Why You Can’t Rely On Resumes

Art 1 Waiting in the queue for job interview L comp

Many applicants will fib a little on a resume, and not necessarily because they are dishonest candidates. They’ve been taught to treat resumes as more of a marketing tool, which can lead to exaggerating the truth. Some common resume offenses include showing incorrect hiring dates to cover up unemployment periods, giving incorrect job titles, inaccurate compensation amounts, and listing experience or skills they don’t really have.

As the demand for construction employees continues to rise, you may be tempted to skip over checking references or doing background checks on your new hires, especially when you need a new member on your team! However, it’s important to check their past to protect your company, even if a short-time or contingent worker. Here are some tips to checking backgrounds, the right way:

Ask the right questions

When checking with references from past employers and colleagues, ask about specific dates and skills, especially the ones that are most important and relevant to the job you’re hiring for. Don’t ask questions that are inappropriate or outside of fact-checking.

Ensure there’s no bias

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced in October last year that they will be closely watching how employers use background checks, because they don’t want them to be used for discrimination. You may not even be aware of the potential for this information to be used this way! Reexamine your process to look for any possible breakdowns that could allow this, or seek an attorney if necessary to make sure you’re not enabling discriminatory practices.

Reconsider looking at the applicant’s social media

It may be tempting to look at your candidate’s social media to find out more about them. However, this can lead to subjective bias about a candidate based on personal information or opinion. And most of the information on social media is unrelated to job performance anyway. It could pose a legal risk, so most employers would be better not to use social media to check backgrounds. If it is something that you feel should be done, we suggest you seek a third party who knows the safe legal way to do it.

Keep asking

Think beyond the pre-screen, and consider a re-screen. This can allow you to make sure that your hired staff is still eligible to perform the job expectations. However, the practice of re-screening needs employee consent.  So, if you intend to re-screen, it’s best to let them know up front that you plan to do periodic or continuous screening up-front, when you hire them.


It’s part of the process at Madden to check our candidate’s references and background. If you have any questions about our process, or a potential candidate, we are here for you to help or answer anything you are unsure about.