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The Most Common Lies on Applicants’ Resumes

We’ve all heard and probably used the phrase, “fake it ‘til you make it!” Most job applicants certainly have. While they may seem ambitious, some applicants simply aren’t equipped with the experience and skills to join your company’s team. In an increasingly competitive economy, job seekers will go to extreme lengths to get their dream job. In an age of instant gratification, it’s not uncommon for people to cut corners. Many HR managers are surprised to learn that 85 percent of applicants lie on their resume according to a recent employment benchmark report.  So how do HR departments differentiate what’s factual from what’s too good to be true? By knowing what to look for. Here are some common lies job applicants tell to have on your radar:

  1. Technical Skills

Applicants can easily copy and paste desired technical skills from your job listing onto their resumes. Proficiency in software such as Photoshop, Lightroom, Excel, Salesforce, and Marketo is necessary for the workflow of countless companies.  Applicants who lie about certain technical skills are easily avoidable if the interview panel is prepared. Be sure to test the applicant’s knowledge by asking scenario-specific questions to see how comfortably they communicate their technical experience. Some other skills commonly exaggerated are project management, technical writing, data analysis, coding, programming, and more.

  1. The Ability to Speak a Foreign Language

This should be an easy issue to avoid, but many people have mastered their two-minute conversation from high-school Spanish well enough to get through surface-level interviews. If the position you’re hiring for requires someone to speak another language, make sure you’d be confident in the future employee’s ability to conduct foreign affairs and speak on behalf of your company in any setting. While some people can fluently discuss the weather or their weekend activities, they may struggle holding a conversation about more technical subjects.

  1. Years of Experience

Sometimes hiring managers may only review titles and success stories, but every resume should format job experience in a timeline that makes sense. Check dates and make sure it adds up from graduation until now. A recent graduate claiming three years of supervisor experience may require further investigation. If dates overlap strangely, employees may also be attempting to cover gaps in employment or make it seem they achieved more in certain roles. Carefully review the structure of each resume and make sure experience is outlined logically!

  1. Education

For some employers, a resume with a university name and graduation date typed at the top of one’s resume will suffice as proof of degree completion. Bad idea! Employers should request official transcripts to review the applicant’s curriculum to better understand what they have to offer after the years of education they’ve claimed. Ask them about coursework, what they learned, how their degree has helped them, and other qualifying questions to make sure they’re equipped with the knowledge to contribute to your company’s success.

  1. Awards

It’s easy for professionals to list an impressive inventory of awards and honors on their resume and LinkedIn profile. Avoid initial impressions by getting more details about these accomplishments. Similar to degrees, ask qualifying questions to understand what they did specifically to receive the award(s). Research the awards to validate their credibility. Their ability to articulate these accomplishments should reveal whether or not they’re lying.

The hundreds of resumes and cover letters HR departments receive can become overwhelming, but taking a more detailed approach to reviewing application materials will lead you to hire the best fit for your team rather than repeating the process a few months later due to hiring inadequate employees. Keep up with our blog to stay on top of ways to attract the best talent on the job market!

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