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The Most Common Resume Lies
By: Tylee Bush Oct, 3 2017

The Most Common Resume Lies

The hiring process is two-fold: discovering the best candidates and identifying the dishonest ones. 

A recent study showed that nearly half of respondents know someone who has lied on a resume. 

Other recent studies say that 85% of hiring managers found lies on job applications and/or resumes.

As an HR professional, you should be able to spot these lies and catch the following common fabrications:


Suspicious dates

A gap in employment should be the first red flag. Not all gaps are bad, some are justified (i.e. taking time off to be a mom or dad, taking a sabbatical, traveling, etc.), but make sure that when you see a gap you ask for the reason behind it and what the candidate did with that time. 

Ways to spot a time gap include date blocks that only show the year (2016, 2017, etc.) but don’t list the starting or ending months.


Experience embellishment

Studies show that 55% of people exaggerate job duties, and 76% have embellished job experiences. Candidates will even rephrase job titles in order to make them sound more relevant or applicable to the job position they are seeking. 

Keep an eye out for vague descriptions of skills, and don’t hesitate to ask candidates for examples, specific accomplishments or projects that they’ve been a part of in the past, to see if they are actually as qualified as their resume says they are.


Vague degree details

It’s not unheard of for a candidate to put a big name school on their resume that they never even attended, but the lie that is far more common is putting down a degree they never actually earned or fell short of completing. Look for degree names that are incomplete, such as ‘bachelors degree’ instead of bachelor of science (BS) or bachelor of the arts (BA).

It’s not a bad idea to double check that all degree specs were accomplished. Ask the candidate specifics about their educational experience, courses they took, their capstone class, or what they felt like at graduation.


When in doubt, ask questions and request specifics. If it’s the right candidate and their information is valid, they’ll answer everything confidently and sincerely. 

Contact us at Priority HR for help interpreting applications, filtering through resumes, and selecting the best candidate for your company.

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