HR Hero Line

Don’t forget to vet those résumés

by Stacey Rose Harris

If you are like most HR professionals, you are inundated with résumés from applicants looking for jobs at your company. Sifting through the summaries of job applicants’ credentials and experience can be a Herculean task. When you find the perfect applicant with a stellar background, your efforts may seem worthwhile. Unfortunately, sometimes applicants who tout amazing credentials on résumés aren’t as stellar as they appear on paper. 

Tips to avoid hiring mistakes
Often, inaccuracies—or flat-out lies— will be revealed by a phone call to an applicant’s previous employers or educational institution. A few simple steps can help prevent a bad hire:

  1. Verify applicants’ degrees with schools’ registrars.
  2. Verify applicants’ experience with previous employers.
  3. Call references.
  4. Keep in mind that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) takes the position that a conviction does not automatically disqualify an applicant from a job. (Make sure your state’s law does not prevent you from asking applicants to disclose convictions.)
  5. Ask applicants to submit to background checks. Follow the procedures of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and any applicable state laws.
  6. Read applications and background check results, and follow up if they raise any red flags.

Bottom line
Those steps may sound simple, but they are basic procedures that many employers failed to follow. Ensure that you have solid vetting procedures to guard against mistakes.

Stacey Rose Harris is a partner with DiMuroGinsberg, PC in Alexandria, Virginia. She may be contacted at