When we think of pre-employment screening, employers often think of conducting background checks to turn up any criminal record a job applicant has or running a credit report to see if the potential hire is financially trustworthy. But the pre-employment screening process actually should start with something much simpler — verifying the information contained in the applicant’s résumé.
A lot has changed about the hiring process, but a résumé is still often the first thing you see regarding a potential employee. Yet would-be employees continue to pad their résumé with half-truths and outright lies, which makes employment verification a critical step in the hiring process.
As an employer, you need to do your homework on each and every applicant you are seriously considering, to make sure you’re getting someone with the depth of experience and education they purportedly have. The most common details on a résumé that are “enhanced” include:
- Education. Doublecheck the fact that the applicant received the degree listed from the university listed. Also check to make sure the educational institution is an accredited college or university, not one of the many “diploma mills” out there.
- Length they’ve held a title. Sometimes an applicant will list an ending title beside the dates of their employment with a particular company, making it seem like they’ve been in a managerial or executive position for far longer than they have. Find out how long they held the most recent title and what responsibilities they had.
- Singular responsibility for group success. Applicants often enhance the contributions they made to a company’s bottom line or new initiative, regardless of how personally involved or responsible they were for that success.
- Salary. Make sure the current salary they list is what they’re actually earning, not what they think they’re worth.
- Computer skills. Employees know how critical it is to have certain computer-related skills, but listing a bunch of programs and applications in which they’re “proficient,” or saying that they’re “social media savvy” isn’t necessarily the case. Find out whether those specific programs and skills were used at their last job(s), or whether they just think you want them to be knowledgeable in those areas.