Lies on resumes are on the rise!

by K B , updated on October 3, 2010

I seem to be on a theme this week about dishonesty in interviews. Then this popped up in my inbox from Recruiter Daily. A background screening company, First Advantage found that the number of candidates lying on their resumes is on the rise.

They claim resume fraud has increased significantly over the past few years.

Recruiter Daily reports:

“Misrepresentations about candidates’ employment history and educational qualifications have doubled since 2004. Some 40 per cent of employment history checks uncovered an inconsistency, most commonly relating to an inflated salary (13%) or a previous position held (10%). And one in every 18 applicants inflated their previous salary by more than $10,000.

First Advantage research shows that younger applicants (aged 21-30) are the most likely to falsify something on their CV, with the risk trending down for older applicants.

Banking and finance applicants are most likely to be caught out, but this possibly reflects the more comprehensive screening conducted by employers in these industries.

HR professionals are least likely to include false details on their applications.”

(Interesting that HR professionals are the least likely to include false details. Perhaps they know about the consequences of resume fabrications.)

So what does this all mean for the average job seeker?

Whatever you say on your resume or in interview, a recruiter can check out. Many recruiters will ask that they speak to at least one of your direct managers for a reference. They will also question your salary details. One head-hunter friend I know asks to see a copy of someone’s last pay review.

I’m often asked the question “what should I say if the recruiter asks me what salary I’m earning?” People want to know if they should inflate their current salary so they can ask for a higher salary. Apart from the honesty factor, I don’t really see the point. You just make it clear what you would move for, and if you need to, why you can justify that amount.

Be warned also. I’ve also seen quite a few employment contracts where someone’s continued employment is contingent on the applicant representing themselves honestly throughout the recruitment process.


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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

InterviewIQ October 4, 2010 at 5:56 am

[New Post] Lies on resumes are on the rise! – via #twitoaster

AlexandreMaxime October 4, 2010 at 6:45 am

RT @InterviewIQ: #interviews #jobsearch Lies on resumes are on the rise

GarwenEducation October 4, 2010 at 7:30 am

RT @InterviewIQ: #interviews #jobsearch Lies on resumes are on the rise

jcascone October 4, 2010 at 11:14 am

RT @InterviewIQ: #interviews #jobsearch Lies on resumes are on the rise

InterviewIQ October 4, 2010 at 6:08 am

#interviews #jobsearch Lies on resumes are on the rise

Donna Svei aka AvidCareerist October 4, 2010 at 8:32 am

Hi Karalyn,

Resumes are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive and what they conceal is vital (repurposed from Aaron Levinson).

Recruiters and hiring managers know this.


karalyn October 4, 2010 at 1:24 pm

What a great analogy, which reminds me, Summer is coming. Must go for a run!

Maruti October 4, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Hello Karalyn,
Wow, great article and observations. Now, I am unable to recollect anyone who is being honest on his/her resume except me!! 😉
Though, I must confess, I have just started lying about my salary – I state it less than what I actually get currently to avoid forthright rejections.

I second Karalyn, superb analogy Donna!

Karalyn October 4, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Thanks Maruti,

Interesting that you talk down the salary, are you applying for a job outside your field? Or worried about scaring people off?


ron October 9, 2010 at 7:41 am

Seriously I have been too honest with my resume and end up having no interviews at all in the past 5 years since I graduate from the university. I have good qualification and potential to be a good employee,but lack of experience had rule me out from any industries,especially banking and finance industries.While I notice a particular ethnicity group of people always lie on resume and get very decent job,it looks too stupid for me to tell people the fact,either company will screen your resume out straight away and your resume will not be read by anyone,or they will just laugh it off at your resume.So no matter how good you are,you will never be able to get a job.Lying,at least land you interviews at times which is better than being hopeless stay at home everyday.I am not whinging here,it is just something happening in this country.I know for those companies or people who reject me, I know it is just their loss.If any employers or recruitment agents are reading this blog and are looking for a good employees for free,I am willing to be a volunteer.I am sure I will be able to add value to your company.

karalyn October 9, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Hi Ron,
I am really sorry that this is happening to you. I seriously don’t think you should offer your services for free. I’m sure you have a lot more to offer that what the feedback is telling you. Why don’t you send your resume to me and I will have a good look over it and give you some suggestions to improve it and perhaps jobs you should target.

