Tall Tales from the Hiring Process: Employers Spot Résumé Lies

Résumé fraud complicates the hiring process.

The available labor pool is tightening, and you may be eager to fill empty or new positions at your business. But, this eagerness shouldn’t cause you to rush the recruitment process. According to a report from Career Builder, three-quarters of hiring managers have caught job seekers lying on their résumés. In fact, some résumés lacked any believability.

The hiring process can be long and frustrating – reading résumés, checking references and interviewing candidates requires significant time and effort. Applicant deception or résumé padding during the hiring process only complicates the process.

Given that nearly one in four hiring managers said that they spend less than 30 seconds reviewing a résumé – and nearly 40 percent spend less than a minute – spotting résumé fraud is critical to the hiring process.

Can this Be True?

Hiring managers shared some notable résumé examples that either seemed far-fetched or were instant deal breakers:

  • An applicant listed 40 different jobs in one year.
  • An applicant applied for a job for which they were vastly unqualified (e.g. grocery store shelf-stocker applying for a physician position).
  • An applicant referred to having “as many marriages as jobs.”
  • An applicant stated at the bottom of their résumé that they do not like babies or puppies.
  • An applicant had the same employment dates for every job listed.

Mind Your P’s and Q’s

An implausible résumé isn’t the only problem. Three out of four employers said that typos or bad grammar landed a résumé in the “no hire” pile, as well as other unprofessional mistakes. For instance, one employer complained that an applicant’s résumé had a different font type for every sentence. Another applicant’s résumé was only one sentence.

The seven most common résumé mistakes that are instant deal breakers are:

  • Typos or bad grammar: 77 percent
  • Unprofessional email address: 35 percent
  • Résumé without quantifiable results: 34 percent
  • Résumé with long paragraphs of text: 25 percent
  • Résumé is generic, not customized to company: 18 percent
  • Résumé is more than two pages: 17 percent
  • No cover letter with résumé: 10 percent

Gail Cecchettini Whaley, CalChamber Senior Employment Law Counsel

CalChamber members can read more about recruiting and hiring in the Recruiting section in the HR Library. Not a member? See how CalChamber can help you.

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