Survey Results: 40% of Applicants Distort Information on Resumes

Nick Fishman

EmployeeScreenIQ recently released our annual background screening trends survey: “Threading The Needle: Employment Background Screening in an Age of Increased Litigation and Legislation.” More than 650 HR professionals from across the country, in organizations large and small, shared their thoughtful (and sometimes surprising) insights on everything from falsified resumes to the phenomenon of Facebook in our revealing 20-page report.  Listed below is one of our Top Findings which deals with how much candidates are distorting information about their academic and employment credentials.

What percentage of your candidates do you estimate are distorting/exaggerating information on their resume?

A vast majority of respondents estimate that up to 40% of candidates distort or exaggerate information on their resumes. 83% of respondents say that fabricating educational qualifications is the most egregious resume distortion. At EmployeeScreenIQ, we find a 52% discrepancy rate.

According to a December 2011 report from CBS News affiliate WTOP, 69% percent of hiring managers, recruiters and security professionals reported catching lies on a job applicant’s resume. Education and employment history account for most of the embellishments.

Although the percentages in each of our given categories are relatively low, the widespread nature of distorting and exaggerating the truth is significant. Most job seekers know that employers use background checks to review potential new hires. And many of the popular job search websites contain a wealth of articles written by employment experts advising job seekers not to lie on their resumes. Yet, despite these deterrents, people continue to “tweak” their resumes in the hope that they won’t be caught. This is all the more reason for employers to be vigilant in their screening practices.

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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.