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The first thing applicants do when applying for a job is to review their resume to ensure all of the information is up-to-date. And when someone’s resume is looking a little light, well…sometimes padding happens. It’s no secret Human Resources departments are usually stretched thin – according to a 2012 study conducted by TheLadders, a job hunting website, most resumes are reviewed for an average of 6 seconds – and the job application process can be long and complicated, so most applicants who do stretch the truth assume they’ll get away with it.

Lying Is Trending

Looks like the lie detector went off the charts on Friday, December 16th, as users flooded Twitter with the trending hashtag #WhiteLiesOnMyResume to share and brag about the skills, languages spoken, and positions held they’ve falsely included on their resumes. And while it might have been all fun and games for those tweeting, the conversation represents a much larger, more serious problem.

It’s been reported that the annual cost of resume fraud is $600 billion and there are over 3,000 unaccredited universities worldwide. According to a survey CareerBuilder conducted of hiring professionals, lying is one of the biggest resume mistakes an applicant can make (just ask Scott Thompson, former CEO of Yahoo), and yet the cost of fraud per year is only increasing.

With the advent of digital credentials and badges, accessing people’s credentials has never been easier. However, independently verifying these credentials and the information they contain is proving to be more difficult. According to a recent Aberdeen Group Report, four out of five businesses say they’re facing a critical shortage of talent, and because the pool of applicants keeps expanding, there’s added pressure for job applicants to be easily distinguished from the rest of the pack. So, applicants have gotten “resourceful”, and employers are faced with the challenge of verifying their skills, achievements, and credentials as quickly and easily as possible.

What Are Verifiable Credentials And What’s Really Being Verified?

The digital badging and credentialing industry is steadily expanding – this will accelerate as online identity management technology further develops – but little is publicly known about the badge and credential verification process. Many badging and credentialing companies, such as Open Badges, Badgr, and Acclaim all state their achievements are verifiable.

The Open Badges platform touts that their badges are “visual symbols of accomplishment packed with verifiable data and evidence that can be shared across the web.” Badgr, who issues Open Badges, offers an API to allow users to “issue and display digitally verifiable badges.” Acclaim states that their badges are “issued and validated by reputable organizations, so you can trust that the information is accurate and up-to-date.” Despite their claims that you can issue verified badges, their websites don’t actually explain how exactly these badges are verified with respect to the issuers’ and holders’ identity, plus the integrity of the data offered.

Why HR Leaders Need to Demand Verifiable Credentials

David Leaser, senior manager of innovation at IBM, stated in an article that “lifestyle expectations, labor market changes, and the rapid pace of technology change will force talent leaders to rethink their strategies to attract, develop, and retain talent with a focus on upskilling and reskilling their talent pools.” While Leaser is correct that talent leaders are being forced to rethink their hiring strategies, his suggestion that Open Badges are the solution to verifiable credentials is debatable – Open Badges are an inferior solution to a very important problem.

The TrueCred® Advantage

None of the badge, credential, or identity providers have the ability to track back information presented from primary source data providers or independently verify that the information in these credentials and badges have not been tampered with. “Ensuring confidence in the digital credential ecosystem is at the core of the TrueCred® platform,” according to Joe Kaplan, TrueCred® Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “Our TrueCred® platform enables us to establish digital credential trust.”

TrueCred® really thrives when sharing information in digital credentials securely and privately. Certifying the credentials are tamper-proof, portable, and easily exchangeable is mandatory for digital credentials to flourish as a standard, and be trusted by decision makers. By using proven PKI cryptography, TrueCred® credentials are digitally signed by primary source data providers, guaranteeing the credentials are tamper-proof and independently verifiable.

With the rise of the gig economy and the evolution of workforce, verifiable digital credentials are going to be a necessity for college graduates and job applicants. Most importantly is having digital credentials that are independently verifiable. Creating secure, interoperable credentials that allow the credential holder to add new achievements throughout the course of their academic and professional careers are all necessary components for generating a meaningful and trustworthy digital credential ecosystem. Many companies claim their open and low-stakes digital badges can do that, but TrueCred® technology takes digital credentials beyond the badge by delivering the most trustworthy, tamper-proof credentials.

White lies matter and we plan to combat those lies by delivering a stronger, more secure digital credential ecosystem with TrueCred® thereby establishing Digital Credential Trust™.