In 2012, Scott Thompson stated on his resume that he had earned a computer science degree from Stonehill College. He used these credentials to land the job of CEO at Yahoo. In 1997, Marilee Jones stated on her resume that she had earned three degrees. These degrees helped give her the job of dean of admissions at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. What do these individuals have in common? They did not actually earn these degrees. Scott and Marilee were both discovered to have lied about their education and were publicly forced to resign their high profile positions due to false credentials (Efrati and Golden).  If leaders cannot be trusted to provide accurate qualifications on their resumes, can anyone? Nearly half of applicants are known to pad their resumes (Lying Resumes). An increasingly competitive job market can push applicants to falsify their resumes in order to gain a competitive advantage, an epidemic that can be alleviated through employment verifications, education verifications and professional references checks.

Employment Verification and its Importance

Employment verification can confirm dates of employment, position(s) held, salary, job duties, and eligibility for rehire. It is important to verify these pieces of information for several reasons. An applicant may try to hide gaps in employment history due to significant periods of unemployment, incarceration, or maternity leave. They may extend their dates of employment in order to cover up these discrepancies and give the illusion of more consistency. Additionally, an applicant might lie about their salary and job duties in order to leverage a better offer with a potential employer. Contacting an applicant’s previous employer also presents the opportunity for the previous employer to convey potential threats or questionable behavior shown by that previous employee. However, previous employers may not be aware of the full scope of an employee’s history. Therefore, it is important to not solely rely on their experience and conduct verification services for additional employment history but also for education qualifications.

Education Verification and its Importance

When looking at an applicant’s resume, the educational claims of that person can be instrumental in their hiring eligibility. However, education is one of the most lied about pieces of information on resumes (Tomassi). Often times, an applicant has never received a degree, will increase the honorary nature of the degree, or will pad their grade point averages. An education verification can confirm the School Name, City and State of the school, Degree Earned, Major and Minors, Graduation Date, Attendance Dates, applicable Honors Programs, and overall Grade Point Average. Verifying this information will protect against falsely credentialed applicants, who may try to maintain a job position based on false pretense.

References and their Importance

While employment and education verifications can validate previous responsibilities and accomplishments, references can be the deciding factor when determining how an applicant will fit into a company’s culture. In fact, 21 percent of applicants are removed from the hiring process after speaking with professional references (Thork). An applicant’s reference could be a previous employer, coworker, mentor, or teacher. Regardless of the nature of the reference, checking in with these individuals will provide additional insight into an applicant’s strengths, weaknesses, work ethic, professionalism, time management, reliability, and other applicable character traits. It is important to not only corroborate work and education history but to take into consideration other’s personal experiences with a potential applicant.


The threat of misrepresentation due to falsely credentialed employees is not to be ignored. Unfortunately, some applicant’s will do what it takes to get the job and it is the responsibility of the employer to protect their organization and verify the applicant’s resume. Not doing so could result in higher employer turnover, increased replacement costs, damaged relationships with internal and external partners, legal ramifications, and a damaged company image. If Yahoo and MIT had verified the credentials of their leaders, they would have been saved from these potential threats and maintained the integrity of their organizations. Do not leave it up to an applicant to tell you about themselves, but corroborate the facts through verification services. This practice will maintain an organizations consistency, security, and positive image; creating an environment that could deter false resumes and encourage a more honest and desired applicant pool.

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