By Bruce Powell, Founder & Executive Recruiter

Candidates continue to lie on their resumes. In fact, hiring managers and recruiters are seeing an increase in the number of lies they encounter, according to a recent survey from HireRight.

“Five years ago, 70% of recruiters, HR staff, and hiring managers reported they had caught a misrepresentation of some kind on an applicant’s resume. In the most recent poll, 88% had,” says Anne Fisher on Fortune.

And this is only factoring in the lies that were caught. There are undoubtedly many more lies that simply go undetected.

Why Are So Many People Lying on Their Resumes?

resume lie

While the obvious answer is that candidates want to get a leg up on competitors and present themselves as the star candidates companies are looking for, there are some other less obvious reasons why people are stretching the truth.

According to Mary O’Loughlin, HireRight’s Vice President of Global Customer Experience, more people are inflating claims on their resume because:

  • As baby boomers retire, less experienced professionals are vying for senior positions – and many overstate their experience to get considered
  • People who have been laid off or have employment gaps fill them in with false information
  • People assume that employers won’t follow up on everything that is listed on their resume, just with their references


Which Lies Are Most Serious?


According to a survey by Hloom, here are the most serious things that candidates could lie about on their resumes – the things that will almost immediately take you out of the running for a position:

  • The college/university they graduated from
  • Fluency in another language
  • Degree
  • College major
  • GPA
  • Work and employment history


They also took a look at what many would consider to be white lies – things hiring managers would possibly overlook:

  • Communication skills
  • Job duties
  • Presentation skills
  • Research skills
  • References
  • Salary


Lying about these soft skills and less important information seems to be taken more lightly, but it doesn’t mean it will be overlooked.

If you get caught in a lie, you can almost guarantee the opportunity is lost. Hiring managers and recruiters care more about the truth and honest candidates, than those who may have something they need to explain on their resume.

More blog posts from our recruiters about resumes and lying:

Are You Committing These HUGE Resume Faux Pas?

Can I Lie Myself Into a Higher Salary? (video)

6 Ways to Detect Interview Liars & Avoid a Bad Hiring Decision


IQ PARTNERS is an Executive Search & Recruitment firm in Toronto. We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. We have specialist teams of recruiters in Financial Services & Insurance, Marketing Communications & Media, Emerging Tech & Telecom, Consumer Goods & Retail, B2B & Industrial, Technology, Accounting & Finance, HR & Operations and Mining & Engineering. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.

Bruce Powell Executive Search

Bruce Powell

Bruce co-founded IQ PARTNERS in 2001 and currently operates as Managing Partner. His personal background includes hands-on management experience in sales, marketing and marketing services. He has built management teams for a wide variety of marketing, communications, media and technology companies. He has also participated in several M&A transactions for service-based companies and is frequently called upon as a resource in the planning and negotiation of such deals.

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