Every recruiter knows that job candidates stretch the truth on their resume. Whether people apply for entry-level jobs or strive for head honcho positions, some believe there’s no harm in telling a small fib that gives them the edge over their competitors.

Just ask David Tovar who resigned several years ago as Wal-Mart’s top spokesman. While under consideration for a promotion, the retailer conducted a background check and discovered he had never earned a bachelor’s degree as claimed on his resume.

Unfortunately, such stories are fairly common, even at management or executive levels. Scott Thompson, former CEO at Yahoo, resigned after falsely claiming he had a computer science degree. Marilee Jones was forced to quit her decade-long position as dean of admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after falsely stating she had not one, but three college degrees. Likewise, David Edmondson resigned his position in 2006 as RadioShack’s CEO because he flat out lied about earning two college degrees when in fact, he had none.

The list of examples goes on and on.

Knowing that the temptation to lie on a resume is overwhelming for some job candidates, why don’t companies conduct background screening on every single employee?

Maybe we believe we can quickly spot candidates who are fabricating their educational or work background.


More than half – 53 percent – of people lie on their resume, according to a survey conducted by Statistic Brain Research Institute in Ladera Ranch, Calif. in October 2015. Seventy percent of college students who participated in the survey had no qualms about lying on a resume to get the job they want. Perhaps even more disturbing is that three percent of job applicants have a misdemeanor record while another seven percent are convicted felons.

Here’s more bad news about resumes, based on the survey’s results:

78 percent are misleading
21 percent state fraudulent degrees
29 percent show altered employment dates
40 percent have inflated salary claims
33 percent have inaccurate job descriptions
27 percent give falsified references

So here’s the question that recruiters, hiring managers and human resource professionals need to ask themselves: Are you willing to take this risk with your workforce?

In today’s global economy, background screening is a necessary component of any company’s recruiting strategies. No employer can afford to hire individuals who don’t stack up to the skills or competencies mentioned on their resume.

Besides risking poor job performance, consider the significant costs related to employee turnover once the individual is forced to resign. Just calculate the amount of inhouse resources spent on job ads, interviewing, hiring, training, and reduced productivity during onboarding.

According to WorldatWork, a nonprofit human resources association based in Scottsdale, Ariz., “Most industry studies show the cost of employee turnover ranges from three to six times that of an employee’s salary.”

That alone should be enough to motivate your company to add background screening to your hiring practices.

As the working population in this country declines, your company must hire talent from an increasingly shallow pool of candidates. At the very least, by partnering with PeopleFacts to design and build a background screening program, you can dive into that pool with full confidence knowing that you won’t hit bottom.