It’s no secret that job applicants can be less than honest on their resumes. But according to a recent Human Resource Executive article, some of them are backing up their false claims with fake references.
In the article, one recruiter recounted an experience she had calling a particular reference. A few minutes into her conversation with the reference, who gave a bluntly positive review of the candidate’s previous work, she realized the voice sounded suspiciously like the candidate’s! Luckily, she realized it in time and told the client she couldn’t recommend the applicant, probably saving her reputation in the process.
For candidates who aren’t into “Do It Yourself” references, there are Web sites willing to do the lying for them. They can provide a variety of services, including providing fake letters of recommendation and toll-free numbers that connect potential employers to representatives ready to give made-up references.
Obviously, it is in your best interest to make sure candidate references are up to snuff, but that can be hard, especially when you are trying to produce candidates quickly for a contract assignment. The Human Resources Executive article does offer a few tips for verifying references that don’t take a ton of extra time. For example, the article recommends calling the main company line of a supposed former employer instead of the direct number the candidate provides for the person they list as a reference, especially if you suspect that number is a cell phone. If you doubt the company actually exists, the article suggests performing an Internet search for the company or asking the candidate for a W-2 from that employer.