Have you reviewed resumes lately? If so, what you reviewed may have been fiction…rather than fact. That’s because 53 percent of resumes contain false information. Some lies are relatively common, while others are downright surprising. A CareerBuilder survey revealed several memorable fabrications, including:
- Claiming to attend nonexistent schools
- Claiming to be a member of Mensa, an international organization of more than 100,000 members, with exceptionally high IQs
- Claiming to be a member of the Kennedy family
- Claiming to be the CEO of a company, when the candidate was actually an hourly employee
- Claiming to have a history playing professional baseball
Although these lies are memorable, they aren’t the most common. Here’s some of the most common fabrications you’ll find on resumes, to help you uncover the truth – and cut through the lies.
Job Responsibilities…on Steroids
Candidates are pumping up their job responsibilities. They’re claiming they have skills and job responsibilities they simply don’t have. And unfortunately, this problem isn’t new – and it’s wide spread across many industries and positions.
For example, in 2007 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Admissions Dean Marilee Jones resigned after her employer discovered she claimed science credentials and a doctoral degree she didn’t have, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
In 2001, Notre Dame Football coach George O’Leary resigned after admitting he lied about his academic and athletic background, which included claiming he earned a master’s degree from New York University and three varsity football letters from the University of New Hampshire.
The “Phantom” Degree
This example brings us to the “Phantom” degree. It’s the degree that looks good on paper, but doesn’t exist. And, according to the 2006-2007 research study conducted by Career Directors International (CDI), it’s among the most common lies.
Some candidates fear not having a college degree puts them at a disadvantage, so they make one up. However, this is one of the easiest items to check during a background check.
The Date Switch
Modifying employment dates is another common resume lie. But, why are candidates doing it? Usually, it’s to hide information. For example, the applicant might be disguising an employment gap. Or, perhaps they’re attempting to hide being fired from a job. Another possibility is the candidate is covering up job hopping.
Salary White Lies
The salary question. Most employers ask it, but not everyone is getting the truth, reports Forbes Magazine. Some candidates are outright lying about salary history, in hopes of securing a higher compensation package.
Companies are combating this issue by asking for a recent pay stub or even tax returns to establish an accurate salary history when hiring new employees.
Revealing the Truth
It’s hard to say why candidates are padding their resumes. But, the fact is, they’re doing it. That’s probably why 40 percent of human resource professionals surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management are increasing the amount of time spent checking references over the past three years.
And you should too.
If you need help developing a background check process addressing these areas, Cutting Edge Recruiting Solutions (CERS) can help.
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Society for Human Resource Management. Mensa Membership, Kennedy Kinship among Outrageous Resume Lies. Received 11/5/12 from https://www.shrm.org/Publications/HRNews/Pages/OutrageousResumeLies.aspx
Forbes Magazine. Most Common Resume Lies. Retrieved 11/5/12 from https://www.forbes.com/2006/05/20/resume-lies-work_cx_kdt_06work_0523lies.html