When Candidates Have Discrepancies on Their Resumes...what to do?

Okay, so you have recruited just the right candidate.   According to his resume his credentials are impeccable.  He has all the required skill sets and vital experience in dealing with all the disciplines the job will require.   His references provide you with glowing reviews.   You have conducted background checks as part of your employment screening process, and your candidate emerges squeaky clean.  Nothing that is noteworthy.

Or maybe there is some kid stuff type offenses on there, where perhaps in an inebriated moment back in his college days he was caught urinating, or doing something else that was pretty stupid, in public.  Or there was a lawsuit found in county civil records, where your candidate was sued by a company, maybe even the employer he used to work for.  But the lawsuit was dismissed.

Not only does this candidate have great skills and a wealth of experience, but you were able to recruit this person from your client’s competitor.  You know, having done your homework, that your candidate did wonders for that competitor, raised sales or presided over a most effective and beneficial merger.  You discover, too, that while your candidate expects a higher salary than most of the other candidates with whom you have been talking, your client, the potential employer, is willing to go the extra bucks just to get him. 

But then you discover the reality of the job experience and the resume he presided is not quite what it first appeared.   The university where he claimed his degree is not finding his graduation records.   The employment verification returns, reporting that his work experience at that particular company is a little more than a year less than the time frame he listed on his resume. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and your client is eager to hire him and get him onboard.

So, if you, the recruiter, is the one who conducted the employment screening, than it now becomes your responsibility to discuss what your found with the employer.  So you run it by your client, and now your client wants to know a little more.  Why the missing year where his employment couldn’t be verified?  And why is the university having difficulty finding that college degree?

Meanwhile, your recruit is still the best candidate for the job.   His performance with your client’s competitor is an undeniable fact.  He raised revenue or presided over a project that enabled your client’s competitor to grow its traditional channels while developing new business channels where additional revenue is all but guaranteed. He is the rock star, no question there.  Yet certain aspects on his resume are revealing discrepancies. 

You question your client about his resume and discover that yes he did not work there the full term as he claimed.  He was laid off and for that mysterious year he took odd jobs, embarrassing work that he performed in order to survive.   These were tough times for him and the jobs he could find didn’t exactly earn him any bragging rights.   As for the university and his misplaced college degree, he promises that he will get into it.  He says the registrar is searching their older, non-digital records for records of his attendance and graduation.

So what do you do?  Does your candidate decide that, despite the discrepancies in his resume, he is still the best candidate?   As he has demonstrated proven skills, does everyone agree to ignore the type of claims that may cause another candidate, a lesser candidate, to be summarily dropped from consideration?

I find this interesting as this is not really theoretical.  I am aware of several such incidents where the candidate did not claim certain positions on his resume as it was the Recession, jobs were scarce, and he had to do what he didn’t really want to do, just to keep the wolves from his door. 

So what do you do? In a recent situation, both recruiter and employer decided to look past the discrepancies, as the candidate was desperately needed to fulfill a specific role.  So far, it is working out just fine.



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