What do we KNOW about candidates?
"The problem with internet quotes is that you can't always depend on their accuracy" Abraham Lincoln, 1864
Or maybe another subtitle should be Pre-Verified Resumes versus Online Deception Services
Every month I receive HR Magazine, a publication from SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management). The January edition included an article titled Pre-Verified Resumes: How Useful?. The article addresses a growing number of services that will pre-verify the credentials of candidates submitted through them.
You can't judge a book by its cover
In seeing the title, I expected an article on organizations that truly helped to uncover and/or assure the truth about candidates. As the readers of this Blog might remember, I have addressed the 10% to 15% falsification rate we find in degrees listed on resumes (AFTER candidates sign a release allowing us to verify what they themselves put down). I also wrote a post on a 'deception' service located in the greater Twin Cities (Minnesota) area that will help a candidate, among other things, by verifying their fake credentials.
While the article does indeed talk of firms that legitimately verify credentials for you, it raised a doubt at the same time. It left the reader with a question on the background of the people (and firm) doing the checking.
Trust but verify
I was under the impression that these words were attributed to President Ronald Reagan regarding treaties with the Russians. The quote actually came from a Russian writer, Suzanne Massie, who taught him these words (but in Russian). I think they are appropriate here.
HR Big Data
I recently attended an HR Executive Forum presentation by Patrick Riley, CEO of Modern Survey (see http://www.modernsurvey.com/). Part of his presentation provided statistics on employers use of social media to research candidates. Facebook and LinkedIn were pointed to as likely places to check people out. LinkedIn is one of many tools used in recruiting. We often look at people's profiles after we have learned about them. We consider it a quick snapshot before we start our digging. What we have often found is that LinkedIn contains the same (sometimes false) information about candidates that their resumes provide.
The use of Google has helped us to find added information. We have found announcements about candidates who have accepted positions that were deleted from LinkedIn profiles and resumes. Titles have been inflated - something I have seen recommended by a few career counselors working in this market. Patrick Riley's information and resulting advice is exceptionally sound - check out social media/the internet for appropriate additional information. Don't necessarily believe it all - but check it out nonetheless.
Most people tell the truth
For that, we are thankful. With that said, our firm will continue to use the truism mentioned above as a key operating principle - Trust but Verify.