Managers should review résumés with a skeptical eye, verify credentials, and ask the candidate specific, detailed questions about claims.
Inflated Credentials Surface in Executive Suite
Some fudges: A candidate may list a university he/she attended, but from which he/she never earned a degree. Or, a job-seeker may say he/she served as CEO of a company and worked there four years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he/she was CEO for all four years.
When managers ask candidates about claims on their résumés, they should look for suspicious behavior. Red flags include: Broad, vague answers to specific questions. Other times, job-seekers refuse to say to whom they reported, or who reported to them, citing “confidentiality.”
Other ways to avoid being duped:
• Confirm the circumstances of every change in employment – whether voluntary or involuntary – with a candidate’s previous employers. And when considering managers and executives who are exiting a battered or liquidated firm, especially in the financial services industry, employers should try to understand the role the candidate played in the firm’s fate.
• Ask the candidate for exact dates – to the day or month – of prior employment, and ask him to explain any gaps. There can be that embarrassing two-month job in between, or those 90 days in jail.
• Don’t call only the references provided by a candidate. Seek additional references, such as former colleagues, supervisors or direct reports.
• Run a Web search. Anybody who doesn’t Google that employee creatively is making a mistake. If anything turned up by a search – a title or date of employment, for example – doesn’t match a candidate’s résumé, “keep digging.”