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The Risk of Lying

The Risk of Lying and The Job Shop Logo over spiderwebs.

Author: Liz Frome

Creating a resume or applying for jobs may feel challenging / frustrating if you have limited relevant experience or skills. However, it’s essential to prepare a resume that represents your qualifications truthfully. This single bit of career advice will help you create a good first impression on a hiring manager and allow you to avoid the potential consequences of offering misleading information.

Lying on your resume can come across in a variety of ways:

  • overstating your experience with a certain task

  • misrepresenting the dates, you worked at a company

  • misrepresenting the companies, you have worked for

  • misrepresenting your education

  • misrepresenting your skills

Employers may discover if you embellished your resume during the interview process, when verifying your information with a former employer or if you begin working for them.

Creating an accurate resume that focuses on the qualifications you have is often more effective and less risky than choosing to embellish your resume.

Some common risks of embellishing your resume include:

Not landing that interview

Job application processes can be competitive. If a hiring manager finds false information on your resume, this may disqualify you from consideration as a candidate. This often prevents you from being invited for an interview, meaning you lose the opportunity to discuss your truthful skills and experience.

An employer might discover you embellished your resume at any time, such as after you completed your interview or the company offered you the job. However, if the hiring manager learns you lied, they may take the job offer away regardless of your other skills.

Some common ways employers discover a candidate embellished their resume include:

1. Employment verification

Many employers will verify each candidate's employment. This usually involves the hiring manager calling or emailing the contact you provided for a certain organization. This process may reveal if you lied about information like the dates you worked there, your job title or your seniority within the organization. (Here at The Job Shop we will also call around your references and try to connect with other people at the company. Just heads up when giving out references.)

2. Background check

Running a background check is a common step during the hiring process. These checks often provide information about your personal history and criminal history. If the results prove different than what you told the hiring manager, this may be a cause for concern. It is best to disclose information up front that my involve getting hired. (You can run a background check on yourself and keep in mind a financial background check.0

3. References

It’s important to ask permission before using a coworker or previous supervisor as a reference. This provides them with notice that a hiring manager may contact them. When talking to them, hiring managers may learn about inconsistencies in your resume or what you shared in the interview. Even if you ask a reference to lie on your behalf, they’re not required to do so and the hiring manager may perform additional research to determine the truth.

4. Inconsistencies during the interview

It’s often difficult to maintain a lie during an interview. It may be difficult to remember all the details you share, confusing yourself and the hiring manager. This may worry the hiring manager, and they often compare what you say in the interview to the information in your resume and cover letter and what your references say to determine the truth. You will have multiple interviews with a company before you are hired and they do compare interview notes.

5. Education qualifications check

Employers can check whether you completed a degree. They may do this themselves or through a third-party service. Verifying whether you have a degree may allow them to learn details like if you earned your degree, when you earned it and what type of degree you earned.

6. Job skills test

Many companies require a job skills test as part of the hiring process. This requires that you complete certain work tasks to better gauge your ability to meet the requirements of the position. Having a large gap between the abilities and skills you list and the scores of your test can indicate that you lied. (Recently The Job Shop’s clients have been asking the candidates to come in for 1-2 days paid for a trial run on the position.)

7. Your information doesn't make sense

Hiring managers typically evaluate everything that you submit as part of your application. They may compare your resume and cover letter and, if the information doesn’t match, this may alert them to lies. They may also investigate your information further if your job titles or duties don’t make sense or if your experience seems too good to be true based on your career.

8. Internet search

Hiring managers often search for candidates online to learn more about them. A simple search of your name on a search engine or social media site may allow them to find plenty of information about you. This allows them to decide if the information you shared is true. (Please Google yourself and dig a little.)

9. Lack of specificity

Being vague on your resume or during your interview may suggest you don’t actually have the skills or experience that you claim. This may happen if you’re exaggerating your experience with a particular task. If you’re unable to provide specific details, a hiring manager may realize you’re not as knowledgeable as you say you are.

“Honesty is the best policy. If I lose my honor, I lose myself. ” -William Shakespear

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