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Interview Techniques To Identify Resume Fraud And Job Deception

By May 10, 2012 February 19th, 2015 No Comments

iStock_000009726138XSmallIn light of the Scott Thompson scandal, where the Yahoo CEO was found to have padded his resumé and the director in charge of the CEO search was removed from Yahoo’s Board of Directors, we’d like to stress the importance of performing thorough resumé checks on potential job candidates.

According to news sources, Thompson’s bios stated he has degrees in computer science and accounting, whereas it was determined that he only has an accounting degree.   This is a perfect example of “padding” or “enhancing” your credentials in an effort to potentially appease a certain party or attain a certain outcome, such as an offer of employment.

Human Resource managers as well as those in charge of C-level executive searches should perform due diligence on every candidate to ensure that all the information stated on a resumé or CV is accurate.  In the Thompson case, confirming degrees conferred would have been a simple task.

Recognizing Deception during an Interview

Many HR Managers begin with the resumé and ask questions to determine what the skill set may have been for jobs listed on the resumé.  Carefully listening to the answers may indicate a situation where the candidate has inflated the resumé or listed positions in the background that have been “glamorized”.  Asking closed ended questions that have yes or no responses may not flush these errors out, and it may not be assumed that these omissions will be picked up in a background check.

There are a few clues you can look for when interviewing a candidate who may have padded his/her resumé or may be stretching the truth.  Here are a few tips:

  • Ask open ended questions.  Follow up with questions that will shed light on areas where there may be inconsistencies.
  • Look for eye contact.  When applicants stretch the truth, they typically break eye contact or look away.
  • Observe actions. Nervous twitches or tics may give away the false answers.  Switching crossed legs, leg shaking, toe tapping, finger drumming… are all indications that the candidate is uncomfortable.  Looking into this discomfort may reveal areas of potential deception.

The cost of making a hiring decision based on falsehoods incurs the obvious expenses of salary and benefits, but there are also hidden costs.  Time invested in training and lost time in finding the right candidate (which can takes months) cannot be recouped.  In Thompson’s case, there may be some additional “issues”.  Companies that file an annual report to the SEC are held accountable for all statements being accurate.

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