Yahoo’s most recent CEO, Scott Thompson, was fired after it was discovered that he lied on his resume about his education. Thompson claimed that he had degrees in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College, but he only received a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
What’s worse is that Thompson’s educational background appears in Yahoo’s annual report, which was filed with the SEC. As CEO, he must legally confirm that everything in the document is truthful.
Thompson’s resume fraud is only the latest example in a growing trend that underlines the need for businesses of all sizes to certify that new hires are being truthful on their resumes.
Resume fraud increasing
If you do a quick search for “resume fraud,” you’ll find an endless number of examples.
In 2001 Patrick Couwenberg was removed from the bench after being appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court because nearly all of the information in his biography turned out to be false.
And these are only the ones that made the news. Many others are joining the resume-stretching bandwagon as well.
Resume fraud is on the rise, according to EctoHR’s Steve Williams. His national human resource firm has seen an increase of flagged resume and background verifications from 13.5 percent to more than 20 percent since July of 2008.
A likely reason behind the resume fraud: the employment landscape.
“As the time between jobs stretches on, a higher percentage of job seekers change their resume in an attempt to be a more attractive candidate,” Williams told two Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney attorneys.
Pay now or later
Far too often business owners rely on the word of their friends and colleagues without actually taking the time to properly assess a person’s skill. New hires cost too much – in time, energy and money – to make that mistake.
Business owners must conduct background checks or outsource the task to a firm that specializes in doing so. They can’t afford not to.
If someone is willing to lie on a resume to get a job, what else will they lie about? Would you be OK with an employee stretching the truth to a client? What if that lie destroyed a 10-year relationship with an important customer?
At the end of the day, a company only has its reputation to sustain it. All relationships, whether business or personal, are built on trust. Lying is a surefire way to demolish trust.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid missing resume fraud:
- Look over resumes carefully when you’re not distracted
- Have multiple examine resumes for the final round of candidates
- Contact previous employers and schools to verify information (this simple step can save you from hiring most folks fabricating their resumes)
- Conduct background checks
- Ask job candidates detailed questions about things on their resume
- Use Internet searches to find more information
- Allow candidates the opportunity to explain discrepancies
This issue becomes especially acute if you are in the process of selling your company. Now, more than ever before, buyers are quite often doing human audits during due diligence. This usually includes a full background check on managers and key . The last thing you need is your deal scuttled because a background check turned up something fabricated on the resume of a key manager.
Set up a procedure allowing you to complete the vetting process on any potential new hires, especially those who might be in a leadership role in your company.
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