Résumé Lies and How to Spot Them

As a recruiter or hiring manager, you’ve probably come across countless mistakes on résumés and maybe even some flat-out lies! You may think you’ve seen it all, but in case you haven’t, we’ve got you covered.resume
As part of its annual hiring survey, CareerBuilder generally asks respondents to report on the most unusual things they’ve experienced in interviews or saw on résumés and even just everyday work/life abnormalities. Here is a brief recap of some of the most outrageous lies HR managers have seen on résumés, including:

  • An applicant claimed to have written computer code the hiring manager had actually written. Both had the same previous job, but the applicant did not know that fact.
  • An applicant included a picture with all of his pets.
  • An applicant said he worked for Microsoft but had no idea who Bill Gates was.
  • An applicant’s résumé was lifted from the Internet and did not match the cover letter.
  • An applicant said he studied under Nietzsche.
  • An applicant stated that he had tried and failed a certification exam three times but was planning to try again.
  • An applicant claimed to be an antiterrorist spy for the CIA at the same time period he was in elementary school.
  • An applicant falsely claimed to have a Project Management Institute (PMI) credential when applying for a job at PMI (the organization that grants that credential).
  • An applicant included a description about his family.
  • An applicant mentioned that his hobby was to watch horror movies.

If you think you may have received a fraudulent résumé, OfficeTeam has uncovered five ways for confirming that the information a candidate has provided is accurate.

  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.

What were some of the most blatant lies you’ve seen in résumés? Or do you have any unique ways to spot lies that weren’t covered by OfficeTeam? If so, share them in our comments section below!