Liar, Liar…. Resume Fibs Are On The Rise

September 16, 2014  |  

Admit it, you’ve done it at least once in your career–fudging your resume, even just a bit. Well, you are not alone. Resume lies are on the increase. And some of the lies are extreme.

One man used his father’s experience on his resume (they share the same name, though one is senior and the other junior). People tell lies about everything from their technical skills to even the number of years of experience they have.

A recent survey of more than 2,000 hiring managers in a recent survey by, found that 58 percent said they had seen exaggerations or just plain lies on resumes. One in three (33 percent) said resume lying has grown since the recession. And there are some industries that see more resume lies than others. At the top is financial services (73 percent), followed by leisure and hospitality (71 percent). Information technology and health care, both at 63 percent, tied for third place.

When it comes to titles, nearly 34 percent of the hiring managers in the poll said they’d seen made-up or exaggerated titles.

Surprisingly, the higher one goes in their career, the more likely they are to lie. Resume fibbing is common among candidates for senior management jobs, even though they have more to lose if their lies are discovered.

“At the executive level, someone is usually interviewed by a series of people, who all talk to each other after they meet you about how dynamic and wonderful you are,” explains Jay Meschke, president of recruiters and HR consultants CBIZ Human Capital Services. “By the time you get to the fourth or fifth interviewer, often that person is already convinced they want you. Meanwhile, no one has really read your resume very carefully. Or at all.”

This is why many take the chance and lie; they don’t think anyone will check. Most hiring managers don’t take the time it seems. Last December, only 33 percent of hiring managers told CareerBuilder they spent “more than two minutes” reading each resume. This year, it has increased to 42 percent.

But says Meschke, it is relatively easy to spot resume embellishments. Check to see it the resume matches the person’s LinkedIn profile. Also do an in-depth Google search. Meschke’s team recently investigated a candidate for a COO post and found “serious discrepancies 10 or 15 pages in,” he told Fortune.

“The main thing is to take the time to investigate,” adds Meschke. While a candidate who has exaggerated her credentials may be capable “but it boils down to credibility. If they’re going to lie on a resume, what will they do on the job?”

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