A recent straw poll of approximately 1,700 recruiters, members of the Top Echelon Network (the largest group of independent recruiters), found that over 33% of all job seekers lie on their resumes. The lies range from stating that they have degrees, that they do not have, to vastly overstating their job skills and experience. Probably the largest single lie is the candidate stating that they are still employed by a company when they are not. I know a lot of job seekers feel justified stating they are still working for a company when they are receiving some type of compensation but if they are not physically going to work every day, they are not working for the company. The first question I ask every potential candidate is, “are you still working for the XYZ Company?” If the job seeker is not working for the company but the resume indicates they are, I still work with them but my write up on the job seeker that I present to my client company or a fellow recruiter (headhunter) states they are not working.
Why is telling such a seemingly white lie bad for the job seeker?
- When the recruiter (corporate or headhunter) sees on the resume that the job seeker is still employed, they do call during the day because they believe the job seeker is not available. This forces the recruiter to call at night which they may or may not do if their schedule is too busy. I call on the average 10 potential candidates every evening and find out half of them are not working. This takes time away from my family and when I find out the job seeker is not working its me with the feeling that I may not be dealing with an honest job seeker. Starting out on the wrong foot with a corporate or third party recruiter is not something a job seeker really wants to do.
- When the recruiter finds the candidate has lied on the resume, they may not present the job seeker to their company manager or their client company for ethical reasons.
- In my previous life, I spent 16 years in engineering management. I withdrew several offers when I found out my potential employee had lied about still being employed.
I felt that if they would lie to me about that, what would they lie to me about when they reported to me? How could I trust someone to handle hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars of corporate dollars who was less than honest on their resume?
- If one of the first things the hiring manager sees on the resume is not true does it then make sense to take what the job seeker says about their contributions to their past employers at face value. Does the job seeker really want statements made on their resume discounted unnecessarily?
Maybe the hiring company or recruiter is not appalled by the lack of honesty on a resume but do you really want to roll the dice with your career when really good jobs are hard to find? Really good jobs are getting scarcer despite the less than honest government reports to the contrary. Being unemployed in this era does not carry the stigma it once did but being dishonest still does.