Friday, February 27, 2009

How to spot a fake resume

Here are somethings you need to look for to ensure that you are not being hoodwinked into recruiting someone with fake credentials.

The information that is most often faked are the following:
1. Skills
2. Projects
3. Salary details
4. Employment records
5. Educaton records

There are reasonably easy ways to get to the truth, though they are not completely foolproof.

The fake resume exponent knows that companies search for candidates on job sites using keywords. They also know that to end up in the top 2 - 3 pages, they need to match as many keywords as possible. So in their resume, they add all skills that are commonly searched for by companies, whether they possess the skill or not.

The way to defeat this is to ask all candidates to send in their updated profiles with the following details for each of their skills
Have you just heard about it, or have you undergone training, or do you have hands-on experience?
If you have undergone training, state when and for how long?
If you have hands-on experience, what is the length of the experience and when was the last time you used it?

This forces them to cull down their list to those that they are comfortable with because they know that now they cannot just say "Oh! I have heard about it and hence I added it to my skill set" and get away with it.

Clipboard, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V or to the tech-uninitiated, Copy & Paste. That is what has led to a lot of the same projects floating around in different resumes. This is not very easy to identify during the resume scanning stage itself. However, you can do somethings to prepare yourself.

Search the job site database as well as your own database of resumes to see if anybody else has done similar work from the same company. If you find that similar projects have been done by people in some other larger company, then there are two possibilities - either it is faked or this candidate was on a sub-contract to the larger company.
At the time of the interview, remember to grill the candidate on projects where nobody else around this person has done similar work. Ask specifically for details such as the team size, her exact role, platform was it developed on, when was the first version released, who is using it, and similar details that only someone who has actually worked on the project will know.

Salary details
Outright faking and embellishment are both quite common. Especially sales people, they tend to add their fixed salary, their sales based incentives, including potential incentives that would have been theoritically due to them if they had met some highly improbable sales goals(which they never did) into their "Current salary".

Ask specifically for fixed salary, take home, incentives and other variable components. Don't ask for the CTC (Cost to company). In many cases a CTC, even when genuinely reproduced by the candidate, can be misleading. This is because many companies add a lot of variables, sometimes even those the candidate may not always be eligible for, into the CTC in order to make the salary package appear more appealing to the candidate.

Employment records
Did you know that there are many companies in India whose sole revenue model is to provide people with a ficticious employment record. Hyderabad and more recently Bangalore are notorious for this. Ameerpet in Hyderabad is a well known locality where new companies constantly crop up. Keep an eye out for companies with buzz words like tech, info, infocom, etc. from these areas. If you have not heard about the company before, check the ROC (Registrar of Companies) records - they are online - and see if these companies are actually registered at all.

At the time of interview, ask about which office they worked in, the address, the way to get there, how many people work in that company, the name and phone number of the immediate project manager (If it is a 100+ people company and he gives the name of the CEO for everything, watch out).

Just checking to see if he has a complete set of documents including offer letter, service letter, relieveing letter and last payslip is not enough because these are part of the package that the fake company provides. Checking if an official website exists is also not enough because most fake companies cover that angle also. And calling them to check if the guy actually worked there is no good either. You can ask if Mother Theresa worked there and they will say yes, because that is part of the package too!

Education record
Not as common as the others, this is still prevalent enough to get a mention. At one time, maybe even now, degrees from Osmania University were notorious for being fudged. In fact, the US Embassy had a blanket ban on seeing anyone with an Osmania University degree!
Ask for contact details of classmates at the time of interview if you have doubts and call them immediately and ask them where they studied, what degree they pursued and when and cross check with the information that the candidate has given.

Alternately, you can ask these candidates to register on and build their credibility before applying. That should take care of most of your problems. You can read more about the credibility score here.


fake degree said...

I am not against the fake diplomas; actually some people take advantage of this thing. The fake diploma is to help the people who have professional knowledge but due to some reasons they lost their diploma.

Anonymous said...

you've actually helped me hone in on faking my resume and what i need to do to back up my "credentials"

Anonymous said...

Then please tell me how to do reference checks.

vlad said...