Don’t be Fooled by These Job Applicant Scams

Don’t be Fooled by These Job Applicant Scams

By Tricia O'Connor

This is not an April Fool’s joke:  A pre-pandemic survey found 100% of us are willing to lie in job interviews.

Some candidates are lying even before getting their first call back. An HR Dive survey showed 36% of Americans bend the truth on their resumes.

Another U.K.-based survey reported 88% of people with intimate knowledge of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) lie on their resumes to avoid being screened out.

Fudging facts in the job application process is nothing new. But you can outsmart these foolish pranks. Here’s how to do it.  

The April Fool’s Hiring Landscape

As April Fool’s Day approaches, America is experiencing its worst job market in decades. The latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the national unemployment rate at 6.2%. And entry-level jobs, the ones most often filled by recent college graduates, have plummeted 45%.

Now there is a swell of qualified workers to choose from and fewer jobs to go around.

“There is a recruiting advantage happening here. There is a broader availability of skilled labor so you can be a little more choosy from a talent perspective,” says Curt Schwall, Vice President of Compliance and Regulatory Affairs at EBI.

Faced with a supply-and-demand disequilibrium and the desperate need for a paycheck, applicants are getting increasingly competitive and cheeky to land a job.

Bad Liar

Even before the pandemic, Millennials were the worst liars. A GoBankingRates survey found folks aged 25 to 34 were five times more likely to lie on their resumes than Baby Boomers. Gen Z were most likely to consider lying. And Gen Z does have it tough – find out more from reading our post “Will Gen Z Have Jobs After Graduating College During a Pandemic?”

Fool For Your Lies

The most common resume lies are about education, previous dates of employment, concealing a criminal record, and previous salary.

Other common lies according to Indeed.com include:

  • Exaggerating employee impact numbers
  • Inflating titles
  • Lying about technical abilities
  • Claiming language fluency
  • Using a fake address

Indeed also provides a great explanation of the types of lies candidates most likely tell.

  • Lies of commission are false statements such as lying about where you attended college. 
  • Lies of omission are classified as not telling the full truth, such as stating you completed a college degree but only attended classes there.

Don’t Be a Fool

Let’s examine a few common job application scams and how you can spot them. 

“I earned a degree at April Fool’s Day University.” – Some candidates suffer from imposter syndrome and beef up their education history or credentials. An education verification can confirm not only what higher education institution a candidate attended, but if they graduated. At EBI, we examine things like:

  • Dates of attendance
  • Major
  • Degrees received
  • School GPA
  • Accumulated credits
  • Accomplishments
  • Institution comments
  • Researcher comments

“I worked at Dunder Mifflin for nine years.” – Oh, were you friends with Jim, too? Lying about where you worked and how for long is one of the most easily uncovered fibs. An employment verification from EBI details the following:

  • Dates of employment
  • Roles of service
  • Professional licenses
  • Professional references
  • Technical certificates
  • DOT verifications
  • Military service

“I have never been convicted of an April Fool’s Day prank gone wrong.” – Background screening is nearly universal. A recent survey conducted by HR.com on behalf of the Professional Background Screeners Association found more than 96% of employers use some form of pre-employment screening, with most of those screens including a criminal records check

Courtesy of HR.com

EBI can search:

  • County criminal records
  • Statewide criminal records
  • Federal criminal records
  • National criminal database
  • Sex offender registry
  • Prison inmate search
  • National wants and warrants
  • Homeland security

“I love dogs. I have a dog named April.” – Yes, you do have a dog named April. But the pictures you posted on Twitter of her participating in a dogfighting ring indicate you tried to fool a potential employer. A social media screening report is a Fair Credit Reporting Act-compliant, accurate, and actionable way to ensure the candidate you meet on paper or in an interview holds just as much integrity and truthfulness online. EBI’s social screening reports focus on:

  • Intolerant or racist remarks/images
  • Potentially illegal behavior or violent conduct
  • Sexually explicit material

Verify the Truth

Now, get ready for a shock. It turns out crafting a misleading resume might actually work, if a company fails to use a comprehensive background check from an internationally accredited provider like EBI.

A new survey of nearly 2,000 people published by a leading resume builder shows 54% of hiring managers agree it’s acceptable to modify your job title on a resume. Forty-three percent also agree that lying about a job title is okay when the title doesn’t reflect an applicant’s actual responsibilities.

We have to admit, we find this information stunning and a little hard to believe. As a leading background check provider who routinely works with our clients to vet candidates, we’ve yet to encounter a hiring manager who willfully foregoes seeking the truth about an applicant. In fact, reference checks, verifications, and credentialing are more important than ever as candidates become increasingly tech-savvy and as more businesses resort to remote hiring.

Have a Happy April Fool’s Day

It’s critical for your organization to verify all information an applicant provides, from their resume to references to LinkedIn profile. If you have questions about how to implement a background screening program or, if you’d like to enhance the scope of your existing screening program, EBI’s team of experts is here to help. Request a demo or email us

Our background check services will ensure you don’t get scammed by job applicants on April Fool’s Day or any day for that matter.  

HR & Recruiting

About the Author

Tricia O'Connor

Tricia O'Connor

Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

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