The little white lies and embellishments that job applicants formerly used to puff up their qualifications are being replaced by identity fraud and credential scams that go way beyond boasting and exaggeration.
Worse, it seems that misrepresentations by applicants have reached epidemic levels. For instance, one report claims that 85 percent of employers have caught applicants fibbing on their resumes or applications, up from just 66 percent five years ago. Also, with video interviewing and take-home assessments on the rise, more applicants are gaming the system by hiring stand-ins or ringers to take tests or attend client interviews.
Discovering that a candidate has misrepresented his or her identity or qualifications can not only result in financial penalties and lost credibility, it can be downright embarrassing for MSPs and their staffing partners.
Because fraud can occur at various stages of the hiring process, staffing firms need to take a comprehensive approach to the authentication process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to confirming that the applicant actually has the competencies, knowledge and skills that he or she claims.
Check the Identity of Interviewees
While video interviews make it more convenient to tap into the global talent pool, they also make it easier for a substitute to take over or an unscrupulous candidate to receive answers or coaching from someone behind the scenes. The only way recruiters can be sure that the same person they interviewed is the one who shows up for the interview with the hiring manager or assignment is by verifying the identity of candidates at every step of every hiring process.
For instance, snapping a photo of the applicant during the initial interview or checking passports makes it much easier to conduct comparisons during subsequent meetings. Recruiters and hiring managers can also be trained to evaluate body language and pay attention to the respondent’s mouth and eye contact to make sure she is actually speaking and not lip synching or getting signals from someone off camera.
New technology, such as biometric identification and authentication, also makes it possible to match and verify an applicant’s voice during video interviews and avoid bait-and-switch scams.
Confirm Resume Information
Recruiters are the first line of defense in spotting resume fraud. And because detection requires the proper degree of professional judgment, sleuthing and skill, their employers should train them to look for date discrepancies or job titles and duties that don’t align to identify falsified employment history, hidden gaps or overstated job titles and skills.
While falsifying employment history is bad enough, more extreme resume fraud occurs when a job seeker steals an entire document from the Internet and claims it as his own. Resume piracy is particularly rampant among less skilled workers, who steal backgrounds to make them more marketable.
Asking behavioral interview questions using the S.T.A.R. approach can help recruiters dig deeper to see how candidates have applied hard and soft skills in the past. Prospects who are bending the truth will generally stumble or have a hard time providing specific details about their level of participation on projects or the application of a software program or tool. Checking a candidate’s resume against their online profiles or portfolios can also reveal inconsistencies, potential lies or theft.
Finally, former employers, managers and colleagues should be contacted for references and, most importantly, verification of duties, titles, must-have skills and achievements.
Verify Education and Credentials
One of the most common areas of misrepresentation involves listing degrees from “diploma mills” or including the names of colleges attended, giving the false impression that the candidate received a degree from those institutions. Indeed many famous and successful people have lied about their education on their resumes – and some have even gotten away with it.
Staffing firms should run a background check, request copies of transcripts, or use a service such as the National Student Clearinghouse to verify a candidate’s dates of attendance or degrees. Certifying organizations typically have a formal procedure for verifying the certifications and licenses of members as well.
Execute the Basics, Every Time
Let candidates know up front that you will be verifying their credentials and background as part of the hiring process as ask them to sign a release. Use E-Verify to confirm the identity and employment eligibility of newly hired employees, and whenever possible, administer skills-based tests or audition-style interviews to measure their capabilities.
With resume and application fraud costing organizations more than $600 billion annually, failing to take a comprehensive, consistent approach to the candidate authentication process can be costly for staffing firms, MSPs and their clients.
Tim De Potter