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April 19 2018

If resume lies are a reality, what's HR to do?

Ask any recruiter what percentage of resumes cross their desk with at least one "fudge" of the truth, and the result will shock — unless, of course, you're a recruiter. Lies and exaggerations on resumes have become so commonplace that it’s hard to find one without embellishment.

Surveys abound outlining just how many resumes include some form of exaggeration. And those trying to pass off fibs aren't flying under the radar, either. Data from Robert Half revealed that nearly half (46%) of American workers know someone whose resume includes false information, up 25% from 2011 to 2017.

But it's also common to see the exaggeration of expertise, said Brett Good, senior district president for Robert Half. "Vague descriptions of skills such as 'familiar with' or 'involved in' may be signs that a job seeker is trying to downplay a lack of direct experience," Good said, adding that large gaps in employment or listing positions without months (only years) can be a red flag.

Why lie?

Some put the blame for fibs on bots, more specifically applicant screening platforms that weed out candidates who don't meet minimum requirements or whose resumes don't highlight the right keywords. The prospect of seeing only qualified candidates is irresistible for recruiters, but who could have anticipated a quick search for "how to beat resume scanning software" would yield over half a million results? Clearly, job candidate lifehacks are getting closer to beating headhunters at their own game.