Hiring and COVID-19: Check References, Resumés Carefully

Hiring and COVID-19: Check References, Resumés Carefully

  • Find out how to go beyond an applicant’s stated references when hiring.
  • Learn more about investigating applicant resumés.
  • Discover ways to find fraudulent or suspicious claims on resumés.

Although many employers have had to let go or furlough employees during the COVID-19 crisis, others are still hiring or soon will be. If your company needs to fill positions, or may start filling them in the months ahead, you still need to hire carefully.

Given the changes in the U.S. economy this year, you may receive a great many resumés and grow weary of interviewing candidates. Yet patience is critical. Many employers rush to hire those who talk a good game, only to later discover that the employees aren’t all they claimed to be. Read on for Fiducial’s guide to hiring wisely.

Go beyond references when hiring

Among the primary ways to avoid making this mistake is to check candidates’ references carefully before hiring. This means doing more than only contacting the individuals a candidate provides. You may get more information from supervisors, peers, or subordinates who aren’t on the list.

Before you talk with anyone who isn’t on a candidate’s list, however, make sure the person knows that you’ll be looking beyond those names. Ask whether there’s anyone you can’t consult and, if he or she answers in yes, ask why.

Bear in mind, some employers have stated policies that limit how much information a current employee can divulge about a former employee. This is done, at least in part, to limit exposure to lawsuits. So, you may not receive much more information than confirmation and dates of employment.

Beware of résumé fraud when hiring.

Beware of resumé fraud when hiring

Be sure to confirm all the other things claimed on an applicant’s resumé as well before hiring. Verify college degrees or other pertinent training or schooling — including dates, majors, or areas of focus. Also, check into the accuracy of a candidate’s employment history, including:

  • Exact dates of employment,
  • Direct supervisors’ names,
  • Job titles held,
  • Details about each position’s responsibilities, and
  • Why the candidate left each job.

This may seem like so much exhaustive investigation, but resumé fraud (ranging from minor inaccuracies to outright lies) is common. Estimates on precisely how common vary; Steven D. Levitt, an economics professor and co-author of the bestselling book Freakonomics, has unearthed research indicating that more than 50% of job applicants lie in some way on their resumés.

Another good way to catch fraudulent or suspicious claims is to set up a review process under which at least two people critically look at a resumé. Each reviewer should flag any items that seem questionable and discuss them with someone with hiring authority. This practice generally isn’t too difficult for midsize and larger employers. Smaller organizations could engage an HR consultant to review resumés when hiring for a particularly important position.

Find a solution

These are just a few of the many ways that employers can find a solution through the hiring process. Consult an attorney to ensure you’re complying with all applicable laws. Need help assessing the costs and efficacy of your organization’s approach to adding employees? Call Fiducial at 1-866-FIDUCIAL or make an appointment at one of our office locations. Ready to book an appointment now? Click here. Know someone who might need our services? We love referrals!

For more small business COVID-19 resources, visit Fiducial’s Coronavirus Update Center to find information on SBA loans, tax updates, the Paycheck Protection Program, paid sick and family leave, and more.