Lies, Fibs, and Embellishments: How To Identify Deception In ResumesPosted by On

Lies, Fibs, and Embellishments: How To Identify Deception In Resumes

People lie on their resumes. It isn’t that surprising that some people tell a few white lies on their resumes. What is surprising is the frequency of the issue. Senior Editor, Charles Purdy writes that 34 percent of applicants lie on their resumes. The problem seems to be on the rise since the recession, with 58 percent of recruiters surveyed reporting that they have identified deception on resumes.

Other research indicates that younger, less experienced applicants lie most often. There are many reasons why people lie on their resume. Most are trying to fill in employment gaps or make their previous roles sound more impressive. Others make more bold and serious lies by fabricating details about their education or positions they have held.

Lies, Fibs, and Embellishments: How To Identify Deception In Resumes

As a recruiter, it is your job to identify deception and provide the company you work for with high quality, trustworthy applicants. Fortunately, it is becoming more simple to identify deception using online resources and a keen eye. So, how can you tell who is lying from an honest candidate? Read on for some tips to help you weed out the cheaters.


This seems pretty straightforward, but people who lie tend to be inconsistent. First, use tools already at your disposal to investigate basic information. You may find discrepancies between social media accounts or find that the university they claim to have a degree from does not list the applicant in commencement notifications.

Compare Social Media Accounts

LinkedIn is a professional-based social media website. Verify the information on the candidate’s LinkedIn profile and their professional website with more personal social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. If you notice discrepancies, they should throw up a red flag.


Interview candidates as quickly as possible, face-to-face. People have more difficulty telling lies when they are telling them to someone in-person. It is much easier for fibbers to lie on paper. If an applicant avoids an interview, it is wise to note that they may have been deceptive on their resume.

Ask Candidates for Proof

There is nothing wrong with asking a candidate for proof of their credentials, such as proof of employment history or their education. If they cannot provide proof, dig a bit deeper into their background. If they lied about either of these, it will be easy to verify by contacting their university and previous employers.

Put Their Skills to the Test

If they claim to have experience with a specific computer program, create a test for them to complete using that program. Another way to test knowledge is to present the applicant with a possible, real-world scenario that may occur on the job and ask them how they would go about resolving the problem. If they fail, you will know that their skills are lacking.

Trust Your Gut

If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. If a twenty-something applicant lists accomplishments that are often not achieved until decades in a specific industry, you have a good reason to question it. When a candidate feels “off” or sets off other red flags, it is important for the recruiter to dig deeper.

You may find that business references are actually the applicant’s friends doing the applicant a personal favor or you may find that the university on his or her resume has never heard of your candidate. There’s a lot of people who plagiarized their research papers in University, so plagiarizing their resume wouldn’t be strange at all. A little digging can unveil many deceptions on a resume, or if you are lucky, that the candidate is honest and actually as qualified for the position as his or her resume implies.

Recruiters Are An Employers Greatest Defense

As an HR professional, companies rely on you to do your job effectively and protect them from candidates who can, not only cost the company money but damage its reputation. It is important that you stay on your toes. When reviewing resumes, keep in mind that nearly one-third contain falsified or exaggerated information. Verify the facts to identify the perfect candidate


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