Companies today are in the information assessment business.  Whether you are assessing a candidate for employment, an applicant for housing, a vendor application, a volunteer application, a contingent worker application, a consultant’s resume, or an application to be granted privileges of some sort (license to do something, credit with your organization, access to your facility, etc.), you are in the business of determining whether to risk saying yes or no.

Your application process is built on this principle:  “Get the facts and make an informed decision.”  However, do you realize the number of people who lie during the application process?  While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact percentage at any given moment, experts have conducted studies over the past decade that indicate anywhere from 25% to over 65% of resumes omit information or provide misinformation.

  • A 2004 study conducted by Korn / Ferry International found that the most frequently fabricated information included the reason for leaving prior positions (67.8%), and the applicant’s accomplishments (68.2%).
  • A 2003 study conducted by the Society of Human Resources found that 53% of all job applications contained inaccurate information.
  • A 2003 study cited by the The CPA Journal included a survey of 2.6 million job applicants showed that 44% lied about prior work experience, 41% lied about their education, and 23% of applicants falsified their credentials or made false claims concerning professional licenses held.
  • A 2001 study of 7,000 resumes assembled by Christian & Timbers found that nearly 25% contained at least one instance of the job applicant’s credentials being misrepresented.
  • A congressional study conducted in 1992 found that one third of all job applicants fake their resumes or contained at least one inaccurate statement.  The FBI went on to claim that nearly 500,000 individuals in the United States falsely claim to hold college degrees.

How does background screening build truth into a process fraught with the opportunity and reality of applicant misrepresentations, resume fraud and abuse?  Background screening is one simple step for your risk management program.   Once you have the information from your applicant (including their proper consent and authorization for you to conduct a background check on them) you should verify the accuracy of what they have told you as well as work to identify what they have not told you.

Background screening is the first (but not the last) step in your decision making process.   If you want to build truth into your decision-making process, implement a background screening program today.  Check out our other blog posts to find out what you need for a quality background screening program today.