Can You Spot A Fake Resume?

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You scour through resume after resume when you finally land a gem within the pile of candidates. It hits every point of your job description even the 10 skills you listed. It almost sounds too good to be true...is it? Last week ABC News' 20/20 set up a segment to expose just that. The business behind fake resumes.

ABC interviewed the founder of fake resume resource site CareerExcuse.com, William Schmidt. He'll create fake positions but also take it a step further by create fake degrees, companies (including phone numbers, addresses even websites). Schmidt says he has rarely been caught because few companies thoroughly check resumes and job references.

Schmidt thinks he is doing a public service by helping those job seekers who lost their jobs during the recession. He doesn't think he's selling a lie. He compares his business to that of a poker player's bluff...all about the illusion. He claims that half of the people who use his service are employed within 30 days.

But what's an employer to do if they think they found a great applicant but something isn't adding up? Marissa Klein, SVP of Choice Fashion & Media, weighs in with her expert advice.

Eyeing a Phony Applicant: How hard is it to find false information buried within a document that might have legitimate experience as well. Klein, says, "We specialize in an area that is very close knit. It is quite easy to catch a discrepancy due to our relationships and our own experience within the niche world of fashion and media. However, I have certainly discovered incorrect dates and falsified job description bullet points. Especially since the economic downturn in 2008 and 2009."

Catch a Fake: You've spotted a potential fake. What's the next step? Do you speak with the client, try and take another route or toss their resume in the trash? Klein, "We normally will outright challenge the candidate. Our "fakes" tend to be in the details – such as resumes not matching LinkedIn profiles. I tend to try to give people the benefit of the doubt. After the economy took a turn, many were forced to enhance or exaggerate their skill set in order to remain competitive, or valuable."

Go With Your Gut: What are a firm's options if think they found the perfect applicant but something within their work history isn't adding up. Klein says, "Certain things will always slip through the cracks. My advice to my clients is always the same. We can do all of the leg work to check, and double and triple check... but gut instinct, whether professional or personal, is usually infallible. If something doesn't feel right, it likely is not."

The Safety Net: How important is a background check? Klein says, "We do qualify candidates and I would say that most employers do too. However, specific background checks are costly (criminal, credit, etc) and we can provide these to our clients at a pass through cost. Most of our clients run these types of checks after an offer has been extended and accepted. Background checks in general fall into a truly gray area... traditionally, companies are not really supposed to disclose true editorial on a candidate, merely confirm a date started and a date ended. Ironically, as the liaison we are sometimes caught in the middle and must find a balance between what the client would like for us to "check" and what is legally permitted. Perhaps that is a whole other conversation!"

Have you ever received a fake resume? What did you do?

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