Is That Reference Fake?

image of doubting manBack in the nineties when I was recruiting a CFO for a major company, I found an excellent candidate who had all the right qualifications, knowledge and experience. He came across as very smart and professional at interview, and was available for an immediate start due, he said, to cut-backs at his previous employer.

In those days the fear-factor in providing a reference was low and so, when I spoke to the MD, he readily attested to the candidate’s knowledge, abilities and personality. However, when I asked “Would you re-employ” his all too rapid “No” response rang the alarm bells. It turns out this excellent candidate had a serious gambling problem and had been caught with his hand in the till. And, but for the reference check, I may never have found out because this previous employer had chosen to accept his resignation rather than report the crime to protect the company’s reputation.

The Fake Referee

Today that CFO could have covered his tracks with a service that provides a tailored fake history. I don’t know if there is anything this blatant operating in Australia, but in Ohio proudly boast “We will act as your current or past employer and have our operators standing by to give you the “great” job references that you need to any inquiry. Join now and you will be able to create a career with a work history and pay range as you see fit”.​ They even recommend not to just create a fake referee with a former employer as that is too easy to check, they say create a fake company as well! They will provide a virtual company that will show on Google search and Google maps and provide phone numbers that they will answer as the company.

Meanwhile, offers to show you, among other things, “The best way to get fake references”, “How to get College transcripts from ANY University with any GPA you want!”, “How to rig your resume so it gets picked by the new automated Human Resources systems”, and “Why you can’t afford not to lie on your resume”. To justify its service, says “according to “Hire Right” (a firm that specializes in employee background checks), as much as 80% of resumes are in some way misleading” thereby suggesting that the applicant has to lie just to keep up with everyone else.

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