August 10th, 2017 | Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions

Infographic: Stop Lying On Your Resume

What do David Tovar, former VP of corporate communications for Wal-Mart, David Geffen, billionaire entrepreneur, Scott Thompson, former CEO of Yahoo and Marilee Jones, former dean of admissions at MIT have in common? They all admitted to lying about education or work experience on their resume. Some executives get away with their lies and still keep their jobs, while others resigned their positions.

According to SHRM, 78% of job applicants have misleading resumes. Of these, 21% state fraudulent degrees and 40% include inflated salary claims. We created the “Why You Should Stop Lying on Your Resume” Infographic to help recent college graduates to current job hunters put “their best foot forward” when applying for a new job as well as share how background screening checks can spot potential discrepancies on a resume.

Common Resume Lies

A resume is how potential employers get a quick first impression of your qualifications until you meet for an interview. In today’s competitive job market, applicants are searching for ways to better compete with other candidates. One of the most common ways is to give their resume a makeover, often through padding, embellishing, exaggerating, stretching the truth or downright lying. In fact, 53% of résumés and job applications contain falsifications, and 70% of college students surveyed said they would lie on their resume to get the job they wanted.

Job seekers find many ways to exaggerate on their resumes including extending employment dates to cover up being out of work for a long amount of time, removing graduation dates to prevent ageism or even raise grade point averages to look better to the reader. Some common résumé lies found by employers include:

  • Exaggerated job titles and responsibilities
  • Falsification of education credentials
  • Covering up criminal records
  • Inflated salaries
  • Misrepresentation of dates of employment
  • Falsification of professional license
  • Erroneous claims of financial responsibility or asset management
  • Falsely states they are eligible to work in the United States

Background Screening is Important

Sterling surveyed 500+ U.S. based employers regarding their use of employment background checks for our just released, 2017 Background Screening Trends and Best Practices Report.  The surveys represented 33 industries including consulting, educations, healthcare, manufacturing, not-for-profit, staffing and technology with the responses coming from managers, business owners, executives and key company stakeholders. A majority of survey respondents (89%) do currently conduct employment background checks while 11% do not perform these checks. From employment verifications to drug screening to professional license confirmation, employers require different checks for different reasons.

According to our survey, approximately 80% of the respondents said that background checks uncover issues/information that wouldn’t’ have been found otherwise. Employers could choose to not hire a candidate for many reasons, but based on the survey results, the top three resume lies that could cause a business not to hire an applicant are:

  1. Distortion/discrepancy for professional license
  2. Degree/diploma earned
  3. Reason for leaving a previous job

Overall employers are finding employment checks worth their time. As the demand for more information about candidates continues to rise, employers are finding strong value in the content of the results they receive.

Background Screening Exposes the Truth

Background checks expose the truth about candidates, good or bad, and help employers make educated hiring decisions. Below are some of the most common background screening checks:

  • Credit Bureau Checks: Reveals a history of missed payments, bad debt write-offs, collections or fraudulent banking as well as providing insight.
  • Form I-9/E-Verify: Determines whether or not the individual is eligible for employment in the United States.
  • Employment Verification: Authenticates job titles, dates of employment, confirmation of salary, the reason for leaving and eligibility for rehire.
  • Education Verification: Confirms validity and degree type and date of completion directly with the school registrar
  • Professional Credentials: Verifies if the candidate actually holds the designation they claim while also making sure that the job candidate is in good standing with the affiliated regulatory body.
  • Criminal Background Check: Uncovers possible criminal past by running a background check based on residence, employment and educational history.

Lying on a resume will ultimately not get a job candidate ahead; in fact, it could affect them and future jobs for many years to come. Sterling developed the infographic for “Why You Should Stop Lying on Your Resume” to help job hunters realize that putting lies on a resume is not in their best interest and could affect their careers in the long run.

Infographic - Not Lying on Resume cover

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.