Studies have shown that lying on a resume is fairly common. Websites such as Hire.com, provide background checks, and have discovered that 34% of applicants lie on their resumes. According to Forbes.com, the most common lies involve: education, employment dates, job titles, and technical skills. In a market where a large percentage of applicants is lying on their resume, how does an applicant stand out? Maybe an applicant has no choice but to lie.
Certain lies may be more acceptable than others. Lying in a minor way such as leaving out certain information is the smart thing to do in many circumstances. For example, if you were a leader for a religious organization and your potential employer is a non-religious company, you may want to omit your involvement. While I support omitting certain information, I do not believe lying about education or skills is acceptable. Employers are looking for candidates with certain experiences and skills, but when they hire employees that do not meet those expectations, it ends up costing the company money.
However, it’s a competitive market and you may choose to be deceitful on your resume, but will you be able to get away with it? The internet has made it incredibly easy for employers to perform background checks and very difficult to get away with lies. According to SHRM’s 2004 Reference and BAckground Checking survey, 96% of human resources professionals reported that their organization conducts a background check on every employee. If the lies on your resume do end up getting you the job, there’s a chance they will be exposed at some point in your career. Is “embellishing” a resume worth the consequences?
Purdy, Charles. “Biggest Resume Lies and How Job Seekers Get Caught.” Monster.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2014.
Vaas, Lisa. “Lying on Your Resume: How Far to Stretch the Truth.” Lying on Your Resume: How Far to Stretch the Truth. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2014.
One thought on “Can you get away with lying?”
I agree with what you wrote in that you should only lie on your resume if you can get away with it. This would include, as you mentioned, lying by omission, such as not sharing that your are part of a religious organization when your potential employer is known to not be affiliated with any religion or engages in religious activity contrary to your own. I think that items in you resume that do not directly relate to your job could also fall under this “little white lie” category that you could get away with. Such as, to keep up with the religious example, you were to know the religious affiliations of your employer and you mentioned in your resume that you were also affiliated with certain related religious clubs or organizations. Or if you were trying to get a job in an art field and you included some highbrow math or science related club in order to boost yourself in the eyes of your employer/HR, you are probably more likely to get a away with it because whoever is reading your resume cares more about the art related items and the fancy club is just a boost.
You should not lie about something you cannot explain away because it is not worth the consequences. Not just because so many companies, 96% as you mentioned, preform background checks, which will stop you getting the job in the first place, but because if you lie about necessary skills and you do get the job, you will inevitably lose it because you are unable to preform. Depending on what field you enter, I believe another reason that lying is not worth the consequences because depending on how late the lie is discovered you will be fired without receiving and letters of recommendation and your former employer might also inform other employees about your deceit.