03 Oct 2015 16:09 IST

Three out of 10 people lie on their resume, says Edward Hickey

LinkedIn is a good tool to get noticed and your profile can stand out without your bending facts

Edward Hickey
LinkedIn is a great tool to get noticed and it can make you stand out without having to lie, says Edward Hickey, Managing Director for the Asia-Pacific region of HireRight, a global employment screening firm. Hickey was in New Delhi recently to attend the annual HR conference of SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management), and spoke to BLonCampus on managing talent risk and more. Excerpts:

What is talent risk management?

It is knowing who you are bringing into the organisation. The challenge for HR in today’s age is really finding the right talent and retaining it. Often, the challenge is to do these things with speed; it’s important how quickly you can bring in the people you need. On the other hand, you need to make sure that they are, in fact, the right people and that’s where the risk aspect comes in.

Why do companies need to manage talent risk?

Companies need to do some diligence on whom they are hiring to find out what skills they have and whether the information provided is accurate or not. Usually, three out of 10 people would have a discrepancy or a lie on their resumé. Some can be very minor and basic, while others can be serious, but it’s a significant number, bearing in mind that most people already know they are going to be screened.

Typically, we check if the person has the track record he claims to have; if he has worked in the places mentioned in the resume or holds the university degrees he has listed. While such things can be cross-checked, the more subjective stuff remains a grey area.

We recommend that organisations should have a policy on the things they want to check. They also need to make sure those checks are relevant to the roles people are going to fill. If they are recruiting accountants, for instance, they would want to know what qualifications the individual has and if there are any discrepancies in the resumé, as that would be a big risk to the business, especially in a role where somebody has free access to vital information within the business.

To lower that risk, organisations would want to put in place certain checks.It is recommended that such a policy is relevant to the level of risk within a particular role in the organisation.

How can the due diligence be done?

Having a robust policy in place is key from the management’s point of view. From an HR perspective, getting stakeholders to buy into the process is the other key factor. Everyone in the organisation has to agree on the due diligence policy and understand why the screening is done, why the company needs to manage talent risk.

The other side to it is the candidate — it is more of a people’s aspect. For the screening programme to succeed, the candidate needs to be engaged too, and participate in the process actively. The hiring organisation must educate the candidate, and be open, telling him or her why it is doing the diligence, and what kind of checks are being done. If it doesn’t it could end up with a negative experience with the candidate and that could cause problems within the organisation, as the risk management strategy will be viewed with scepticism and doubt by the rest of the organisation.

Getting advice from an expert or a screening firm can guide a company on the kind of checks to be done.

Why are employers getting interested in the social media profiles of prospective employees? What do firms usually screen social media for?

You have to be cautious about what information you put out in the public domain. From a hiring perspective, we don’t actually use social media as a tool for candidate screening. The reason is it tends to be very subjective information. The information on social media may or may not be factual, so one has to be very cautious when looking at that information from a hiring perspective. But if you are looking at suitability, social media profiles can be a good indicator of whether the candidate is suitable or not.

A firm might be looking for things concerning its business. And if a candidate has a view that is directly in conflict with an organisation's views, that would be a concern. But I guess that takes place typically prior to the decision of screening an individual.

How one can make his/her profile noticed on LinkedIn?

A lot of searching for candidates now takes place on LinkedIn, whereas, earlier, one would typically go to a recruitment agency and get applications from them. LinkedIn is a great resource, and therefore, putting up accurate information will only help a candidate.

Let’s say, an employer finds you on LinkedIn and then decides to screen you and finds a difference between the profile and reality. That could result in your not getting the job. So, when you draw up your LinkedIn profile, you should put in as many accurate and relevant details as you can.

You can also get references from former co-workers and managers, and make sure that if you are citing them as references, they will actually verify and stand up for you. Make sure the details about what you did and when you did them are factually right. I think that will stand you in good stead. LinkedIn is a very good tool to get noticed and I think you can do a lot to have your profile stand out without having to lie.