Every HR professional can tell you how heavily they rely on background checks before they hire someone. Background checks help companies mitigate important risks such as litigation and fraud, and they are also helpful in determining a candidate’s work ethic and attitude. Statistics show that almost 85% of hiring managers find lies in a candidate’s resume.

While some embellishment can be harmless and innocent, some candidates have fake certificates or make-up positions in companies where they have never worked. Another preoccupation shared by hiring managers is the rise of “diploma mills” in which people can purchase a certificate without ever taking a class. Seasoned hiring managers use behavioral interviewing techniques to spot liars, but then they need to verify the information. This is where background checks come in handy.

Online background checks

Several services offer to check people by using technology to search thousands of public records. They also check the “digital footprint” left through social media platforms and even dating sites. These sites can save valuable time and they are cheaper than a thorough credential verification. While most of them use similar technology, some are better than others. A good way to choose an online background search service is to use a review site. For example, https://unmask.com offers thorough reviews of the most popular sites, and they can help in choosing the best suited for your particular needs.

In-depth verifications

Depending on the position, some hiring managers can choose to purchase a detailed background check that includes verifying certifications and previous positions. While they are extremely useful, they are more costly and take more time. Some of them may even require written consent from the candidate. An in-depth verification may also include salary history, direct supervisor’s names, and even their job functions. A very important factor to check is the reason why a candidate left their position.

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For positions that require dealing with money, checking a candidate’s credit history is important. A credit background check has special restrictions in order to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and not all information can be used to disregard a candidate. If the results of a credit background check play an important role in not extending an offer, the law requires hiring managers to disclose this information with the candidate, along with a list of their rights. Before running a credit background check, candidates have to sign a consent form.

Some companies perform backdoor reference checks. While for most jobs, candidates propose a list of references, a backdoor reference check means looking for references not disclosed by a candidate. Sites like LinkedIn provide the necessary information to find colleagues and previous supervisors who may be willing to share information about the candidate.

The candidate selection process is constantly changing. Some companies prefer to hire people considering their skills and experience, and do not care about certifications or diplomas. For some other positions, a certification may be legally required. Regardless of the situation, background checks are now industry-standard practices that help companies choose candidates that are more likely to be a cultural fit, stay for a long time, and not cause problems.

Final thoughts

If you are on the look for a new job, don’t lie. Hiring managers prefer to know that you are willing to learn the skills that you lack. Sometimes, aptitudes and personality are enough to make up for lack of experience. When a hiring manager catches a lie, they will mark you as “do not hire,” and it will close your possibilities to work for a company for good. Depending on the lie, some can even alert their colleagues in other companies, and your chances of getting a job will be very slim.

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Instead of lying or embellishing your resume, build your skills, keep learning, and network. Take good care of professional relationships and never “burn your bridges.” Remember that we live in a society in which data and information are available for everyone, so take really good care of your online presence, be mindful of what you share and how you interact. A good idea is to perform periodic background checks on yourself in order to understand what a hiring manager can find and start damage control if necessary.



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