Survey: One-Third of Americans Lie on Their Resumes

As 65 percent of U.S. workers seek new employment, according to the latest PwC US Pulse Survey, employers should be mindful of resumes coming in. The reason? Because 1 in 3 Americans admit to lying on them, per a recent survey.

The main reason for lying was wanting to improve their chances of getting hired (72 percent), lacking the necessary qualifications for the job they wanted (44 percent), and covering up being fired or parting on bad terms from a previous employer (41 percent).

In addition, the survey found that 80 percent of those who lied on their resumes were hired by the employers to whom they lied, but different outcomes occurred after they received the job offer.

  • 41 percent had the job offer rescinded once their new employer discovered it;
  • 18 percent started their positions but were fired when caught;
  • 12 percent were caught and reprimanded, but allowed to continue working; and
  • 29 percent faced no consequences.

These days, there are several ways hiring managers can vet resumes — and those who don’t should consider adding one or more such methods to their hiring practices.

“Many employers use internal or external services to verify education, job experience or other certifications,” ResumeBuilder Career Expert Stacie Haller said in the survey. “Behavioral interviewing can also detect falsehoods or exaggerations by asking candidates very specific, detailed questions to verify the information they provided. And then there is the backdoor reference, where someone may be asked about you through your own network, without you ever even knowing about it. Lies may be uncovered that way as well.”

In addition to asking probing interview questions and checking references, consider having the candidate take a skills test or prove their skills and abilities through a “try-out.” If you use a skills test or a try-out, ensure that the test is tailored to the specific job duties and that any try-out is used to evaluate the applicant’s general skills — not to train on your specific equipment or policies, in which case, the time may be compensable.  

Jessica Mulholland, Managing Editor, CalChamber

CalChamber members can find more information about applications, including sample job applications, in Application for Employment in the HR Library. Not a member? See what CalChamber can do for you.

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