EXAGGERATING EXPERIENCE ON RESUMES? MAYBE MAKING UP A FEW FACTS?
RECRUITERS CAN SPOT RED FLAGS THAT WILL ELIMINATE CANDIDATES
Do people lie on their resumes to get jobs?
Probably not too many people lie, according to Karl Hardesty, CEO of Hardesty LLC. But they do exaggerate or make their experience look far more important to try to get a job, he says.
He has looked at thousands of resumes from CFO’s during his career, and he knows what to look for to see if people are overstating their experience.
“Sometimes candidates take more credit for their experience than what is the reality. Recruiters can usually spot these exaggerations. We get a gut feeling. We are detectives. Sometimes, entries on a resumes just don’t look right. We find a hole or two,” says Hardesty.
Here are few red flags that would have Karl looking further:
- Candidate claims, “Grew revenues from 0 to $30 million.” This statement makes one want to know exactly what the candidate had to do with sales. What exactly did he or she do to contribute to revenue growth?
- Candidate states, “Responsible for finances in large multi-national 200 million company”. This sounds like the candidate worked in the corporate office, but often he or she worked in a small division. It’s worth further investigation, says Hardesty.
- The resume has gaps in dates of employment. Most likely the candidate is hiding something.
- The resume mentions a prominent CEO name without explaining the relationship. This is a red flag that maybe the candidate is name-dropping and really didn’t work closely with the CEO.
- Involvement in the community and charities seems to not match with the work experience. The recruiter can often spot that exaggeration or least look into further.
So what does a recruiter do when he or she spots one or more red flags?
“Well, in today’s digital world, it’s really easy to do instant background checks. We can check anything from credit to criminal records. If we suspect something’s left out, we go deep to find it,” he says.
“Then we ask a lot of questions. Questions that will uncover the holes we suspect, things they left out of the resume or misrepresentations.”
Here are some examples of these type questions:
- Did you work in the corporate office or a subsidiary organization?
- Who were your immediate superiors in all your jobs, and can we contact them?
- If you worked for a CPA firm, for what partner did you do the most work?
- How many employees reported to you in all your positions?
- Who was the banker you worked with in your largest transaction?
- How many M&A transactions were you involved with?
- How much were you involved in the sales process in companies that you claimed you helped grow?
- What specifically was your role in the charities your listed?
- Is there any personal information you left out in your resume?
Even with a gut feeling and asking all the tough questions, Hardesty admits that sometimes it’s just not possible to find out everything about a candidate or if they exaggerated.
“We use all our tools available, but it can be tough to find old employers or records from companies that no longer exist. We try to do the best investigation possible.”
So, when recruiters definitively find these exaggerations or discrepancies, what do they do?
“We usually just tell them we found more viable candidates. Unless it’s blatant misrepresentation,” he says. “Like the time a candidate listed a DUI on a resume, but neglected to say he was a convicted felon with prison time and drug rehab time. Then we have to confront them.”
“You really can’t hide the obvious things these days. And really you shouldn’t try to hide the subtle things you left out either – if you are facing a top-notch experienced recruiter,” he says.
Hiring a professional recruiting firm is an effective way for employers to detect those who might be embellishing or hiding something. These recruiters know what questions to ask. Buying their experience to work for you will pay off with better candidates and better performance in the long run.
Check out our website: www.hardestyllc.com.