Jobseekers Often Caught Lying on Résumés

Aimee Simone, Associate Editor
Published Online: Tuesday, August 12, 2014
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Hiring managers have seen an increase in the number of lies applicants use on their résumés, according to the findings of a recent survey.

In a recent survey released by Career Builder, more than half of hiring managers reported finding a lie on a résumé.

The national poll, conducted May 13, 2014, to June 6, 2014, by Harris Poll, included 2188 hiring managers and human resource professionals from different industries and varying company sizes.

The survey results indicated 58% of employers had caught a lie on a résumé, and 33% noted an increase in the number of lies jobseekers use on résumés since the recession. In addition, 51% of hiring managers surveyed said they would automatically reject applicants with false information on their résumés, while 40% felt the decision to dismiss a candidate would depend on what he or she had lied about. Only 7% said they would disregard the lie if they liked the applicant.

Asked which résumé lies were the most common, 57% of hiring managers reported catching an embellished skill set, while 55% spotted embellished responsibilities and 42% noticed false dates of employment. Other popular resume lies included job title (34%), academic degree (33%), companies worked for (26%), and accolades or awards (18%).

The survey also found jobseekers in certain industries are more likely to bluff on their résumés compared to those in other fields. Individuals looking for a job in financial services were the most likely to lie, as 73% of employers surveyed in this field reported catching résumé fibs, followed by 71% of hiring managers in leisure and hospitality. Information technology and health care tied for the third spot, with 63% of managers reporting lies.

The survey authors indicated that hiring managers might be spending more time carefully reviewing résumés, which would mean they are more likely to find lies. Among the employers surveyed, 42% reported spending more than 2 minutes to review each résumé, an increase from 33% of those who responded to the survey in December 2013. Moreover, 86% said more than 1 employee typically review résumés, and 65% indicated 2 or 3 people review each one.

Asked about the most unusual or memorable lie they had ever encountered, the hiring managers recalled a potential candidate who claimed to be an Olympic medalist, a 32-year-old applicant who listed 25 years of experience, and a jobseeker who claimed to be the assistant to the prime minister of a country that does not have a prime minister.
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