Skip to content

The Reality of Lying on Resumes

Some stories about faking or lying on resumes are shocking. Like the CEO of Yahoo resigning after finally being caught having lied for decades about having a Computer Science degree. Other stories can be amusing, like the Australian woman who was caught having faked her resume and submitted a photo of Kate Upton, or the recent State Department hire whose portfolio included a fake Time Magazine cover with her face on it. 

But for businesses, lying on or faking resumes is no laughing matter.

So how big a problem is lying on resumes?

Getting a handle on the size of the problem is tricky. You have to ask liars about their lying. But some liars will admit to lying in confidential surveys. One survey found that 78% of recent job applicants admitted to having lied on their resume.

But it’s best not to rely on those surveys alone. CareerBuilder’s’ annual survey of hiring managers found that 75% of them reported having caught resume fraud. Surprisingly, that lines up well with what the liars say themselves. Interestingly enough, however, they also found 66% of hiring managers didn’t find these lies to be disqualifying.

Wait, what?

It turns out that potential employees and hiring managers both already know the reality that psychology research has confirmed: most people want to be seen as better than they are. So, hiring managers expect a little bit of lying, and thus employees may actually be at a disadvantage if they don’t engage in these more “forgivable” exaggerations (e.g., round up one’s GPA, exaggerating skills). And since half of employers don’t bother to do basic employment checks (e.g., education), what do candidates have to lose?

How does resume fraud harm your business?

Little white lies on a resume may not seem harmful. But bad information can lead to bad hires and bad hires have serious consequences. Here are a few.

How can you tackle resume fraud?

Even when a resume is 100% factual, it is still not a strong predictor of the candidate’s job success. That’s why we’ve advocated for ditching resumes altogether in favor of more reliable evaluation methods. 

If you are not ready to remove resumes from your talent acquisition process, here are a few approaches to consider:

  • Use a reliable soft-skill assessment at the beginning of the hiring process. Since assessments narrow your talent pool to top applicants, your recruiters will have fewer resumes to screen so they can allocate the time for a more thorough review.
  • Checking an applicant’s educational credentials is critical. The Federal Trade Commission has guidance on how to check credentials, and how to spot a potential “diploma mill”.
  • Reference checks are worth your time, and ideally should be done earlier in the job search, rather than as a final formality.

If you decide to rely on resumes in your hiring process, promote a culture of verification and validation amongst your hiring team.

To find out how Cangrade can help you accurately and efficiently identify your top candidates. Contact us today.