Resume Lies: Learn What to Expect and How to Identify Them

Written by NationSearch Information on January 10, 2018

Everyone fibs a little on a job resume. We’ve done it. You’ve done it. The sweet ol’ lady down the street who hands out apples on Halloween has done it. E-v-e-r-y-o-n-e does it.

That being said, fibs are one thing -- flat-out lies are something else entirely. Using flowery descriptions of your previous jobs - where “fetched lunch orders” becomes “coordinated meal recommendations” - might get you an eye roll or two, but it gets serious when you fabricate things like job experience and certain skills needed for a given job.

The Types of Resume Lies You Can Expect to See

Employees always want to look good on a resume and stand out from the crowd. Some lies, however, could prove to be seriously detrimental to the company if the person being hired cannot carry out the functions that he or she has been hired for. Here are the most common lies that you may see:

  • Skills -- We’ll start with perhaps the biggest and most common lie of them all. An initial interview for employment is typically based more than anything on a specific set of skills. If an applicant lies about what he or she is knowledgeable of, it could lead to a big mess at the company: the need to cut ties and start the application process all over again wastes precious time and resources. 

  • Former Employers -- It’s pretty dumb to lie about former employers, since this kind of thing can be checked rather easily, but people still do it. This is a big no-no.

  • Dates of Employment -- If the applicant simply wants you to think that their 11-month employment actually lasted a full year, you may be willing to let it go. But if they’re lying because you have a required length of time in a certain position or industry, it could be a problem.

  • Education -- Many employers don’t care if a person went to Harvard or the University of Denver, but if an applicant lies about their educational background and you find out, you’ll need to decide if you want a liar working for you.

  • Fluency in a Foreign Language --  There’s no rhyme or reason as to why someone would lie about this, but they do. Sure, fluency in a foreign language is an attractive quality for some positions, but it’s pretty darn easy to figure out when someone is lying about it.

How to Identify Resume Lies 

As an employer, it is imperative that you learn how to spot these bigger lies. On paper, it’s typically impossible to figure out what is the truth and what is not, or whether something is more of an embellishment than a flat-out fabrication. In an interview, though, you can look for these telltale signs of untruths:

  • Inability to Answer -- You might be surprised at how often applicants who have lied on their resume don’t remember the lies they’ve told. They may hesitate or not remember certain details.

  • Nervous Body Language -- Even if you’re not an expert at reading a person’s body language, if you tell the applicant that his or her info will be verified, you may even see them physically sweat a little.

  • Social Media Makes It Iffy -- This is something you can actually check before the interview process. Just remember that you can look for certain things like previous employers, but you could run into legal issues if you use their social media posts against them. 

  • Fails Testing -- One of the best ways to prove or disprove knowledge of certain skills is to create a test where the applicant will exercise those skills.

  • Questionable Background -- Some things on a resume may be disproven by a background check. You could always throw the applicant a curveball by asking about their background during the interview to see how they respond, but it pays to have extra safety measures in place.

Would you like to know more about the person you’re considering for a position? The best way to get a quick rundown on a candidate is to run a background check, whether it is criminal or otherwise. The professionals at NationSearch can help, so please be sure to reach out to us today.

800-827-9550

NationSearch

Topics: Background Screening Education, hiring process, hiring mistakes, resume, lying

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