Dateline: CHICAGO – August 7, 2014
With unemployment continuing to be a very competitive market especially in high-paying jobs including those whose positions are tied to the access of a company’s most sensitive data, the pressure to stand out in a sea of applicants is tempting job seekers to be less than honest on their resumes. In a recent online nation-wide Harris Pool conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder.com, one of the nation’s largest online resume distribution platforms, fifty-eight percent of hiring managers said they have caught a lie on a resume. In addition, employers state that they have seen a 33% increase in resume embellishments since the economy began its turnaround.
Of those polled, more than 50% of these employers state they categorically dismiss a candidate when they catch a lie on a resume. Although 40% of employers said they might overlook the lie depending upon the seriousness of the breach while 7% said they would hire the applicant anyway if they liked them, the poll shows that even fudging minute data on a resume may summarily disqualify a candidate from ever being consider for a job.
The poll, which included a representative sample of 2,188 hiring managers and human resource professionals across many industries and company sizes, shows an alarming rate in which applicants are willing to hedge the truth in order to get a job. “Trust is very important in professional relationships, and by lying on your resume, you breach that trust from the very outset,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “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.”
Most Common Resume Lies
There are certain fabrications job seekers may try to slip past employers more frequently than others. According to employers, the most common lies they catch on 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
The Review Process
Employers may be taking more time looking over individual resumes. Forty-two percent of employers said they spend more than two minutes reviewing each resume, up from 33 percent in December.
Additionally, most employers (86 percent) typically have more than one employee review candidates’ resumes, with 65 percent saying two or three people go over each resume. Twenty-one percent say resumes are reviewed by four or more employees before a decision is made.
The Other Side of The Coin
While these statistics are alarming from the standpoint of those who think that lying on an application is now almost a requirement in order to be noticed, and that there are employers who seem not to care about hiring working who present false credentials, what is not stated is the degree to which a company could be compromising its security and exposing its company to everything from customer service problem because of workers with unethical values to potential corporate espionage and fraud or embezzlement by those who are purposefully enhancing their resumes in order to be hired into positions where they gain opportunistically gain.
It cannot be stressed hard enough that in this day of ever increasing hiring by faceless sorting of resume data through job boards, and digital application, that before a decision is made, a thorough background check into the facts should be performed. Not only will this prevent the waste of money in hiring the incorrect person for the job, it will insure that you are hiring the right person for the right job in order to protect and grow your brand, product and reputation.