Working on your resume? Keep in mind that the truth is ever-increasingly easy to uncover. In fact, 57 percent of hiring managers have found fabrications on a resume, and, of that group, 93 percent opted not to hire the candidate. That's according to the aptly titled CareerBuilder.com survey "Resume Lies."
Forty-three percent of hiring managers, according to the survey by the Chicago-based career site, say discovering a lie on a resume is a deal-breaker.
"Catching a lie on a resume raises a red flag about a candidate's overall ethics," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder.com. "Ninety-two percent of hiring managers say they conduct background checks on employees. That means even the smallest inconsistency or embellishment is likely to get noticed and could cost you the job."
So where are candidates most likely to stretch the truth? Giving inaccurate dates to disguise employment gaps was the most popular answer, followed by giving false information about past employers; about academic degrees and institutions; about technical skills and certifications; and about accomplishments.
"It is ridiculous to lie on a resume," says Bill Morin, CEO of WJM Associates, a talent-development company headquartered in New York.
Morin notes that the problem is actually more pervasive as employees climb the corporate ladder. "It gets even more deadly as you move up. And one reason is that C-level [executives] often have had bios written about them, and somehow they just let little things go, like they graduated from Harvard when they didn't. It might have been the Harvard six-week program, but it's not the two-year MBA program," he jokes.
Morin, who says, "I think we should hold the resume to be holy," offers the following fabrication hot spots to help hiring managers:
- Dates. "If [dates are] off, let's just say—at best—[a candidate has] not paid attention to their resume in terms of accuracy," Morin says.
- University records. Be sure to check the type of degree received and the dates of attendance. "Even way back when," Morin notes.
- Memberships. Check the accuracy and status of listed associations.
As for social networking sites, Morin says "If I had other indicators [that the applicant had lied], I would then dig in further."
Even if you're not currently in the job market, keep in mind your past could pose a problem in the future. "Resumes have a way haunting us and staying in files," Morin says—which means it might be time to 'fess up to your boss or human resources. You can only hide the truth for so long.