Lying on résumés: America’s other pastime

If you’ve ever caught a job candidate stretching the truth on an application, you’re not alone – in fact, you’re in good company. But does the problem lie in an antiquated method for selecting hires? 

According to CareerBuilder, more than half of managers have caught candidates lying on résumés and job applications.

The most common form this took was embellishing skills (reported by 62% of respondents), but that wasn’t the only stretching of the truth.

Other résumé half-truths and untruths included embellishing:

  • responsibilities (54%)
  • dates of employment (39%)
  • job titles (31%), and
  • academic degrees (28%).

Honesty would’ve been better

While honesty is usually the best policy, there’s good reason to believe these exaggerations were particularly misguided. Nearly half (42%) of those surveyed said they’d consider applicants who met three out of five qualifications for a role.

That makes the lie particularly harmful – while not having every qualification wouldn’t necessarily disqualify a candidate, lying most likely would.

But is the resume an outdated model for selecting good candidates anyway when there are so many alternatives that don’t require self-reporting skills?

Testing, interviews more important

The best alternative to relying on traditional resumes could be testing designed to evaluate skills for qualifications.

Blind tests can find the best candidates regardless of resume-writing abilities and give you access to good candidates who are often overlooked for tech positions.

Also important to consider: If a candidate catches your eye, but doesn’t test well, bring him or her in for an interview. Even if the current position isn’t the right fit, something brought the candidate to your attention. Find out what they can offer, and if it will be beneficial to keep them on file for future openings.

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