While it’s no shock to discover applicants lying on resumes, it’s common knowledge they’ve been doing it for decades, what is a shock is the percentage of individuals doing so. Over 85% of job applicants lie on resumes and job applications a recent HireRight survey shows.
In their k2018-2019 Annual Employment Screening Benchmark Survey HireRight stats show a full 85% of job applicants lied on their resumes according to survey responders. Furthermore, background checks revealed 23% of resumes included misrepresentations in educational credentials. A rise of 16% over the past two years.
And why they do so is a question since…..
Today 84% of companies state on a website, blog and/or applications that background checks are performed. Including criminal searches, employment, identity, education verifications and motor vehicle records checks. 52% of company hiring pros, surveyed, admitted to requesting background checks before an interview was even scheduled.
- Financial organizations typically include a review of a candidate’s financial history.
- Motor vehicle records, of candidates whose job will include driving company vehicles, will usually be checked.
- Healthcare/life science businesses and educational institutions may place emphasis on criminal searches
and identity checks.
- Background checks are performed on all individuals a company is considering hiring.
- Background checks are almost always performed on candidates for senior management positions. Including
CEO, CFO, COO, for example.
Who lies on their resume most?
“Although resume fabrications are most common among junior-level job seekers,” says the HireRight report,“ many senior-level executives and government officials have found themselves in the uncomfortable spotlight after it was revealed they misrepresented their experience”.
Those who believe they will face age discrimination also top the list. The approach to age discrimination was first employed in a landmark study published in 2008, which has still proved valuable today. It also provided stats showing men seem to face less discrimination, because of age, than women. http://jhr.uwpress.org/content/43/1/30.refs Here’s a link to the U.S. EEOC Age Discrimination Act
Another important reason people may be ‘embellishing’ resumes and job apps is the competitive market for top jobs – even during the time of ‘new normal’ and the corona virus.
“Since the competition for top jobs is tight,” says Mary Lorenz a CareerBuilder spokesperson, “these candidates are simply trying to stand out and get their foot in the door with hiring managers, in the hopes of proving themselves later on”.
On the other hand, many applicants are simply trying to ‘beat the ATS system’. Most job searchers understand companies use an applicant tracking system; commonly known as ATS. The hiring department types in the exact skills, experience and background required for each job and the ATS sorts out and sends them only those resumes and/or applications which match the stated job requirements. That said, it’s easy to see why job applicants would prevaricate.
Others who regularly ‘embellish’ their resume have what’s considered a questionable background. These aren’t necessarily criminals, but may be individuals who’ve lied to other hiring pros and may have been posted to a ‘do-not-hire list. Or, they’ve been fired or fired several times. There may have been a unique issue, with a previous company, which ended with them being laid off and they misrepresent the situation on their resume and to the next company interviewing them. All of which may be difficult to discuss with an interviewer.
Bottom line – candidates, on all levels – even top executives – misrepresent information on their resumes today.
Yet – if companies state they’re doing background checks, and make it clear you should expect one, why do such a high percentage of job applicants still include lies on their resumes?
Monster.com’s Resume Expert Kim Isaacs says she believes people lie because of ‘fear’. “Fear of not being good enough; fear of not measuring up to their peers; fear of not getting called for interviews. Some people will do whatever it takes to get an edge.”
While most companies won’t dismiss your application if you don’t have all the skills required – no one is expected to – they will expect you to have at least 3-4. CareerBuilder’s Lorenz says past surveys have revealed companies are willing to train people, who are otherwise a good fit, even if they lack a specific skill.
A recent CareerBuilder survey says 62% of hiring pros interviewed state fudging on capabilities runs a close second to fudging on skills. As with skills, the applicant is trying to push themselves to the top of the interviewer’s list – showing them how qualified (perhaps even over qualified) they are plus how many of the job requirements they possess. In short, lying better shows how they best fit the job.
While the job market was tight before the introduction of the coronavirus, it’s even tighter now. While there are tons of jobs available today, many companies are still struggling to deal with the situations brought about by the virus; and have started revamping their hiring processes – how they interview and hire. Applicants have discovered this and now have additional reasons for outright resume and application lying.
The CareerBuilder stats also point out 54% of hiring pros surveyed said they noticed the embroidering of responsibilities – those claiming to have performed more work, had more supervisory responsibility, for example, than a job on that level would actually require. Remember, human resources pros are usually interviewing hundreds, perhaps thousands, of applicants annually. A wide variety of whom have different titles, skills and experience. In general, they know the responsibilities of each job and know when an applicant is overstating.
4. Job Titles.
Hiring pros and human resource pros say this is also one of the top items applicants fudge about when developing a resume or filling out an application. While HR pros know this, they may ignore an overstated job title since every company creates its own unique titles. In other cases, it may rankle them – and an interviewer might question you about it. While it may not lose you the job it does bring the question of honesty to the forefront of an interviewer’s mind.
5. Improperly claiming to have worked for certain companies.
Amazingly some applicants actually claim to have worked for companies they’ve never even applied to. This fact is easily uncovered in a background check. A no-brainer you’ll be eliminated for job consideration.
6. Lying about business credentials and/or education.
The HireRight report, noted above, shows respondents saying background checks revealed 23% of applicants misrepresenting education credentials. It’s estimated most people do this to ensure their resume is top of the pack or at least on par with other candidates in the running. While the truth may have kept you in the running, lying and upping your education credentials will get you eliminated once the background check is available say hiring pros.
7. Misstating dates of employment.
Often this can be caused by the desire to fill in job gaps. One common deceit, says Monster’s Kim Isaacs – “Stretching dates for one or two jobs to cover a time gap or fabricating an interim job”. Instead of trying to fill the gap with work, says Isaacs, it’s better to state the real reason. For example – heading back to school to finish a degree, staying home to care for an ill parent or child, taking leave to work on an independent project. Alison Doyle, career expert says “There’s no requirement that you include all your experience on a resume. It is”, says Doyle, “very important not to lie on your resume…..it will probably come back to haunt you”. Bottom line – No HR pro expects anyone to have worked every day of their hiring years.
4 Final Resume Writing Tips:
As previously stated – it’s common practice, today, for companies to state on websites, blogs and job apps, the fact that background checks will be performed. And with each passing year companies continue to adopt new digital tools, such as E-Verify, to confirm candidates’ employment eligibility.
When creating and organizing your resume –
* The best strategy is to stay honest. No company expects you to be perfect nor possess every skill or the exact background stated in a job ad. Those are merely guidelines. Companies can and will – depending on the circumstances – bend the rules if you are a good candidate and a good culture fit.
* Worried about what a hiring company may discover about your history or background? Order a background check done on yourself.
* Not sure what they’ll discover about you on social sites? Start cleaning them up; deleting info you no longer want shared and/or didn’t know existed. Ask friends to stop posting certain types of info, graphics and photos. Or –
* Opt for a good professional resume writer.
If you want your resume to rise ahead of the competition focus on your strengths, soft skills, accomplishments and achievements. Show a potential employer how they will benefit from your valuable experience, expertise and skills.