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4 most common resume lies, and how you will get caught

Are you this person? Image: Getty
Are you this person? Image: Getty

When it comes to resumes, job-seekers are often told to put their best foot forward. But there’s a difference between highlighting positive traits, and downright lying.

But recruiters do come across resume and resume fibs, the managing director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand, Nick Deligiannis told Yahoo Finance.

Although it doesn’t happen a lot, the lies are generally easy to spot, he added.

Lie #1: Salary

“When we see it [the lie], it’s most commonly in relation to the salary they say they are currently receiving,” Deligiannis said.

“For example, a candidate might add between two to five thousand dollars in the hopes of receiving a bigger salary increase when they change jobs. But recruiters are aware of current market rates so this rarely has an impact on the salary offer they ultimately receive.”

Lie #2: Qualifications and experience

Although very rare, Deligiannia said there have been a few instances where Hays has seen furphies about skills, experience and qualifications.


“[People] may also occasionally embellish their experience, such as by saying that they held a higher level of responsibility for a particular task than what they actually did – again this is dangerous because we do thorough reference checks with former employees,” he said.

Lie #3: Overstating the role in a project

This is a dangerous move for jobseekers as they’ll likely be asked to describe their specific contribution and outcomes of the project in an interview.

Lie #4: Can you actually speak another language?

According to a survey of 460 general hiring managers by Robert Half Australia, jobseekers may also lie about their language skills.

Worth the risk?

Not really, Deligiannis said.

“There have been a few rare instances where we have caught people out, and one untruth revealed casts doubt on everything else the candidate says,” he explained.

“We have a thorough screening process in place to check a candidate’s background prior to putting them forward for roles,” he explained. “This is essential because organisations need to employ the most suitable candidate, capable of performing the duties and responsibilities of the role.”

Recruiters check factual information around the candidate’s position and period of employment, but also seek examples to confirm technical skills, information on whether candidates really are as enthusiastic and conscientious as they claim and ask behavioural questions to determine if the candidate has the required competencies.

“We do not rely on written references - I’ve never seen a bad one! And all reference checks are completed verbally.

“Depending on the role we are recruiting for, we may also perform criminal history checks, bankruptcy and limited credit checks and eligibility to work in Australia.”

Discrepancies between professional profiles like LinkedIn and resumes also throw up red flags that can be extremely detrimental.

In fact, according to the Robert Half survey, 68 per cent of Australian general hiring managers have removed a candidate from the pool after discovering false information on their resume.

“While a jobseeker might not always have the implicit intention to deceive prospective employers, bending the truth on a resume, or in a job interview is a dangerous path to take,” director of Robert Half Australia, Nicole Gorton said.

“Even minor embellishments have consequences that can come back to haunt professionals throughout their career.

“If they’re successful in securing the job, and get caught later, it will most likely result in termination, damage the candidate’s reputation, and eliminate the option of obtaining a positive reference for future employment.”

The lesson? Honesty is the best policy.

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