The risk of a little white lie on your résumé

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The fact is out: A 2020 ResumeLab research exhibits that a majority of job seekers fudge a element or two on their résumés. Thirty-six p.c of these surveyed confess to outright mendacity, and nonetheless others admitted to stretching the reality, bringing the grand whole of résumé fraudsters to 56%.

If you’re a recruiter or hiring supervisor chances are you’ll nicely have seen a résumé that has this contact of “creativity.” The truth is, a full 93% of folks surveyed on this similar research mentioned they knew somebody who had lied on their résumé.

Let’s take a look at what constitutes a lie, why folks do it, and what the implications are in the event you’re caught.



There are a number of widespread methods job candidates “improve” their résumés, satisfied such statements will enhance their probabilities of touchdown the job.

The commonest lies are in work expertise. Which may imply taking full credit score for a venture others labored on or overstating gross sales figures. Alternatively, candidates usually declare abilities they don’t have, akin to language proficiency, or they misrepresent job tasks.

One other type of white lie is actually that: Utilizing white fonts within the clean areas of the résumé. This technique is designed to idiot the Applicant Monitoring System (ATS) and get you past the software program that 90% of corporations use.  The white font presents key phrases and inflated credentials that the job seeker assumes solely the software program can learn.


These lapses happen for a number of causes. For one, the market has change into far more aggressive. The commonest clarification given for mendacity is that the candidate “was unemployed for a lengthy interval of time.” With the job market so aggressive, candidates could really feel they don’t have a probability on the brass ring until their submission has every little thing the hiring firm is on the lookout for.

A second purpose for mendacity is that the ATS appears to be like for particular phrases from every job seeker, and in the event you don’t have these phrases in your job historical past, nicely, make them up on your résumé. So candidates attempt to beat the bot at its personal sport. They throw in key phrases even when they’re not fairly true.


Third, many candidates really feel the job search course of has change into so impersonal that they lack any reference to the employer. Many corporations don’t even acknowledge functions, distancing the candidate and making that particular person extra comfy with mendacity.

Lastly, in all places a candidate turns, there are phrases, phrases, and full résumés which might be there for the taking. The web affords up pattern résumés, job descriptions, and language to make use of. Profession consultants and résumé writers could be employed to create a killer résumé. For some, the genuine voice of the applicant and incentive to inform the reality disappears.

All this doesn’t excuse the mendacity, of course, but it surely does clarify why it has change into so pervasive.


There’s a good probability you received’t get caught. In keeping with the ResumeLab research, solely 31% of résumé cheaters are caught, and of these simply 65% usually are not employed, or they’re fired as soon as the employer finds they’ve employed a cheater. Meaning solely 21% of individuals who lied on a résumé really lose out on a job.

But when a candidate is caught at this stage or later, she or he can kiss future job prospects at that firm goodbye. The ATS identifies that particular person as a “do not hire.” Even when the job seeker will get by that first spherical, there are lots of extra steps to touchdown the job, and the scrutiny solely will get tighter.

Some candidates are came upon by recruiters who learn the “hidden” white fonts on a résumé. All it takes is a recruiter deciding on all and changing the font to black. The secret will likely be out.

Others who stretch the reality are caught by recruiters or hiring managers who search the candidate’s social media websites and discover discrepancies. So make sure that your social media profile traces up with your résumé profile, and that every little thing is truthful.

Dishonest will also be found throughout interviews. I do know one search government who interviewed a candidate for a high finance job. The candidate had put down on his résumé that he had “taken the corporate public, and created $75 million in worth.” The recruiter requested: “And what was your chief monetary officer’s position in all this?” The interviewee was speechless, as a result of on his résumé he had outlined his position as one a CFO would have been liable for. He was not employed.

Lastly, white lies could be came upon when corporations rent impartial corporations to do background checks on new hires. I spoke to Jared Rosenthal, founder and CEO of StaffGlass, a recruiting and hiring platform that gives, amongst different issues, résumé verification companies. In keeping with Rosenthal, its software program allows corporations to overview the résumés of job candidates and test for accuracy something on the résumé, “together with employment historical past, job titles, certifications, training, and references.”

Rosenthal explains that such fact-checking not solely assures corporations of hiring staff who could be trusted, but it surely allows them to keep away from lawsuits which may happen in the event that they had been to rent those that can’t be trusted. “Enterprise begins with fact,” says Rosenthal. “Fact in information and fact in relationships.”