Spot Lies and Bluff on a Resume: Hiring Tips for Start-ups

About 75% of hiring managers have found inaccuracies/lies in candidates’ resumes.

So, it is not breaking news that people lie on resumes, especially when applying for a job with startups. It is a known fact that people exaggerate their job responsibilities and achievements to receive a most coveted interview call from recruiters. But, these are white lies and are not really harmful. 

However, there are candidates who make up their responsibilities, forge dates, add unsubstantiated job profiles. Even though these lies cannot be swept under the carpet, they will come out eventually. But, it can cost startups time and resources that they can’t afford. 

Hence, it is important for hiring managers to identify such lies while screening the resume to weed out questionable applications. 

Without further ado let’s learn how to measure small business success and acquire stellar talent for your organization.

Inaccurate dates

In a resume, the correct format for writing dates is “month, the year”. Candidates who have something to hide will modify the date by omitting the details about the month. 

For example, if a job post requires candidates to have 3+ years of work experience and they have worked from December 2017 to January 2020. To showcase that they fit the criteria, they will forge the dates by omitting the months and just write “2017-2020”. 

There may be instances of candidates trying to hide career gaps. It is ideal that you clear the air during a telephonic interview and ask them about the inconsistencies in the dates. 

Inconsistent resume format

There are two variants of a resume format – reverse chronological and functional format. But among a majority of candidates, the reverse chronological format is the most popular. 

This format leaves out little to no scope for lying in a resume as it showcases work profiles in chronological order with corresponding job responsibilities. If there are any inconsistencies with this format, recruiters can easily identify them.

But, a functional format is a little tricky. Using this format, candidates can modify the resume template to include a separate “summary of skills section”. Here is what this section looks like: 

They compose this section to include points related to the target profile and there is no way to substantiate the skills they have mentioned. 

It is ideal to check with the candidate in what part of the job they applied the skills and under which work profile.

Contradictory education details

Candidates having a degree from a well-reputed university are sought by many organizations. So, some people try to bolster their chances of landing the job by falsifying the education details

Though you can confirm the details about the candidate’s details with the college registrar’s office, it requires effort and time.

For a recruiter, finding contradictory education details on a resume can be a little tricky. 

For example: 

Here that candidate has just mentioned “Master’s” without adding the major. In such cases, you can make an educated guess about the education details by referring to the quality of the resume. For instance, a candidate from Princeton University will have a better understanding of writing a resume than someone who lies about it.

Work experience with big companies

Some candidates try to leverage their associations with big companies. For instance, there can be a case where the candidate claims to have worked with Amazon, but in reality, these gigs were just short stints like an internship or a part-time job.

But, they can be a little tricky to identify in a resume. Try to make an educated guess as per the work experience the professional has had. For instance, if the candidate has only worked for tier-3 three companies, this sudden change can be easily recognized. 

The ideal way to tackle such cases is by asking for references. But, as we have seen references can be faked as well. It is better if you ask for the LinkedIn profile of the person who is providing the reference. If there are any inconsistencies with the profile, they can be easily identified. 

Also, you can consider looking into background check services as an addition to the online tool to spur your startup success.

Doubtful skills

The practice of composing a resume specific to the job post is ideal in getting shortlisted. But, it becomes a problem when a candidate who does not possess the expertise listed in the job description, adds it to their resume. 

Candidates add these proficiencies to the skills section where recruiters check to see if the applicants fit the job criteria. You can substantiate the expertise listed here in the work experience section by looking for pointers where the candidate will have applied them for a task. 

It is important to note that a good number of candidates add buzzwords such as communication, analytical skills, and interpersonal skills. Such pointers are considered white lies and you can let these slide considering the applicant’s profile. But, it is important to cross-check the core skills of a candidate.

Key takeaways

Here are a few key takeaways: 

  • Identify inconsistencies with the dates where the month details have been modified.
  • Ask for validation of added skills when you come across a functional resume format. 
  • Recognize falsified education details where candidates have lied about the degrees & university. 
  • Examining details around big companies in the work experience section by seeking references. 
  • Scrutinizing doubtful core competencies by checking the work experience section.