How Good Are Employers at Uncovering Resume Falsehoods?

Applicants may feel the pressure to be less than honest on their resumes due to the increased competition among job seekers. And we know that there are some resume lies that are quite common:

  • 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

But, employers should not lose heart. According to a nationwide survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from May 13 to June 6, 2014, 58 percent of hiring managers said that they have caught a lie on a resume. And a number of industries said they catch resume lies more than half the time:

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

While a large number of employers spend only two minutes reviewing resumes, 86 percent typically have more than one employee review a resume, with 65 percent saying two or three people go over each resume, and 21 percent saying resumes are reviewed by four or more employees before making a hiring decision.

Employers use such falsehoods to screen out candidates. Fifty-one percent of employers said that they would automatically dismiss a candidate for a fabrication on his or her resume, while 40 percent said their decision would depend on what the candidate lied about.

Here are three additional tips for spotting resume falsehoods:

  1. Verify the information provided by calling the schools and previous employers.
  2. Make sure the dates line up and there are no large time gaps or overlaps.
  3. Check for believability. In other words, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Call MSEC for assistance in screening applicants.