How hard is it to lie on a resume?
How easy is it adjust job tenure on a resume?
Who lists the references we check?
How hard is it to lie in an interview?
How hard is it to prove any of these falsifications?
Yes, the truth (sometimes) comes out eventually, but that can be long after the candidate has been hired. Even recruiter due diligence will only get you so far. Not to mention the time factor. Uncovering truths and double-checking facts is time consuming. If there’s a deadline approaching to get a placement filled the back-end research can get hurried along.
I’m not saying candidates are bad people. What I am saying is that we humans have a natural tendency to make ourselves, and our lives, look a lot better than they really are. If you don’t believe me scroll through your Facebook feed. You’ll most likely find tons of baby pictures, wedding photos, celebrations, and posts about new careers. You probably won’t find much in regards to divorce, child custody, being terminated, or workplace issues in general. Even though the bad events can be all too frequent, we don’t share them. We don’t want others to judge us because of our failures.
Resumes and the lives people share with the world really aren’t that different. They’re both just a list of what we’ve done. The good list. How many terminations, write ups, disciplinary actions, or 90-day action plans have you seen on a resume? In the thousands I’ve reviewed I can only remember one. During interviews, how many times has a candidate told you they were let go due to poor performance alone? I can’t remember one.
We humans always put our best foot forward. As a hiring manager you’ve been lied to hundreds, maybe thousands, of times. It’s not like you're oblivious to the fact. If anything, you're probably used to it. Right behind police officers, who gets lied to more than recruiters? Deep down we don’t want to believe that people are that bad. Because we humans also have a natural tendency to see the good in people.
So that leaves us with a problem: how do we know what’s real and what isn’t? Who’s lying and who isn’t?
The answer is: you don’t.
The best hedge fund managers, bankers, and stock analysts in the world don’t really know what the stock market is going to do. No one does. But that doesn’t stop them from being successful at buying and selling stocks. They use the tools they have plus research, insights, experience, and instincts in an effort to be right more times than they’re wrong.
The same concepts apply to recruiting. We use what we have to make educated, insightful choices in an attempt to be right more times than we’re wrong. Experience and instinct are the two most powerful tools a recruiter has. Not a resume or an interview. Neither of these attributes can be taught. They come from putting in the time. .
And being lied to a lot.