May 26, 2015

Beware: 23 Resume Falsification Statistics

Read more about the shocking % of misleading resumes and surprising number of people who would lie on their resumes.

© woodleywonderworks (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Condensing all of your work experience, skills and education onto a single page can be challenging, but a stellar resume is a must if you want to lock down a job interview these days. In an effort to stand up to the competition, some job seekers may go as far as falsifying certain information to make themselves a more attractive candidate.

Lying on your resume, even if it's just a small white lie, can come back to haunt you if your employer catches on. Fluffing up your qualifications or experience is a big risk; it could mean getting passed up for a job or losing your position if your deception is discovered down the road. It's not just employees who are guilty of bending the truth either. In 2012, Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson stepped down from his role after just four months when it was discovered that he'd lied about his education.

To give you an idea of just how big of a problem resume fraud is, CreditDonkey spent some time analyzing research on the subject. We've broken down the information into a list of 23 statistics that might make you think twice about fudging the truth on your resume.


For the first part of our study, we decided to cover some basic ground on resume falsification. Specifically, we look at how often people include less than truthful information and how employers respond.

1. What percentage of resumes contain misleading information?
It's estimated that 46% of resumes include at least one discrepancy between the information provided by the applicant and what the employer turns up during a background check.

2. How many people actually admit to padding their resumes?
While the research shows that resume falsification is a fairly common practice, just 8% of adults admit to misleading potential employers. Nearly 30% of them said they lost their jobs after their deception was uncovered.

3. How does the economy impact resume falsification?
When the job market is tough, candidates may feel the need to get a little creative with their work history in order to score an interview. Approximately 33% of employers say that they've seen an uptick in resume falsification in the post-recession era.

4. How often do college students lie on their resume?
College students seem to be the most likely to bend the truth, with 92% admitting to including at least one misrepresentation on their resume.

5. What percentage of college students would lie to get a job?
A shocking 95% of college students say they would lie if it meant gaining employment. Even worse, 41% admitted to having done so in the past.

6. How often does lying on a resume lead to a job offer?
Just over 20% of employers admit to hiring a dishonest employee and 47% chalked it up to lies the person told during the interview process.

7. How willing are employers to forgive dishonesty?
Lying on your resume can potentially cost you a job, and 51% of employers would automatically dismiss a candidate who told a fib. Forty percent of employers said it would depend on what the person lied about.

8. Which industries have the most resume falsification?
The financial services sector sees the most fibbing, with 73% of employers saying they've found falsehoods on a candidate's resume. The leisure and hospitality industry comes in second, with 71% of employers making the same claim.


For the next part of our study, we wanted to focus on what the biggest things are that people tend to exaggerate or omit when it comes to their resumes.

9. What's the most common thing candidates lie about?
Overwhelmingly, job seekers are most likely to be dishonest about their particular skills. 57% of employers said this is the number one lie they encounter.

10. What's the least common misrepresentation?
While the range of things that job candidates lie about is pretty extensive, awards and accolades typically aren't among them. Just 18% of employers say they've run into this kind of deception on a resume.

11. How often do people lie about their education?
About 20% of job seekers aren't completely honest when it comes to their education. Some of the things applicants lie about include what they majored in, what school they attended and what degree they earned.

12. What percentage of people lie about why they left their last job?
If your previous position didn't end on good terms, 'fessing up to a potential employer may be the last thing you want to do. Around 11% of people misrepresent their reason for leaving their previous company.

13. How many people aren't honest about their dates of employment?
Although your resume should reflect exactly when you worked in a specific position, nearly one-third of job candidates admit to listing inaccurate employment dates.

14. How often do job seekers provide fake references?
More than 60% of employers report getting negative feedback from references listed on a candidate's resume. Twenty-nine percent say that they discovered a reference included on a resume was fake.


Finally, we rounded up some statistics on how frequently resume fraud is detected and what measures employers use to sniff out job seekers who aren't being completely honest.

15. How long do employers view a resume on average?
Resumes are designed to be scanned quickly. Only 42% of employers say they look them over for more than 2 minutes when making hiring decisions.

16. How long does it take recruiters to check out a resume?
Recruiters scope out potential candidates for openings but they don't spend a lot of time looking over your qualifications. On average, a recruiter scans your resume for a mere 6 seconds before deciding whether to contact you.

17. What percentage of hiring managers have spotted a lie on a resume?
If you think sneaking false information past an employer is easy, think again. Nearly 60% of hiring managers say they've caught a lie on a resume.

18. How effective is pre-employment screening at uncovering falsehoods?
Seventy-two percent of employers say that the screening process picks up on negative issues that might have gone unnoticed. Nearly 90% say that screening has revealed a lie on a resume.

19. What percentage of employers conduct background checks?
Pre-employment screening is standard for most companies, and 97% perform some type of background check prior to hiring new employees.

20. How often are temporary employees screened?
Seasonal and temporary employees typically aren't subject to as rigorous a hiring process; just 41% of employers say they take a closer look at the backgrounds of these workers.

21. What percentage of employers use social media to verify information?
While 54% of employers say they use social media as a recruiting tool, only 14% say they use it as a means of checking an applicant's resume for accuracy. Eighty-three percent of those who do rely on Facebook to screen candidates.

22. How many employers re-screen employees after hiring?
Certain companies go the extra mile to make sure they've selected the right person for the job. Approximately 47% of employers conduct additional screening after an applicant's been hired.

23. What's the financial cost of resume fraud?
If hiring someone who falsified their resume leads to a negligent hiring lawsuit, it can cost employers $1 million or more to settle the matter.


Falsifying a resume can help you get your foot in the door, but it can end up doing far more harm than good in the long run if the truth leaks out. Honesty is, after all, the best policy, especially when you're trying to land in the good graces of a potential employer.

Sources and References:

Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and reviews website. Write to Rebecca Lake at Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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