ron October 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Honestly,after 5 years failure of job seeking after university,I understand the job market very well and I know the chance of getting a job in the finance industry is zero,the best chance I can have is in the public sector,however,there are not many vacacies in the government and still competition is too strong and it will be impossible to stand out.I have already tried nearly all possible ways in all industries but result is still the same.
Seriously,the thing which I think is most important in job seeking is attitude which a lot of employees lack,ask how many people go to work and just wait 5 o clock and leave,how many people are really commit to what they have done or they just come and get paid,that is.Employers only care about experience or resume,I am sure the job agents do not care or cannot see the working attitude of someone,because even the job agents may be the kind of people who are not really commit to what they have done. Most of the skills or knowledge in most of the roles can be gained from training when times go by,it depends on how fast someone can learn,however,as a job agent,who is going to care about someone ability to learn,what is more important is to place a candidate as soon as possible so that they can get their bonus,how can they send an unexperienced person to company for interview while he/she cleary does not meet the requiremnt.Indeed most of the time,it won;t happen as the resume will go to the trash straight away.
Again,i do not want to look like to be complaining too much on the reality. But if someone had experienced what I have,you will understand.I know too many who lie on resume and get decent jobs,they do not even have the requires skills, not especially well spoken nor having good qualification.So am i complaining ??Or is there something wrong in the job market???

karalyn October 9, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Hi Ron,

I can hear all of the frustration you are experiencing here. I am sorry this has been painful for you. There are always a number of things getting in the way when people struggle to find a job. Some relate to you. Some to the employer. Some to the way hiring systems are set up. Some to the employment market and some to the way you are looking for a job. If you would like to send me a direct email or give me a call so we can work out what’s going on, my contact details are on this site.


ron October 11, 2010 at 8:20 am

Actually,I have paid a lot of so called professional resume writers in the past to embellish my resume,they said like they can guarantee me to have job interviews after fixing the resume,and tried to convince me by telling me lots of their successful stories ,this and that…..etc…At the end,nothing much really changed but just giving out lots of money and seeing my hope fading out . When I asked them again about what they promised before,they said like I am sorry to hear that but job market is not good at the moment,it happens to people in all industries and told me to go back to the retail which I have experience in.
So what do you normally do in helping people in writing resume which make you so different from those so called ‘professional writier’. For some of the writers, I had given them thousands or so,I knew they might not be able to help me,but you know people will try different ways in hopeless situation and hope to turn around.The fact will be unchanged forever,if someone had no professional experience,he/she will never be able to to get a job in the professional areas.I think job agents undertstand this point very well.
Anyway,I do not see how much you will charge for the resume writing service,can you tell everyone about that here???

Karalyn Brown October 11, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Hi Ron,

If you have paid thousands of dollars for a resume, then spending any more would be crazy. I would say that there is only so much a good resume will do for you. My prices depend on your experience, however for a graduate I start at $200. I would strongly suggest that you don’t pay any more money for a resume, though, through me or anyone else, and have a think about what I said in my previous comment. There are a lot of ways people find jobs without experience. But often it requires a lot more effort than putting a resume in and responding to an advertisement. It also requires some self awareness as well about areas you may need to work on, and a willingness to do so.

I will post up a few examples of the work some people have done to find their first job in the next week.


John Sessions December 22, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Hi Karalyn
It is a fact of life that employers carry out so many background checks on employees to see if they have lied. Let us look at it from an employee perspective, employers also lie about the job and sometimes it doesn’t measure up to what you have been sold. This can really have an averse effect on the new employee forcing them to resign and having that sinking feeling. This has happened to me and I have struggled to find another opportunity due to me suffering form depression and not having the appetite to find another job, it has now been 6 months and I have started job hunting but I have a gap on my resume. I have done some unpaid work but this hasn’t helped me,
Would love to hear you views. Thanks.


Karalyn December 22, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Hi John,

Thanks for your comments and I am sorry that it has been so tough for you. I agree employers do guild the lily so to speak, sometimes. Often I think that they think they need to make the job sound s*xier than it is. Or they think they need more than they actually do. When you lose your job it can be very depressing.

I’d like you to read this post by Richard, who wrote on this blog last year. He was in a similar situation to you and made volunteering work for him. I do think there is not one way to do this, and focussing on other people, helps you to be social, which helps your well being as well. Richard now has a number of job offers.

The thing also to remember about volunteering is that to talk about it professionally on your resume as you would a real job as well.

John I hope things improve for you and all the very best.


PS if you are on LinkedIn, go and join our LinkedIn group as we are going to be talking about how to create your own opportunities.

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