21 Ways to Recognize Inflated or Fake Resumes to Avoid Faulty Hires

March 29, 2019

Any HR professional or hiring manager would attest that there are many fraudulent and inflated resumes out there. According to several studies, at least 1 out of 5 resumes may have been embellished or false.

In specific skill sets, the number can be as high as 70 to 80 percent of job applicants for one job vacancy. For instance, many candidates are claiming that they have Full Stack skills, but only a handful who can actually complete the coding challenge with a passing grade (70% or over).

As an employer, thus, how do you spot inflated or fake resumes to avoid faulty hires? Staying away from this type of mistake would save you thousands or, even, tens of thousands of dollars in the long run.

In the following, we’ll discuss the 12 potential red flags from general applicants to be cautious about.

1. Unclear Personal and Contact Information

A truthful individual has no problem including their complete legal name and maiden name (if any), address, phone number, e-mail, web site, social media links, particularly LinkedIn and others like Facebook and Twitter. Thus, whenever a candidate’s resume shows unclear on their personal and contact information, it’s the first red flag to notice.

2. Unclear Dates

Dates on previous employment, project completions, schools, and training or workshops should be clearly spelled out. If there are hidden, unclear, or overlapping dates, take note and ask them whenever you have a chance, such as in the first phone screening.

3. Unexplained Gaps

When the dates are clear, but there are gaps in between, ask them what their activities were. It could be that they were in school or took a parenting sabbatical. However, when the dates are overlapping, and the gaps are unexplained or aren’t satisfactorily explained, probe further to ascertain what they actually did during those periods.

4. Unusual Job Titles

Some contemporary startups do have unique job titles. However, the candidates should be able to explain them in popular terms. Thus, use your best discretion when encountering unusual job titles. It would become a red flag when the unusual job titles look like fabricated with irrational career moves.

5. Unusual Periods of Self-Employment

When candidates claim that they were self-employed within a time period, ask for the details of the business, the name of the company, and what they actually did. Whenever possible, ask for some sort of proof that the business truly existed, at least during that period of time.

6. Reluctance to Explain the Reason for Leaving a Previous Job

Candidates with excellent reputation have no problem explaining the reasons for leaving their past jobs, as it can be easily verified with their previous employers. This being said, any reluctance for explaining why they left their previous job is a valid red flag.

7. Resume Template Look and Feel

The more resumes you’ve reviewed, the better you’re at intuitively recognizing problematic resumes. Perhaps it’s the template or the look and feel of other candidates’ resumes that are similar or, even, identical.

8. Overload of Information, Such as a Very Long List of Skills

In automated screening technology, the list of skills could determine whether the resume would pass through the human-vetting round. Thus, it explains why many candidates include an overload of information on various skills, including those that they don’t even possess, simply for this purpose. Verify with the candidate in the first contact opportunity, if shortlisted.

9. Similarities in Roles and Responsibilities of Several Past Jobs

In the job descriptions, the roles and responsibilities should be clear. In the event of similarities between two or more past positions, take note and request an explanation. The answer should make sense or none at all.

10. Identical Resume Formatting with Other Candidates’

When you’re receiving hundreds of applications, most likely you’d be able to identify identical resume formatting with indistinguishable information. You’d know it when you’re looking at two or more resumes, and the only difference is the name on top. In this case, there is no way to know which is the authentic one and which ones are copies.

11. Unclear References

References should be explicit that they are past employers. However, some candidates put proxies, which can be their own friends or relatives, as references. When you ask them who those references are, they should answer unhesitantly that they’re their past employers.

12. Unclear or Inflated Salary Details

In certain jobs, such as sales-related positions, the remuneration includes salary and bonuses. Sometimes a candidate includes the total package as their annual salary. In other fraudulent job applications, the salary information provided isn’t even truthful, which clearly shows as it’s not even within the market rate range.

For H1B and OPT visa-holding fake or inflated candidates, the patterns can be quite noticeable. Among the characteristics included are the following, but not limited to these 9 issues.

1. A Resume with No Last Name

Some foreign employees on H1B and OPT visas only put their first names on their resume, which is a no-no in professional recruitment. Some candidates abbreviate their first or last name, which is also a red flag.

2. The Contact Information is an Employer’s Phone Number

The candidate should put his or her own phone number, instead of the current employer’s. When they’re contacted and the call’s directed to their employer, there is a question mark on the purpose of the job application.

3. The School Name is Unclear or Provides No School Name

A truthful candidate would have no problem stating the school name and its location. When the school name is abbreviated, and the location isn’t provided, it’s an attempt to hide something, which is a red flag. In extreme cases, candidates state diploma mills as their school names.

4. Include 5 to 8 Years of Experiences and the First Few Initial Years were Obtained Overseas and the Rest in the US

When an H1B or OPT candidate claims to have past experiences from overseas, sometimes they inflate them and create a false story. Be cautious and verify on the length of their overseas and US-based experiences, as well as the names of the organizations they worked for.

5. The Names of the Prior Foreign Employers are Fictitious

In many cases, prior overseas experiences are fictitious. While verification might be difficult, it’s possible by checking online whenever some information is available.

6. They Wouldn’t be Available by Phone on Short Notice

Some questionable candidates might ask for pre-scheduled phone calls and wouldn’t accept calls on short notice. When you do call, they might not be available, or the call is sent over to a voice message or a proxy.

7. The References aren’t the Past Employers, but Fellow Consultants or Those Related to the Candidates.

When a candidate gives out proxies as their references, it can be discerned when you contact them. As you’ve spoken to many past employers for references previously, proxies have limitations and might have sounded uncertain when answering questions.

8. Their LinkedIn Profiles have Only a Few Connections

Fake LinkedIn profiles have minimal connections or none at all and with no recommendations. The profiles might look polished and professional with a long list of skills and explanations of past experiences, including in high-caliber organizations and big-name companies, such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. Most likely, genuine candidates who have successfully worked in large corporations would have many connections and strong recommendations from past colleagues and employers.

9. When They’re Called for a Phone Screening, the Answers are Short or Unresponsive

When the recruiter reaches out to candidates, they should be responsive and sound attentive. However, in the cases of questionable candidates, they might not be responsive at all and answer questions with short sentences or yes-and-no only.

In conclusion, when vetting for job applicants, you’ll always encounter fraudulent and inflated resumes. Some candidates are even 100% fake with completely fabricated credentials, degrees, and experiences. It’s definitely a huge challenge for recruiters and hiring managers.

However, there are ways to recognize them early on. And the more often you vet candidates, the better your “vetting radar.”

Why not utilize our Flashii recruitment solution to solve this recruiting pain point. Our candidates have been pre-screened and pre-vetted to ensure only highly credible, and experienced talents are deployed to our clients’ companies.

Contact us at patrick@flashiiapp.com 

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