The Danger of Using Fake Job References

When you’re creating your resume for your next job, it can be tempting to pad your references, but a new study indicates you might want to think twice. Everyone wants to present themselves the best that they can when they are on the search for a new job, and some job seekers even go so far as to include fake references to pad their resumes.

Unfortunately for these job seekers, a new study indicates that greater than two-thirds of employers check their applicants’ references. This means there is a strong chance that a candidate’s references will be checked, and once an employer catches the lie, this will more than likely remove any chances of scoring the position.

Is It Illegal to Use a Fake Reference?

It actually is illegal to directly lie about your references, and though employers are more likely just to fire you or choose not to hire you depending on what stage of the hiring process you are in, there are still the people you included as references to consider.

When job seekers are looking for a position, they are bound to come across other highly talented workers. It can be pretty tempting for some to include them as references, but if caught, these individuals could sue you for defamation. Between losing your shot at the job and the possibility of legal trouble, it simply is not worth lying about your references.

How Likely Are Employers to Check Your References?

Approximately two-thirds of employers check references for every candidate, and slightly more than one-fifth check references for specific candidates. This same study found that nearly no employer never checks references.

Employers are most likely to check references for candidates that will have access to restricted information such as company finances or patients’ medical information. Also, larger employers are more likely than smaller ones to conduct reference checks.

Who Should You Include as a Reference?

The people you choose as a reference should be those who can recommend you based on your professional skill and work ethic. This may be coworkers, supervisors or managers, professors, or even former customers.

If you have prior work experience, your first choice should be someone else from your most recent position. After all, your most recent employer is most likely to have the greatest insight into your abilities as a professional. As long as you have built a positive relationship with them, they will be happy to give you a recommendation.

Key Takeaways

So, if you’re considering using a fake reference for your resume or next application, you may want to think again. Making your reference list look a little better simply isn’t worth the significant risk of damaging your reputation or being labeled a fraud. Instead, simply provide honest references that can speak for your skill and work ethic, and you will soon find a position without dishonesty.

Your personal background check is required for literally everything in your life these days, from employers to rentals. Take control of yours.


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