Do All Resumes Include Lies? Learning to Detect the Lies.

A 2011 study by the Society of Human Resources shows that 53% of all job applicants lie on their resumes and another study reports that at least 80% of all applicants are misleading.

Stretching the truth 

When it comes to resumes most candidates won’t flat out lie on their resume, but they’ll stretch the truth a little. Whether it be on what they were offered salary wise or their responsibilities and duties. Another stretch on resumes come from when someone has lots of experience in sales, but they’re looking for a job in marketing. Sometimes they will stretch the truth a little and twist it to make it seem like they had more of a marketing function instead flat out sales. HR pros and recruiters will find the truth out at some point and you’ll likely end up disqualifying yourself from consideration of the job.

The best way to pick out a lie:

When looking at resumes the best way to pick out a lie on a resume is to know what the most common lies are. Citing a screening firm’s review of over 249,000 resumes last year, the company reported 52% of them were found to have discrepancies.

Education: Out of all the lies on the resume, education is probably the biggest truth stretcher out there. Either the candidate lies about the college that they attended or they lie about the exact degree that they received while at that college.

Job title: I’ve always figured the job title was useless nowadays. When working with startups almost everyone has a VP or above title, so while the job title might be a lie or real, look at their description of work to really determine what they did.

Compensation: You should never take this one at face value. A lot of times people are going to lie about how much they made because they want to make more when hired on with you. For instance instead of making 30,000 they will put that they made about 35,000 or 40,000.

Reason for leaving: If someone was fired from their job its quite taboo to tell a possible employer that they were fired, so what do candidates do? They lie. Make sure you’re not one of those who lie because a recruiter is going to double check your references, especially if they’re hiring you for a higher up job.

Accomplishments: This is the last major lie on a resume, the accomplishments. Everyone wants to be the best and the only way to get ahead in life is networking and being the best at what you do. Basically if you’re not the best, don’t lie, because then you’ll end up under performing and it’ll be more embarrassing in the real world. It’s true that you can fake it till you make it, but not in all circumstances.

Do All Resumes Include Lies?

What’s your favorite resume lie? 

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Eric Friedman

Eric Friedman is the founder and CEO of eSkill Corporation, a leading provider of Web-based skills testing for pre-employment and training. Since 2003, has tested millions of job candidates for organizations worldwide such as Zappos, ADP, Coca-Cola, Randstad, and GE. With academic degrees in Psychology and Business and experience with both mature and expansion-stage company growth, Eric has focused on how to hire and motivate team members to be the best they can be for their companies.

Reader Interactions


  1. Ruth Schwartz says

    The only thing that resumes tell us is how well someone prepares a resume. Let’s assume that resumes are at best , marketing copy. I think it is less about the employer figuring out the lie, than it is the candidate showing their behavior and their skills rather than rely on the resume telling us. BTW: The same is true for interviews.

  2. Scott Kammerer says

    “If someone was fired from they’re job its quite taboo to tell a possible employer that they were fired” — if someone submitted a resume with two grammatical mistakes in one sentence, I’d probably toss it. IT’S possibly why they lost THEIR job.

    • Laura Jones says

      Scott – I couldn’t agree more! It’s definitely important to check their grammar! 🙂

  3. PAUL FOREL says


    Weak article- the title says “…Learning to Detect the Lies…” but the article only shows where on a resume those lies may show up- it does not give out information about how to ‘detect’ them on a resume.

    Also, correction….”taboo” or not….

    It is legal [depending on which state?] to tell a prospective employer a candidate for their consideration was fired/terminated. In fact, the previous employer can tell the prospective employer most anything as long as it is factual.

    This blog doesn’t bring anything new to the table, Eric and is only suitable for readership by a newbie recruiter.

  4. paul cook says

    Yes Paul you are technically correct, the list is a basic reminder of things to watch for.” How to” detect lies on a resume includes things like background checks, talking to people who have worked at the company, especially those you may know and or someone you know, knows the person at the prior company. An easy way to help find such people is by using tools like LinkedIN or Facebook etc. The interesting thing I have learned in 35 years of HR work and hiring people of all levels is; that as much as we may tell employees NOT to say anything about another employee to someone who is inquiring about them and to just refer them to talk to a HR person is that they still will talk to the person anyway especially if the recruiter is skilled. I have never had a problem finding out about people via such means. Also the candidate is going to give you carefully selected references thus, it becomes even more important to find things out from an independant source. Another important point that was made was how the candidates lie in interviews, I have found team interviews, even if its only two people can be very effective because the candidate has to be more careful to keep the story straight.


  1. […] 3. Eric Friedman has an interesting post over at Blogging4Jobs listing some of the most common resume lies (as cited by a 2011 SHRM study). Did you know that 53% of all applicants tell a lie on their resumes, and that 80% of all applicants are misleading in some way on their resumes? Find out what applicants lie about (and how how to spot said lies) in Friedman’s full post here. […]


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