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on July 28, 2017 Hiring and Recruiting

Who is Lying on a Resume? Here's How to Find the Truth.

Resume Lie Detector.png

As if reviewing hundreds of resumes isn't challenging enough, hiring managers also have to be diligent in detecting falsities. When statistics and surveys consistently reveal that at least 50% of job seekers will lie on their resumes, it can be quite the challenge to reveal the truth about your applicant. The good news is that hiring managers do have a not-so-secret weapon to determine the truth-tellers from those who aren't being so forthcoming. 

Like Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth, hiring managers can discover who is lying on a resume. Here's how.

Who is Lying on a Resume?

It may seem shocking to read about successful business executives who've lied on their resume. Being found out is mostly an embarrassment but some people are likely to be fired or not gain employment in the first place. Those who have lied on their resume can be anything from new college graduates to older job seekers who were laid off from a previously long-held position. Here are more statistics on those who typically lie on a resume:

  • 70% of college students lie in order to get a job they want
  • 3% lie if they have a misdemeanor record
  • 7% lie if they have a felony record

Career Builder also reported on the industries likely to report resume lies:

  • 73% in Financial Services
  • 71% in Leisure and Hospitality
  • 63% in Information Technology
  • 63% in Healthcare
  • 59% in Retail

See also: Can Employers Ask about Salary History?

Common Resume Lies & Red Flags

The most common resume lies relate to exaggerated job descriptions, job titles, or degrees. Some other resume lies include:

  • Skills
  • Dates of employment
  • Awards
  • Former Employers
  • Universities attended and/or if the applicant actually graduated with a degree
  • Foreign languages fluency

While it's common to embellish a skill set to better match the job description, some resumes reveal full on false information that could have an impact on the position within the company. Employment verification does have its limitations including the inability of the previous employer to comment on the employee's performance. Hiring managers can look for these red flags after reviewing an applicant resume:

  • During the interview, the applicant seems uncomfortable when answering questions about the resume.
  • Read the applicant's body language after revealing that all of their information will be verified.
  • Offer technical or job-related tests to those who claim to have the required skills.
  • Do your own social media research. Remember, however, there is a possibility that you may be reviewing a social media profile that isn't your applicant
  • Run background checks to reveal the truth about your candidate.

Cost of a Background Check:  How Much Should You Pay?

Background Checks are HR's Lasso of Truth

Since most of the lies on a resume relate to former employers, dates of employment, and education, a background check is the perfect weapon for hiring managers. A basic background check will reveal:

  • Verification of identity
  • Criminal history
  • Education
  • Employment

A professional background screening company will also suggest further screening if the job requirements call for it. The best way to keep background check costs low is to prepare a background screening policy that includes which screens should be required for certain job positions. 

Employers do want resumes that are custom written for the job the applicant wants. They also require some evidence that the skill sets and other factual information is, in fact, true. Lying on a resume may mean the applicant actually isn't qualified for the job and that could lead to termination and starting the hiring process all over again. Keep costs down and be the HR hero in your organization.



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Ryan Howard

Vice President, Business Development at VeriFirst, a BYL Company

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