How To Spot A Lie On A Resume

Do you know how to spot a lie on a resume? If you’re in the HR business, it’s a skill that you need to develop ASAP. According to, 77% of HR managers have caught a lie on a resume. Roughly 1/3 of job applicants lie on their resumes. Resume fraud is a real thing and if you’re not careful it can affect who you ultimately hire.

Girl has a long nose because she's been telling lies

It’s a competitive job market out there. Job seekers will do just about anything to land the right job – including lying on their resumes. When you’re conducting a job search and scrutinizing resumes, don’t assume that every word is true.

Is That Job Candidate Lying To You?

Watch out for red flags and learn how to spot common resume lies. A good rule of thumb is that when the resume looks too good to be true, there’s probably a lie or two hidden in there. It’s your job to find out the truth.

In order to catch a liar, you need to know how to spot a lie on a resume. Job seekers will commonly lie about the following things:

  • Job titles
  • Employers
  • Dates of employment
  • Industry jargon/terms
  • Skills
  • Age
  • Grades
  • Day-to-day responsibilities
  • Accomplishments/Certifications
  • Salary information
  • Education
  • Degree

Whew! That’s a lot of different things to look out for. Being in HR is kind of like being a detective. It’s your job to verify that everything you read on a resume is true. This can be done via background checks, reference checks, Google search, targeted questions during job interviews, skills tests, or via other methods. We highly encourage you to do your due diligence before you hire on a new employee. If you don’t, it might come back to haunt you.

What Every Employer Needs To Know About Background Checks

Now it’s time for the big question: What do you do when you catch a job candidate lying on a resume? The size of the lie should dictate your response. While lying is almost always unacceptable, remember that sometimes lies are intentional, but other times they are unintentional. There is a big difference between an auto-correct issue that causes a fib vs. a slightly embellished role description vs. a blatant lie about previous employment. Take each situation on a case by case basis. How you decide to treat a job candidate that lies to you is up to you.

Before you have to deal with the consequences, you need to learn how to spot a lie on a resume first. Start with knowing where to look then take the time to verify the facts. Best of luck.

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