1 in 5 workers know someone who lied on resumé: Survey

Job duties, education most often embellished
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 09/20/2011

When a resumé looks too good to be true, it just might be, according to a recent survey by OfficeTeam in the United States.

Forty-three per cent of the 1,013 senior managers polled said jobseekers include dishonest information on their resumés somewhat or very often. Forty-eight per cent said they do not believe jobseekers do so very often and eight per cent said they never include dishonest information.

Some workers agree that what you see isn't always what you get: More than one in five (21 per cent) of the 431 employees surveyed said they know someone who stretched the truth on these documents.

"Unfortunately, employers can’t always take everything on a resumé at face value," said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. "That's why it's so important to get to know a prospective hire by probing for specifics during the interview, conducting thorough reference checks and testing skills where appropriate."

Job duties (58 per cent), education (34 per cent) and employment dates (24 per cent) were cited as areas that are embellished most frequently, found the survey.

To verify information on resumés, OfficeTeam recommends employers:

Watch for ambiguity: When reviewing resumés, question vague descriptions of skills such as “familiar with” or “involved in” which may be signs that a professional is trying to hide a lack of relevant work experience.

•Ask once, ask twice: Pose interview questions that relate to specific skills needed. For example, if a candidate must know a particular software program, ask how she has used the technology in previous roles. If an applicant's response is ambiguous, don't be afraid to rephrase the question.

•Get the facts: Ask references to confirm basic information such as the candidate's employment history, job titles, responsibilities and salary. If they're willing to talk further, delve into their thoughts on the individual's strengths and weaknesses, interpersonal skills and ability to work on a team.

•Branch out: Inquire if references know of others you can speak to about promising candidates. Also, tap your own network to find mutual acquaintances that might be able to shed light on the prospective hire's background and character.

Put candidates to the test: To get a true sense of a candidate's abilities, consider hiring the person on a temporary basis before extending a full-time offer. This allows both parties to assess whether the position is a fit.

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