Survey: Candidates Are Telling the Wrong Lies in Their Job Applications

find the lies that are failing jobseekers

It turns out that most people lie in their resumes and during job interviews, and companies hire them anyway. Those are the findings of a new survey conducted by the ethical hiring practices firm, Checkster.

For this research, the team surveyed 400 job applicants and 400 hiring managers, HR professionals and recruiters about honesty in the hiring process. Checkster found that 78 percent of applicants admit to lying to hiring managers, and 66 percent of employers are willing to overlook some falsehoods.

The hiring manager’s age can be a factor in whether or not they will overlook a lie. The survey found that 69 percent of hiring managers under the age of 35 would consider hiring an employee who made exaggerated claims. Hiring managers who were 45-years-old and older were statistically less forgiving.

Perhaps it is not surprising that employers will overlook some fudging of the truth. Everyone knows that there is a bit of a game being played. Candidates will highlight – and often exaggerate – their qualifications and credentials while downplaying any of their shortcomings or professional failures.

Similarly, companies will extol the benefits of joining their team without mentioning the potential drawbacks such as constant turnover, restructuring, rigid culture, or micro-management style.

What is startling about the results of the Checkster survey is exactly what candidates say that they are lying about to land jobs. They’re lying about the wrong things.

Candidates are telling the wrong lies

Sixty percent of job seekers claim mastery of skills they have only basic knowledge of. This is the worst kind of lie to tell in the hiring process. What good does it to you to fool an employer into hiring you – if you don’t have the skills to do the job? That’s not spin. That is potentially putting you into an awkward situation where your true abilities are revealed, and you are summarily dismissed.

That wastes the employer’s time and resources and seriously damages your professional reputation. No one within the network of that employment situation will ever hire or recommend you again.

Other falsehoods included 50 percent admitting to lying about employment dates, their job title (41.24 percent), and which school they attended (39.25 percent.)

Those are all terrible deceptions to use when trying to get hired. This is because even the most basic background check will confirm your dates of employment with an employer, what your job title was and where you went to school.

You’re very likely to be caught. And even if most parties are willing to accept some spin and polish in the hiring process, these outright falsehoods call your character and integrity into question.

Almost half of the candidates surveyed (43.75 percent) say that they would use fake references. Employers hate this most of all. Fifty-four percent of hiring managers said they would never hire someone who gave them false references.

The one lie you probably should be telling. The survey found that another of the most common lies candidates choose to disclose is their reason for leaving a previous employer. This one makes sense. Your reasons for leaving a job are personal, and they won’t directly impact your ability to do the job you are trying to be hired for.

Plus, if you chose to leave your previous job (as opposed to being laid off or fired), it was probably because of something about the workplace that you didn’t like. Most commonly, it comes down to your relationship with your manager, but it could also have been the money, the commute, the coworkers, or the work itself. Whatever reason you want to seek alternate employment, please don’t talk about it with future potential employers. You will only sound like a complainer, and that’s not what hiring managers are looking for.

Speak well of your previous employer, manager, and coworkers. Talk about what you learned and accomplished there and how you are now looking to take on new challenges and grow in your career. Hopefully, that part, at least, is genuine.

You can download the full report from here.

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