exaggerating the truth

A resume is supposed to be a factual account of an applicant’s background.  It should give a hiring manager a clear and concise understanding of prior work experience, educational background, and other experiential data that tells a company that this person is the right fit for the job.  Unfortunately, a resume may also contain lies about the aforementioned experiences, and when these are uncovered many times an applicant is disqualified due to the information being inaccurately reported.

For many job applicants, they do not feel that lies on their resume will be uncovered.  Some attribute this to the hope that a company will not perform its due diligence to verify resume information, while some just simply don’t care.

Lying on a resume has always been an issue but really came to forefront during the latest recession as layoffs occurred, jobs were scarce and people looked at long term unemployment.  Faced with intense competition for a job, many job applicants embellished things like responsibilities, actual dates of employment, job titles and degrees.

What many of these applicants fail to recognize is that over 70 percent of all companies in the United States conduct background checks which include criminal searches but also include employment verifications, education verifications and reference checks that will help to verify information contained in a resume.  With such a high percentage, it is amazing that job applicants think that they can get away with telling lies on a resume, no matter how big or how small.

There are common lies that HR professionals have found on resumes, most of which are easy to uncover via a background check.  These fabrications include:

  • Skill sets
  • Job responsibilities
  • Dates of employment
  • Job titles
  • Academic degrees
  • Past companies they have worked for
  • Accolades and awards

PeopleG2 has also helped to uncover many international fabrications that have been reported on a resume as well.  With many companies hiring people from other countries, there seems to be an assumption that information reported on a resume regarding employment or education that occurred outside the United States will not be checked due to cost or time involved.  For companies that do a lot of international hiring, while international checks can be costly, they are willing to spend the money.  PeopleG2 has proved many false international resume claims in both the areas of education and employment.

The bottom line:  it’s just not worth it to lie on a resume.  Employers are looking for the best qualified candidates, and in a world where over 70% of companies conduct background checks, chances are the lies will be caught.  Be truthful and forthright about your skills and abilities on your resume, and you probably stand a better chance of obtaining that job and being successful.

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