Employers Say Job Candidates Should Re-Think Resume Embellishments
May 6, 2014
Nearly 600 human resources professionals opened up to EmployeeScreenIQ about how they use employment background checks to make hiring decisions and their candid feedback is detailed in our just-released, fifth annual survey of U.S. based employers. The new report looks at how companies manage the process of employment screening, their practices concerning Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) guidance, candidates’ self-disclosure of criminal records and how they address adverse findings.
In the past few years, the EmployeeScreenIQ Trends Survey has become a benchmark many employers use to evaluate their background screening policies and practices. This year’s survey provides a unique cross-section of opinions and insights from an assortment of organizations and is a must-read for HR professionals that want to learn about what their industry peers are doing.
Today, we’d like to focus on employers’ attitudes about candidates’ resume lies, how often they occur and what they do when they find them. Half of this year’s respondents reject 90% or more candidates when lies are discovered on their resumes. Another 23% of respondents estimate they hire candidates only 11% to 20% of the time when resume distortions are found. These findings strongly depart from those of last year’s survey, which indicated that employers were rather lenient regarding resume distortions.
What percentage of your candidates do you estimate distort information on their resumes?
When comparing this year’s results to last year’s, the largest share of respondents shifted from the first category (0% to 15%) to the second category (16% to 30%), despite the total of both categories remaining almost identical. Perhaps employers are becoming more aware of the widespread problem of job seekers distorting the truth on resumes.
Interestingly, most job seekers are well aware that employers use background checks to review potential new hires. Even so, individuals continue to “tweak” their resumes and hope they won’t be caught. Clearly, employers must remain vigilant in their screening practices.
What percentage of candidates do you estimate are hired in spite of distortions on their resumes?
This year’s findings indicate that employers consider resume distortions as a serious breach of trust and confidence, which directly impacts a candidates’ chances of getting hired. In fact, this data suggests employers are more concerned about resume distortions than criminal convictions. According to half of the respondents, only a small percentage (10% or less) of candidates get hired in spite of resume lies. And only 10% of employers hire these candidates with any frequency (76% of the time or more). This data strongly departs from our 2013 findings, in which more than half of all respondents indicated that very few candidates who distorted information on their resumes were not hired. This year’s findings show that the situation has reversed dramatically.
What types of resume distortions/discrepancies would cause you not to hire a candidate?
Although lying about earning a degree topped respondents’ concerns (84%), our experience shows that only about 8% of candidates actually lie in this way on their resumes. The findings also show that respondents are far less troubled by candidates distorting their salaries or job responsibilities than they are about distorting the reasons for leaving past employers or lying about earning a degree. Covering up gaps in employment dates fell right in the middle of the spectrum.