6 Signs a Job Candidate Is Lying on Resume

Six warning signs that you have caught a job candidate in a lie on the resume.

When presented upon the task of having to pick a new employee, there can be a lot of things that can seem out of place or suspicious. Many people might just be extremely skilled and qualified, while there are others who just seem like they’re way too skilled for the position.

Through my personal experience I have come to find that when something doesn’t feel quite right or legitimate, it probably isn’t. There are many ways to tell is a candidate is lying about certain things on their resume and while it can be a little tricky to find out, it can surely save your company a lot of time and money. Here are some signs to look out for.

Why should you care if someone is lying?

If you own a company or a business, you are definitely trying your best to make it thrive and become very successful. Not only do you care about the reputation you create for your business but you also want to make sure that the people who work for you are helping you achieve your goals and your vision for it.

When a person is lying in their resume, they are being dishonest about who they truly are. Not only are they disrespecting your company and its vision but they are also disrespecting you for giving them a chance to rise through your company.

Spotting a lie is easy

Putting your trust into people who might not be legitimate and honest about their qualifications is going to cost you a lot of time and money and it can truly set your company back from reaching its goals. On top of that, you might even end up losing the chance to work with some people who could truly be a great fit for your company.

In order to avoid this from happening, you will definitely need to put in more time and effort when it comes to going through the resumes of your potential employees. It might even be a good idea for you to invest in HR software, such as CakeHR, which will help you manage human resources a lot easier and process all the data you come across a lot faster, in order for you to be able to make the right choices.

Why someone would lie about their resume

There are many reasons why a person would be dishonest about their resume. Many people are first of all simply not qualified enough but they would really want to see themselves in a fancy position such as the one you are offering. In fact, 85 percent of job applicants lie on their resumes!

In most cases, people who lie are the ones who are the most insecure about themselves. It’s not rare for a person to lie after they have gone through a long phase of unemployment due to dealing with a mental health issue. While lying is not a solution, it gives them enough courage in order to apply for that position in hopes that they might actually get lucky.

A new study shows huge increase in lies on job applications. 85% of job applicants lie on resumes.

On the other hand, though, there are some people who truly believe they can learn all the skills they are presenting in their resume from this future job and they are so confident that they prefer to present them as already acquired. These people are the worst to come across as they have so much faith in their lie that they would never even consider admitting to it.

What most people fail to understand though is that even the smallest of lies can absolutely end up killing their career. Spotting a lie can sometimes be very easy and if a person is an amateur or has no external help, they can easily mess up and it can cost them a very bright future. That’s why honesty is always the best solution to everything.

It is better for a person to focus on the things they have already achieved and talk about the skills they own with a lot of passion and confidence. Even if someone is not 100 percent qualified for a job, they can still have a good chance of being hired if they show their future employer that they are very serious about learning as much as possible about the job and working hard in order to make up for anything they might be lacking in their resume.

#1 Their LinkedIn profiles are not aligned to their resume

One of the first things you should look out for when going through a job candidate’s profile is to check and see how they present themselves on their professional profiles online. LinkedIn is one of the most popular sites for professionals and your potential employee is bound to have created his own profile.

Before considering hiring your candidate, take a look at their LinkedIn profile. If a person is being honest about the qualifications they present in their resume, they are way more likely to present themselves online with the same exact claims.

You might even want to take this a step further and run a small investigation on all of their social media. If they are honest about their skills and previous working experience, it is highly likely that you will be able to find pictures or posts with former employers and other information that can help you validate and trust their claims.

#2 The dates are inconsistent or invalid

A common problem with many resumes which contain lies is a clear inconsistency in the dates. If a person says they were working for two different companies at around the same time frame for example, this might just be a lie and it can help save you a lot of time later on.

You are wasting your company’s resources when you make the recruiting process a private investigation exercise. It is not!

There are also many times when a person has gone through a period of unemployment is trying to cover it up by saying they worked on some smaller projects or even did voluntary work. For either of those, you are always able to contact the people responsible for the said project or organization and learn if they actually did work for them at the time frame they are mentioning.

This often happens as people tend to think that having a small gap in their resume is bad and they will try to cover it up with a lie in order to sound more interesting or skilled. It would be way better though if they just came clean and were honest about it, rather than try and cover it up with an excuse.

#3 The work experience doesn’t match their educational background

This is one of the easiest things to be on the lookout for when going through someone’s resume. There are many times when a person’s professional background is in a particular field but their educational background is on something that might not be directly related to their working experience.

This is a topic that you should keep in mind that you need to approach without being closed-minded. There is a big chance that the person is lying about their educational background or they are lying about their working experience and you definitely want to avoid adding a person to your company when they are not properly qualified to do the job you are offering.

On the other hand, though, you might want to keep in mind that the said person might not be lying about their previous jobs. There are quite a few people who can easily pick up new things and this situation can really change the way you see a candidate.

#4 There are very few or no references at all

When going through a resume, it is important to always check and see if the person has any available references. References are a great way for you to compare the person’s claims to actual references from other people they have worked with and make sure they are exactly as they present them.

If you come across any discrepancies, you should definitely not let it pass. Even if you end up not hiring this person, it is still very disrespectful of them to try and fool you for something so important, so you should make sure that this is further investigated.

On top of that, you might want to actually go ahead and contact this person’s references through the phone. If that candidate seems like they would be a good addition to your company, it will be a lot better if you save yourself the frustration of hiring them and finding out they are actually a fraud. While this can be a little time consuming, it is the best way to make sure that they are being honest.

#5 The description of their skills is pretty unclear

One of the ways to see if a person is lying about their skills on their resume is to take a good look at how they present them. Go ahead and carefully read the descriptions they provide for their said skills. Are they clear and easy to understand or is the person beating around the bush?

In most cases, if a person doesn’t actually have experience on a particular topic they will try and present it so the description is not very clearly defined. It might be because they have no particular knowledge on the topic or because they just want to seem like they know what they are talking about.

In any case, if you come to find that somebody isn’t really clear about the description of their qualifications and skills, it is highly likely that their claims are not valid and you should probably not even consider interviewing that person.

#6 They are using too many “big” words

It is not rare to find that a person who is lying about a certain skill is trying to make it sound as big and great as possible. This is kind of a defense mechanism, as the person is trying to cover up their lie in a way that makes it sound pretty convincing and accurate, they tend to exaggerate about a certain skill and present it in a way that makes it sound really big.

According to one of CareerBuilder’s studies from 2015, 54 percent of smaller business employers have caught a lie on the resume of a potential employee and the percentages where someone was talking about a skill they didn’t actually have was at a shocking 61 percent!

According to a 2015 CareerBuilder study, 54% of small business employers have caught a lie on a resume

So, if you find that a person is using too many big words to describe one or more of their skills, you might want to call them in for an interview and have them explain to you what exactly their skills are about and how they acquired them. This is where most people would either start to talk without stopping, or would use very long and awkward pauses. In any case, you will be able to know if they are being honest or not.

In summation

Coming across a person with a resume that is not 100 percent honest is a lot more common that you might imagine. In most workplaces, many people have actually made the mistake of hiring someone they thought would be the perfect match for a certain position, only to find that that person didn’t actually know how to do all the things they claimed in their resume.

In order to save yourself from the trouble, you will have to be smart and think in advance. Keep in mind all these simple and easy to notice signs and you will be able to understand whether a person is lying or not, a lot easier.

About the author: Sylvia Giltner is an HR manager and freelance writer at Resumes Centre. She helps people to write the perfect resume and land a desirable job. She is also an active guest contributor. Sylvia’s writing has been featured on Forbes, Next Avenue, TLNT and more.

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