job applicants lie on their resumes. There are lots of reasons why a candidate would be dishonest about their resume. With the recent increase in workforce, most industries have become tougher to get into. A thousand and one candidates apply for the same position every day. To stand out from the crowd, a candidate needs to have an edge over other applicants. How can a candidate achieve this, without having an outstanding application or resume to put him first in the mind of the recruiters? Technology has played a significant role in different areas and works of life.

With the new resume sieving machine called the applicant tracking system (ATS), recruiters can easily reduce the number of candidates that are unfit for a role. The ATS software simply looks out for predetermined parameters on resumes without which a candidate is deemed unqualified. Candidates on the other hand try to beat the system by fine-tuning their resume to meet up with the ATS requirements. No candidate wants to be eliminated before getting the opportunity of an actual interview. Every candidate believes that once they land the job, they will learn and improve along the way. What they do not know is that it is easier said than done.

In addition to that, no company has the time to wait for you to learn. This is the reason the company wanted an experienced hire in the first place. The downside of hiring the wrong candidate can be disastrous to a company. Asides from the time and money that has been mentioned earlier, hiring the wrong candidate can cost the company its reputation and productivity as the employee will not deliver. To avoid any of these, an employer should start early to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Ways To Discover Lies On A Resume

Apply common sense

Does a candidate seem too good to be true? The first place to start is using your common sense to judge. If you are in doubt, review the level of experience the candidate included against the landmark an individual at that age can achieve at that point. For example, an entry-level candidate that just graduated can not possibly have 5 years of continuous experience without a gap. The candidate might have different part-time works broken into different times of the year, but it is hard to combine school with full-time work hours. A candidate can have the experience stated on the resume but fails to communicate the timeframe well.  The HR personnel reading the resume might not call you on phone to clarify the date. This is the reason, candidates are advised to write resumes that are clear and understandable to avoid misconceptions.

Schedule a phone screening

As mentioned above, some recruiters might not have the time to call candidates to verify details. They would rather cut down work for themselves and dump your resume. But if you are a hiring manager reading this, it is always good to give that candidate a benefit of the doubt. While reviewing a candidate’s resume, make a note of details that does not sit right with you. This will give enable the hiring manager to figure out questions pinpointing the areas that are unclear or vague.  The next step is to call and verify the candidate’s claim. Many candidates find it easier to form lies on paper but might be caught off the balance if asked to defend them vocally. If you detect any sign of hesitation or incorrect information, you might just have the answer you need.

Cross-reference Resumes with LinkedIn profiles

LinkedIn is a platform for professionals to network together. LinkedIn acts as an online resume for many professionals to exhibit their skills, education, and experience. LinkedIn like many other social or business platforms has a public profile. Information about candidates on LinkedIn tends to be more accurate since candidates are less likely to lie about when their close contacts can easily review these details. Go through the candidate’s profile and see how he has presented himself. A hiring manager who is determined to know the truth can take a further step to check on the candidate’s social media profiles. A picture can tell a lot of stories about a person.  A candidate who claims to have gone to Harvard should have at least one picture in the school environment. I would not advise an employer to make a final judgment based on this, cause a lot of people are not fond of taking photographs. You might lose a good candidate by wrong judgment.

Inconsistent dates

A common way to identify lies in a resume is through the dates. When you are going through a candidate’s resume and notice inconsistent dates, it is a clear sign that the candidate might be lying. I would have advised arranging a phone call interview with such a candidate to verify his claim, but this is resource-consuming when you have multiple candidates to verify. One way to identify the flaw is by checking if two different work experience has the same date. The major reason why candidates have inconsistent dates on their resumes is that they are trying to fill up an employment gap. Most candidates feel it makes them appear as slack. Instead of a candidate filling up those gaps with full-time work, he can cover it up with volunteering activities, consultancy work, remote work, or training, if he did any of the above.

Work experience does not match the educational background

This is one of the easiest factors to look out for when reviewing a candidate’s resume. A candidate might claim to have worked as a Nutritionist, while his field of study is not associated with nutrition. Probably the candidate might have studied statistics during his undergraduate program. As a hiring manager, this is a topic you should not approach with a biased mind. The candidate might be telling the truth. It is no longer a hidden fact that top companies carry out graduate trainee programs that candidates from any field can apply for. A perfect example is the big Four, Pwc, KPMG, Delloite, and Ernest and young. These are financial institutions that majorly do auditing, tax, or advisory work, but they allow every candidate to be groomed in the financial field.  So before deciding to dismiss a candidate based on this, you should probably call to confirm.

Call the candidates references

When assessing a candidate, it is also advisable to check and see if there are available references. If the candidate has very few or no references at all it might be a cause for alarm. This might not necessarily mean the candidate is lying, cause a lot of candidates prefer to keep the details of their references hidden for safety reasons. They would rather write references available at request than put down the details of the reference on the resume. The world is getting scarier every day, with lots of internet frauds and other scamming sites. The candidate might be skeptical to give all these details, especially when he is not sure of the company’s authenticity. On the other hand, if the candidate provides the details of his references, you can put a call across to them and verify the candidate’s claim.

A vague description of skills and experience

Job candidates might extend the truth by using vague or unclear terms to describe their skills and experience. One of the ways to detect this is by checking how they present themselves. Carefully read the descriptions the candidate provided for their work experience and skills. Check whether the description is clear to understand. If the candidate is beating around the bush, he will use ambiguous phrases like ‘familiar with’ or ‘involved in’. In other words, claiming to be familiar with the activity when he did not participate in the activity.


A candidate that is trying so hard to appear as what he isn’t, will always try to sound pretty convincing and accurate. They up exaggerating about their skills and make it sound really big. This is often because they have no idea of what the actual role entails. Probably they have read online about it, so they copy and paste a job description a blogger has posted on their resume.

Give a call to the candidate’s Alma mater

If the educational background of a candidate does not sit well with you, the best thing to do is to give a call to the university In question. Some candidates might feel insecure about the university they attended and might want to lie about the university they attended. Some can go to the extent of falsifying a certificate or transcript. Universities always have a detailed record of their students. Just one phone call to the right department and you are on your way to determining a candidate’s authenticity.

Failure to pass a skill test

There is a basic skill test a candidate in a particular field should pass. A candidate who claims to be a translator should be fluent in that language. You can just put a call across to the candidate using the language he claims to be knowledgeable about to see how he responds. The candidate will not know who is calling, since the number will be unknown to him. If the candidate is fluent in that language, he should be able to converse with you perfectly.

 The disparity between information in cover letter and resume

Most candidates outsource their resumes to experts but hardly go through the stress to outsource a cover letter. Most times, the candidate will not go through the flashy information embedded on the resume while writing the cover letter. The candidate might end up writing a different thing from what the resume says. This is a clear sign that the candidate is lying on either the cover letter or resume.

Fancy job titles

In as much as this fallacy might not be from the candidate, in particular, it is still necessary to pick out this kind of candidate. This is because the actual duties carried out by the candidate might not match the fancy name. If you as a recruiter ends up recruiting such a candidate, you will be left with an unproductive employee.

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