BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Have you ever lied on your resume? Most people do

Nov 8, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: Nov 10, 2023, 10:03 am

A hiring sign is displayed at a retail store in Vernon Hills, Ill. A new study shows most people li...

FILE - A hiring sign is displayed at a retail store in Vernon Hills, Ill., Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023. A new study shows most people lie on their resume. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — Most people lie on their resume to land a job, according to a ResumeLab survey.

The survey found that 70% of workers lied on their resumes. More specifically, when asked “Have you ever lied on a resume?” survey respondents said:

  • Yes, I lie frequently – 37%
  • Yes, I have lied once or twice – 33%
  • No, but I have considered lying – 15%
  • No, and I have never considered lying – 15%

Dave and Debbie spoke with Scott Hammond, a professor of management at Utah State University, about why applicants lie on resumes.

Human vs. computer

Hammond said if the survey question is expanded to read: “Have you ever exaggerated on a resume?” then the response would be close to 100% of applicants embellish their resume.

“And the reason people are doing that these days is because they are filtered out of a job by the computer if they don’t have the right keywords and the right numbers on that first resume,” he said. “So they have to have that . . . otherwise they don’t even get considered.”

Hammond said lying about things like having a degree when the applicant doesn’t is much rarer.

“You can detect that in an interview, but it also shows up in any kind of vetting of that person.”

The more common fib is misleading or embellishing the number of years that the applicant held a leadership position at a company or whether he or she is knowledgeable with a particular software program, Hammond said.

“It is so hard to be unemployed these days as a knowledge worker that you can justify that in your head and say, ‘For the sake of my family, one little word here, little twist of the number, embellish a little bit there to increase my chances.”

Lies organizations tell

Hammond said the best applicants for most jobs are not identified via computer, but rather by face-to-face interviews. He cites the case of a computer rejecting a resume because there is a gap in the applicant’s work history.

“Oh, they had 10 years and there’s nothing on the resume, and the computer kicks them out. . . . They could be doing humanitarian service. They could be raising children. . . all kinds of things that people do with those holes in the resumes that are really valuable experiences in a lot of workplaces.”

Related: The Truth about Lying to Get a Job

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

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Have you ever lied on your resume? Most people do