Background Checks


With unemployment approaching double digits, people have become increasingly desperate to find jobs. As a result, many job seekers will embellish their credentials in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage. Another reason people falsify or embellish their resume is the belief, which is true to a remarkable degree, that prospective employers won’t bother to do a background check. It is also true that a job seeker’s willingness to falsify information and take the chance of getting caught comes from a growing sense of frustration due to his or her lack of job-hunting success. Part of the theory, in essence, is, “What do I really have to lose if I get caught claiming I have an MBA? Even if the employer does check and discovers that I lied about the degree, I’ll be no worse off than I am now. And if the employer doesn’t check, I might get the job. So, I have everything to gain and nothing really to lose by being less than honest.”

People being dishonest about their work history and credentials doesn’t just occur during times of high unemployment – dishonesty is always there, and there will always be people willing to take the risk of lying to get a job; but, during times like these, the number of people willing to take the risk goes up. For example, we have experienced an increase of approximately 5% in the number of people who have falsified something on their resumes or job applications.

Because of this growing tendency to be less than honest, it’s more important than ever to conduct a thorough background check on candidates for employment! For higher level positions, doing a careful reference check takes on new meaning, too! It’s just not people seeking hourly positions who are in the job market. Lots of companies who have downsized their workforce have reduced it at the top as well as within the hourly ranks. It is not unheard of, in other words, for a seasoned executive to exaggerate his or her resume in hopes of finding employment.

Although carefully checking the accuracy and honesty of every applicant’s credentials is always a good business practice, during periods of high unemployment, it becomes increasingly important to make sure the people you anticipate hiring are who they claim to be and can do what they claim they can! Checking backgrounds and references is just good business!