Unemployment rate is at one of the lowest percentages now than it has been in over a decade, making the job market more competitive. When it comes to hiring new people, be sure to keep in mind not everybody is honest and are struggling to find a job so they may spruce up their resumes.

Here is what to look out for: the Hot Smokers, the ones who will steal anyone’s identity; the Cushions, the ones who add padding to their employment and their skill sets; the Fakes, the ones who lie about their degree; the Masquerades, the ones who are good at hiding their true personality until they get the job; and the Heated, the ones who have fallen into a hard habit of drugs and alcohol that is only noticed when spending further time with them.

Hot Smokers

In today’s world it is easy to obtain different identities in order to be someone they are not and be successful. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately nine million Americans have their identity stolen each year. It is crucial that employers know exactly whom they are hiring. The best way to uncover solid and correct information is by completing a background check for a social security trace on each potential candidate.


Unfortunately, it is common for applicants to stretch the truth in some regard on their resume. Rounding up a couple months is a minor offense, but it is important to understand the difference between rounding up a couple months and flat out fibbing a couple years. Be sure to conduct employee verification checks on applicants to see how long they truly been working at those jobs. This ensures they are truly qualified for the job that they are applying for and allows you to gain any other information from speaking with that company’s Human Resource Department about the applicant. Remember – if one is going to lie about how long they have worked somewhere, they are most likely going to continue that lie in regards to what projects they worked on and the skills they obtained on that job.


Not only will some candidates lie to companies about who they are, some will lie to employers about their degree and the college they graduated from. Colleges and universities are popping up all over the US; there are approximately 4,360 colleges/universities, 980 community colleges and 350 trade schools according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Now, between fake colleges and phony institutions, there are 810 sites that operate in the United States. This now totals to 6,500 possible college/institutions, real and fake that has the potential to give out diplomas. In the United States alone, there has been over one million degrees sold that are fake, according to Allen Ezell and John Bear.


It never hurts to do more research beyond basic background checks. Contacting previous employers, peers, and other references will help employers get a better idea beyond what is found on paper. Speaking directly with references will also allow employers to interpret the verbal cues of how they perceive the candidate as well. Being on the phone with references allows employers to get an idea of how candidates operated at their previous job on a daily basis. The references will provide information on the candidates daily attitude, how their work progresses with each week, if they are willing to go the extra mile and challenge themselves. It is easy to sound good and be considered qualified on paper, but actions speak louder than words.   


After everything continues to check out, there is one more final step that should be done before officially hiring a candidate. According to National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, out of the 14.8 million Americans who are employed, 70% of the employed are taking some type of illegal drug. The two most common drugs are marijuana, typically followed by cocaine, and the other is prescription drugs, commonly known as opioids. The best way to avoid this problem is to do a drug test within the next 48 hours after the interview has been completed before officially hiring the candidate.


Background checks are able to bring these lies to a halt. Be ahead of the game with future employees and keep the work environment a safe and great atmosphere to work in.


By: Kendahl Schlueter,,,, and