5 Common Lies to Look For When Reviewing Resumes

Dating profiles and resumes: what do they have in common? Hopeful searching and misinformation. We’re going to focus on the second one, helping you root out the most common lies that candidates put on their resumes.

These fibs are more common than you might think. One study found that more than three-quarters of resumes (78%) are misleading in some way. That’s a lot of exaggerations and half-truths that you have need to wade through to find the ideal candidate.

A little spin should be expected on a resume. Typically, these come with little harm. But many applicants take it to an unacceptable level, trafficking in actual deception.

Your job is to flag these potential lies before you waste too much time on an unworthy candidate. To help you identify these whoppers, here are five common fabrications that make their way onto resumes:

Inflated Job Titles

This is one of the most common fibs you’ll find on a resume. A survey of hiring managers found that more than half of them (54%) have encountered applicants who have exaggerated their duties in a job title or job description. And those are just the ones who got caught.

As red flags go, this one shouldn’t be deadly. You can expect candidates to put themselves in the best light. However, you should stay skeptical about any resume claims. Be ready to interrogate the exact job duties during the interview.

Participation Trophies

Resumes are a great place to attach yourself to general success. Cleaning the toilets at Google can become “managed sanitary procedures and environmental upgrades that facilitated the development of high-tech innovation.” Just because someone was on a team with great accomplishments doesn’t make them an accomplished professional.

Watch out for resumes that focus too much on team success and obscure individual contributions. Yes, you want a team-focused employee. But they shouldn’t be strictly riding others’ coattails on their resume.

It Wasn’t Me; It Was Them

No one likes to admit they were fired. Your job candidate might have trouble fessing up to an unwanted departure. They might not even tell the full story to their closest friends and families — what’s the chance they’ll want to give a detailed account on a job application?

As a result, you need to stay wary of explanations for why a previous job ended. You’re likely hearing the most upbeat version of the experience. You might not pick up on these on a resume, but red flags might appear in other parts of the application or in the candidate’s cover letter.

Salary Inflation

Often, candidates will give an upgraded version of their most recent salary. The hope is that you’ll feel obligated to target that level.

For your part, it doesn’t really matter what a job candidate made in a previous position. If you’ve done your research, you should know the market value for the role you’re trying to fill. Use this as a baseline and judge a candidate based on their provable experience and skill level.

Complete Fabrications

Most of the fibs we’ve talked about so far generally take the form of exaggerations or obfuscations. Most job seekers start with the truth and then embellish. Usually, this is relatively harmless. Sometimes, it goes too far.

But now, we’re going to dive into a completely separate category: complete fabrications. The resume is studded with pure lies — total fiction. Fake degrees. Bogus credentials. Made up jobs.

Counteract these by applying common sense and looking for independent verification. If a resume seems too good to be true, then, well — that might be the case. Don’t toss it outright but look for ways to double-check the information. You can use:

  • References
  • Social media history
  • Contacts at colleges or companies
  • Others within your organization

Hunting through resumes for the best candidates can be costly and time-consuming. It helps to have professional assistance. A top recruiter, like SmartTalent, will deliver the best applicants for your open positions.

Contact SmartTalent today to upgrade your recruiting process.banner

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