Resume Fact or Fiction

More Than a Third of Canadian Workers Know Someone Who Was Dishonest on Resume

Toronto, ON — What’s the truth about lying on resumes? More than one-third of Canadian workers (37 per cent) polled by staffing firm OfficeTeam said they know someone who included false information on a resume. Job experience (66 per cent) and duties (57 per cent) were cited as the areas that are most frequently embellished.

Forty per cent of senior managers suspect candidates often stretch the truth on resumes, and 35 per cent said their company has removed an applicant from consideration for a position after discovering he or she lied.

Workers were asked, “Do you know anyone who misrepresented or exaggerated information on his or her resume?” Their responses:

Yes

37%

No

63%

 

100%

 

Workers who know someone who misrepresented or exaggerated information on his or her resume were also asked, “What type of information did they misrepresent or exaggerate on their resume?” Their responses*:

Job experience

66%

Job duties

57%

Education

41%

Employment dates

24%

*Multiple responses permitted. Top responses shown.

OfficeTeam Lying on Resumes

The research also revealed demographic differences. More male workers (40 per cent) know someone who’s lied on his or her resume than their female counterparts (35 per cent). Thirty-nine per cent of employees ages 18 to 34 can name a person who fibbed on this document, the most of all age groups.

Stretching the truth on a resume, even slightly, may not seem like a big deal at the time, but any misrepresentation puts an applicant’s chances of landing the role at risk,” said Koula Vasilopoulos, a district president for OfficeTeam. “Employers can avoid making costly hiring mistakes by being diligent in verifying workers’ skills and experience. A staffing firm can help identify candidate red flags, and conduct thorough interviews and reference checks.”

OfficeTeam identifies five signs a job seeker may be lying on a resume — and offers tips for confirming details:

  1. Skills have vague descriptions. Using ambiguous phrases like “familiar with” or “involved in” could mean the candidate is trying to cover up a lack of direct experience. To assess a worker’s abilities, conduct skills testing or hire the person on a temporary basis before making a full-time offer.
  2. There are questionable or missing dates. Having large gaps between positions or listing stints by year without months can be red flags. Inquire about the applicant’s employment history during initial discussions and ask references to validate timelines.
  3. You get negative cues during the interview. A lack of eye contact or constant fidgeting may suggest dishonesty, but don’t eliminate a promising candidate by making a judgment based solely on body language. Consider the individual’s responses to your questions and feedback from other staff members who met him or her.
  4. References offer conflicting details. Ask initial contacts about additional people you can speak to about the prospective hire. Also, check if there are connections in your network who can provide insight about the candidate.
  5. Online information doesn’t match. Don’t always take what you find on the internet at face value. There may be multiple professionals with the same name or legal issues with how the information can be used. Verify facts during the interview and reference check processes.

About the Research

The surveys of workers and senior managers were developed by OfficeTeam. They were conducted by independent research firms and include responses from more than 400 Canadian workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments, and more than 300 senior managers at Canadian companies with 20 or more employees.

About OfficeTeam

OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company, is the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has 300 locations worldwide. For additional information, visit roberthalf.ca/officeteam. Follow @RobertHalf_CAN on Twitter and the OfficeTeam Take Note® blog at roberthalf.com/officeteam/blog for career and management advice.

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