CVS / AUG. 24, 2014
version 4, draft 4

How Job Applicants Lie on their Resumes

Hiring the wrong staff is one of the biggest challenges a new business faces. Hiring the wrong staff is a bigger problem than gaining access to capital or your product or service gaining relevance in a competitive market. Why? Working with the wrong team can waste valuable time and resources as goal and objectives of the business will never be met.

Lying in resumes has now become a major problem in the United States. Perhaps you could ascribe such rise in awful behavior by job candidates to the recession in the United States; although it is important to understand that trust is very important in building professional relationships within and outside your business. In a recent poll conducted by Harris Poll and CareerBuilder it was discovered that about 60% of hiring managers have caught people lying on their resumes. It was also discovered that there was an increase in the number of applicants who enhanced their resumes to stand out above contemporaries.

Other interesting facts the survey revealed are that there are lies that there are more common than others. According to employers the most common lies found in resumes relate to:

  • Embellished skill set – 57 percent
  • Embellished responsibilities – 55 percent
  • Dates of employment – 42 percent
  • Job title – 34 percent
  • Academic degree – 33 percent
  • Companies worked for – 26 percent
  • Accolades/awards – 18 percent

Most Memorable Resume Lies

When asked about the most unusual lie they’ve ever caught on a resume, employers recalled:

  • Applicant included job experience that was actually his father’s. Both father and son had the same name (one was Sr., one was Jr.).
  • Applicant claimed to be the assistant to the prime minister of a foreign country that doesn’t have a prime minister.
  • Applicant claimed to have been a high school basketball free throw champion. He admitted it was a lie in the interview.
  • Applicant claimed to have been an Olympic medalist.
  • Applicant claimed to have been a construction supervisor. The interviewer learned the bulk of his experience was in the completion of a doghouse some years prior.
  • Applicant claimed to have 25 years of experience at age 32.
  • Applicant claimed to have worked for 20 years as the babysitter of known celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Madonna, etc.
  • Applicant listed three jobs over the past several years. Upon contacting the employers, the interviewer learned that the applicant had worked at one for two days, another for one day, and not at all for the third.
  • Applicant applied to a position with a company who had just terminated him. He listed the company under previous employment and indicated on his resume that he had quit.
  • Applicant applied twice for the same position and provided different work history on each application.

Industries Most Likely to Report Catching Resume Lies


While employers have caught lies on resumes submitted for jobs of all types, levels and industries, some report a higher rate of fibbing than others. The survey found that employers in the following industries catch resume lies more frequently than average:

  • Financial Services – 73 percent
  • Leisure and Hospitality – 71 percent
  • Information Technology – 63 percent
  • Health Care (More than 50 employees) – 63 percent
  • Retail – 59 percent

Discovering an employee had ‘cheated’ during the hiring process can cause a break in trust. Lying can also be expensive, especially if hired candidates are hired into key sales or management roles. However Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, advises job candidates not to breach trust from the very outset. “If you want to enhance your resume, it’s better to focus on playing up tangible examples from your actual experience. Your resume doesn’t necessarily have to be the perfect fit for an organization, but it needs to be relevant and accurate.”



Sourced Image: Resume

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