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Dilanka Dilanka is a Business Development Manager at IceHrm. You can contact her at dil[at]

Employee CVs: How Can You Really Trust Them?

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There is a certain art to recognizing outstanding CVs. On the one hand, potential employees want to catch the attention of hiring managers by highlighting their professional brilliance. But on the other hand, how can you be sure that the standout statements on a resume are really what they seem?
Recent research shows that lavish embellishments are widespread among job seekers in the UK. Research conducted by CV-Library found that a staggering 92.5% of people got away with lying on their resume. Worse, almost three-quarters of those who lied (71.6%) said they got the job as a result!

But even more worryingly, anti-fraud service Cifas has found that 1 in 12 people in the UK have lied about formal qualifications on their CV. Shockingly, 1 in 6 people aged 16 to 24 admitted to this fraudulent behavior, with 1 in 5 people in this age group also seeing it as "reasonable".

This begs the question: Can hiring managers really trust the resumes that land on their hiring portals?

Distinguish the fabulous from the false

It is essential for human resources to identify fake information on employee resumes. Hiring the wrong person based on an inaccurate or fake CV can be incredibly costly for companies - especially when you consider that our research found the average cost of hiring a candidate is almost £1,800.

In addition to the cost of replacing an employee, estimated at about a fifth of their salary, the consequences of making the wrong hire can also include disrupted company culture, lower work productivity, and potential loss of customers and revenue.

So how can you ensure you know the difference between a good and a bad resume and hire the right people for your roles? Here's what you can do as a hiring manager...

Review resumes carefully

Some HR software solutions include Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to help you automate your hiring process and simplify applicant screening. But even though the software makes it easier to manage large volumes of resumes, you still need to select the ones that stand out and go through them with a fine toothbrush.

Look for gaps in the resume or job titles that don't seem to match the applicant's experience. Of course, these can be completely genuine and easy to explain, but they could also be a sign that the applicant is either hiding something or isn't being entirely honest. Verify all information provided and be prepared to ask applicants to clarify anything that is incorrect on their resume.

Don't ignore your instincts

Sometimes your instincts tell you that something is just not right. A candidate's story doesn't quite add up, their past performance sounds too good to be true, or they get a little embarrassed when asked why they left a previous job.

Don't ignore your gut feeling - but make sure it doesn't reflect your own unconscious biases. Candidates may stumble over their answers or seem nervous during an interview because they are simply nervous or not used to interacting with people the way you expect. If you have any doubts about a potential employee's sincerity or truthfulness, you should find a way to verify this.

Give the applicant the chance to prove themselves

The interview is your opportunity to find out whether the applicant's CV is accurate and whether they can actually do the things they claim. If a particular practical skill is essential for a job, consider conducting some sort of test or assessment as part of the interview.

Ask applicants to describe situations from previous jobs in which they successfully used a particular skill or knowledge. Make sure you are profound and don't let yourself be impressed by an engaging personality and a winning smile. There are people who do very well in interviews but are not so good when it comes to completing the task in practice.

Obtain references

References can be a tricky subject. In our litigious times, employers have become nervous about giving unfavorable references because they might harm themselves. Some companies have even resorted to not issuing employment references at all: instead, they may only confirm the dates of employment and the job title, but nothing else. However, it is worth asking for references and following up with them. This way you can at least check whether the applicant's professional history matches his or her CV.

It is also useful to check your qualifications. The Higher Education Degree Datacheck (Hedd) surveys students and graduates every year about degree fraud and the results are fairly consistent. They report that around a third of people embellish or exaggerate their academic qualifications when applying for a job - so it's worth asking if you suspect something.

Cope with the probationary period

Most companies hire employees for a probationary period of three to six months - but many don't stick to the probationary period and only pay lip service to it. The first few months will allow you to make sure that the skills you have been "sold" actually exist in sufficient quantities and to identify any experience gaps that need to be filled. It's not just about being fair to the applicant, but also to the company.

New hires need time to settle in and learn how things work, and the company needs to be sure it made the right decision. Make sure managers use the probation period proactively to find out what's going well and what areas need improvement so that candidates prove themselves as quickly as possible and the company has a chance to close the hire when it does was mistaken about an employee's abilities.

One action to take this week: review your hiring process. Assess how thoroughly you review resumes and perform background checks and references, and identify areas for improvement with IceHrm.

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