#NoLies: The Most Common Lies to Look for on Resumes

As a recruiter you are tasked every day with filing through and looking at resume after resume. Sometimes you may run into that perfect resume for your req. only to find out that they had lied and what they talk about doesn’t match up to what you have in front of you.

In fact, according to Steven Levitt, University of Chicago professor, over 50% of resumes contain lies. On top of that 58 percent of hiring managers have seen “exaggerations or outright fabrications” on resumes, and a third of hiring managers agree that candidates have been lying more often since the Great Recession.

So how can you combat these liars? Know what to look for.

The most common lies and the thing you as a recruiter should pay attention to are:


Say what? Yes, some candidates will lie about their education. If you are looking at a resume that says they went to Harvard and their work experience reads as far up the ladder as a McDonalds Manager, you may want to do some social media investigating before you reach out to them. Many companies will confirm university degrees and technical certifications in their background checks.

Dates of employment 

Candidates more often than not will have a gap in their employment history due to being let go, fired, leaving a company, taking a sabbatical or having a child. Some of those candidates may not want to expose that information and will stretch out the time they worked at a company, shortening their unemployment gap. While excluding months isn’t a lie, tacking on additional months or years’ employment to their resume is a big lie that can be easily caught by a basic reference check.

Job title

Dear candidates: Don’t embellish to give yourself fancy titles. This lie can be easily caught by a reference check – companies can and will give official titles as part of the reference process.

Criminal records

Remember that drunken night in college? We don’t but some people have to and may choose not to disclose their criminal backgrounds. Criminal background checks will uncover felonies or misdemeanors. An increasing number of companies are using outside companies to do criminal background checks, even for non-financial jobs. It doesn’t hurt for you to just straight up ask if the candidate has anything they want to share before moving them along in the hiring process.

Inflated salary  

Need a raise? Some may candidates may lie about their current salary to ensure a higher offer presented in the offer. Salary inflation can be caught by a thorough reference check and, if caught, this candidate may not be the right fit.

Professional license

Looking for a Nurse Practioner with a certain license? But then you find out your nurse candidate is still in nursing school? As a recruiter you can confirm your candidates are licensed with the appropriate state agency as a part of their background checks.

You may know what to look for in resumes that signal a red flag, but it’s important to stay on your toes and not waste your time on unqualified and dishonest candidates.

Happy Hunting!



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