It might not surprise you that according to some research that more than 80% of us will lie on our resume to boost our chances of finding a job. Some of the lies we tell are small; in fact most people will embellish work experience a little or make the job they are (or were) doing sound better than it actually was. Others will invent jobs and employers while some will even fabricate qualifications – yes, qualifications. In recent years there have been highly placed executives who have been caught out telling lies, with some even claiming to have master’s degrees and even doctorates.
In 2014 CareerBuilder’s research exposed the fact that 58% of hiring managers had caught a lie on a resume (with 2,188 hiring managers surveyed) and according to employers the most common were:
Embellished skill set – 57 percent
Embellished responsibilities – 55 percent
Dates of employment – 42 percent
Job title – 34 percent
Academic degree – 33 percent
Companies worked for – 26 percent
Accolades/awards – 18 percent
When it came to the most memorable lies we human beings are nothing more than a creative lot:
Applicant included job experience that was actually his father’s. Both father and son had the same name (one was Sr., one was Jr.).
Applicant claimed to be the assistant to the prime minister of a foreign country that doesn’t have a prime minister.
Applicant claimed to have been a high school basketball free throw champion. He admitted it was a lie in the interview.
Applicant claimed to have been an Olympic medallist.
Applicant claimed to have been a construction supervisor. The interviewer learned the bulk of his experience was in the completion of a doghouse some years prior.
Applicant claimed to have 25 years of experience at age 32.
Applicant claimed to have worked for 20 years as the babysitter of known celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Madonna, etc.
Applicant listed three jobs over the past several years. Upon contacting the employers, the interviewer learned that the applicant had worked at one for two days, another for one day, and not at all for the third.
Applicant applied to a position with a company who had just terminated him. He listed the company under previous employment and indicated on his resume that he had quit.
Applicant applied twice for the same position and provided different work history on each application.
And when it came to the sectors where liars were alive and well? Take a look:
Financial Services – 73 percent
Leisure and Hospitality – 71 percent
Information Technology – 63 percent
Health Care (More than 50 employees) – 63 percent
Retail – 59 percent
“Trust is very important in professional relationships, and by lying on your resume, you breach that trust from the very outset,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “If you want to enhance your resume, it’s better to focus on playing up tangible examples from your actual experience. Your resume doesn’t necessarily have to be the perfect fit for an organization, but it needs to be relevant and accurate.”
“When we hired someone into a key management role we thought we had checked what we could. It turned out we should have checked his qualifications with his institution because that would have immediately raised some red flags. As a small business we just didn’t have the time to do the things a big company would have. In the end the big lie was he told us he had cancer, we bought into it and became so bogged down in what we believed was a big sad event. It turns out that it was just another lie in an attempt to cover up the earlier ones. It took hundreds of hours and weeks away from focussing on the business before we realised what was really going on and I lament if we had have only checked the qualifications at the very beginning we would never have hired him based on that first lie.” Said Austin Kim, COO of the Sustain Group.
So there we have it – but the truth is while candidates and jobseekers do like a little story telling the impact on a business if you do take someone on board without checking what they have said is accurate could be devastating. The message? Always, always check the facts.
First published at www.entrehub.org
About the author: Matthew Tukaki co-host of Talking Lifestyle: Second Career across the 2UE Radio Network, is Chairman of the global entrepreneurs movement, the EntreHub and Chairman of the global news distribution business, NewsNow. Matthew is formerly the head of one of the oldest and largest recruitment companies in the world, Drake, and is Chairman of Australia’s National Coalition for Suicide Prevention.
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