Study: Are your employees fibbing on their résumés?

Probably! A new report finds staffers of all generations bend the truth. Read on to learn about common CV fabrications, and to uncover interesting motivations for professional prevarications.

Man and woman discussing resume

The worst-kept secret in the business world is that workers often lie on their résumés.

Between the digital narcs at Google—and easily accessible data unearthed by social media posts, background checks and university admissions departments—you’d think the era of résumé fudging would have ended by now. Yet we persist in our mendacity.

To learn more about this fascinating phenomenon, ResumeLab polled more than 1,000 U.S. workers to learn more about why people lie, what details they stretched and whether they got busted. The survey says:

  • Ninety-three percent of respondents said they know a person who’s lied on a résumé. (“Knowing thyself,” perhaps?)
  • The most common fibs were about “work experience” (27%), “skills” (18%), and specifics about previous “job duties” (17%).
  • Of those who did lie, 31% were caught red-handed. Sixty-five percent of those who were busted either got fired or didn’t get the job.

When ResumeLab personalized the question, just 36% admitted to lying on a CV. However, the survey digs a bit deeper to find that we’re not quite as honest as we might think: “Out of 65% of those who said they never lied on a résumé, one in three confessed to stretching the truth, making the real percentage of people who lie 56%.”

Of those who copped to professional prevarications, the top deceptions related to:

  • Job experience (25%)
  • Job duties (21%)
  • Employment dates (16%)
  • Skills (15%)
  • Salary (10%)

If your keen to uncover sleight of hand at your workplace, the top five “lied-about” questions were as follows:

Resume Graph

(Image via ResumeLab)

Now for the big question: Why’d you do it, George? Well, 37% said they lied because they were “unemployed for a long time.” Eighteen percent simply thought they’d get away with it. Sixteen percent listed “other reasons”—which we’ll file under “Scooby-Doo villain syndrome.”

Graphs with Resume Lying Data

(Image via ResumeLab)

Of course, we distort, deceive, embellish, fudge and fib because we want the job. We desperately desire that pay bump or promotion. We crave career success, and we’re willing to lie to get it. The question is: Is it worth the risk?

Read the rest of ResumeLab’s findings for more data on the ramifications of lying on your CV.


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