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How Academic Fraud Can Cost Your Business Money

Even though recruiting the best employee can seem like a long, drawn-out process, don’t let the heat of the hunt cause your HR department to cut corners when reviewing experience claims on applicants’ résumés. There is an array of legal issues that HR departments can encounter after overlooking fraudulent résumés. Somewhere between a quarter and half of all potential employees lie on their résumés. Though there is efficient new software that filters through resumés for us, it is important for HR departments to take the time to personally investigate all claims on applicants’ resumés.

A recent study found 85 percent of survey respondents discovered lies and exaggerations on candidate résumés and job applications during the interview process. An ADP report found that 49 percent of references revealed a difference in experience the applicant provided versus what their professional references affirmed. A Korn Ferry study found that about 68 percent of applicants lied about their accomplishments and the reasons why they left their prior positions.

Some common resume lies consist of exaggerated GPA scores, degrees, certifications, awards, contributions to company revenue increases, timelines, and job titles. Employee screening should be an extensive process before and during the interview process. It should be noted that lying on a résumé is not initially illegal unless the résumé requires employees to make a sworn statement. Lying about experience to get company records and exploit company information is, indeed, illegal as well. False claims can cause major problems for businesses and the employee in the future, such as professional licensing, liability, and termination issues.


In technical fields that require specific degrees and certifications, companies can encounter professional licensing issues. These occupations consist of doctors, nurses, lawyers, therapists, and others. Each state has a licensing board that will audit professionals and companies within these industries to ensure compliance. HR departments should regularly review the status of every license within their workforce. 


If a company or organization hires someone that lied about their prerequisites for these positions, such as practicing medicine or law without a license, companies could encounter many issues if an unlicensed employee harms or misleads a customer. A business could be sued for having an ill-equipped employee practice, and one of the only ways to overcome this type of legal battle is for the company to demonstrate how the applicant’s lies about their qualifications negatively affected your business and that there was no way for the HR department to know that the employee was lying.  


If your HR department discovers that an employee isn’t qualified for their current role, you may not be able to terminate them immediately unless your business is in an at-will employment state or there isn’t a contract. You may have to document a report with substantial proof showing that the employee lied to get the job. If a company accuses an employee of lying and terminates them without proper proof, the company can be sued for wrongful termination of the employee’s contract. 

Call us at 888.636.3693 to learn more about our candidate verification services. We verify education, work history, references, licensing, and many other industry-specific services.

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