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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

A benchmark study on employment background screening revealed more than eight out of ten employers – a whopping 85 percent – found resume fraud that includes “embellishments or outright lies on job applicant resumes in the last year,” according to a bulletin from SharedHR.

The bulletin – written by Malcolm Whyte, SPHR, Vice President HR Services at SharedHR – explained how the number of employers now uncovering resume fraud was a steep rise from only five years ago when two out of three employers – 66 percent – found lies on resumes.

The study found that the top three areas of resume fraud – which is defined as “any act that involves intentionally providing fictitious, exaggerated, or otherwise misleading information on a resume in hopes of persuading a potential employer to hire an applicant” – were:

  • Employment Gaps: This form of resume fraud is caused “many candidates are concerned about explaining periods when they were out of work.”
  • Fake References: Since this type resume fraud can be uncovered by reference checking, “candidates who are serious about their dishonesty will provide references that are fake or impossible to check.”
  • Embellished Responsibilities: Most of this kind of resume fraud does not contain “outright lies” but is more often the case of candidates stretching the truth and “beefing up previous titles and exaggerating the responsibilities they had in previous positions.”

The benchmark study “provides insight from nearly 4,000 human resource professionals about employment screening best practices” and “explores key issues, trends, and underlying business drivers affecting background check programs of U.S. organizations,” explained Whyte.

In August of 2017, ESR News reported that nearly half – 46 percent – of more than 1,000 workers and 300 senior managers reported they knew job applicants who committed resume fraud, a 25 point rise up from only 21 percent in 2011, according to a survey from OfficeTeam.

In a news release about the survey, OfficeTeam identified five signs of resume fraud: (1) skills have vague descriptions; (2) questionable or missing dates; (3) negative cues during the interview; (4) references offer conflicting details; and (5) online information does not match.

Employers wary of resume fraud need to be aware of so-called “reference answering services” that help applicants fill gaps in employment history and avoid bad references. These services act as current and past employers who give “great” job references.

As reported earlier by ESR News, Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), spoke about resume fraud at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2017 Talent Management Conference & Exposition in Chicago.

Rosen, author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual,’ said “not checking the past employment of potential new hires is one of the biggest mistakes employers can make,” according to a SHRM article. He said employers have a vested interest in finding out how successful the applicant was in previous jobs.

Rosen told SHRM members that “many human resources professionals believe that how a person has performed in the past is the single best indicator of how they will perform for you at your business” and that employers need “to try to obtain as much information as possible about past performance.”

Rosen described resumes as “essentially a marketing tool for an applicant” and said employers need to be concerned when “chest-puffing crosses the line into fabrication” since applicants who use lies and fabrications to get hired may continue with the same type of dishonesty once they have the job.

ESR Background Checks Help Uncover Resume Fraud

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider – helps employers uncover resume fraud with verifications of education and employment as well as both personal and professional reference checks. To learn more, visit

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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