Applying for employment is an act of hope. Applicants hope to be chosen and commonly look for ways to stand out from the crowd. Sometimes these ways include lying on their resumes, or at least embellishing the truth. A recent CareerBuilder study found that employers reported lies on 56% of the resumes they receive.
This is troubling news. Your hiring process is designed to find and evaluate information to help you make the best possible choice for each role, and if the sources are biased or false, you cannot confidently make the right decision. The wrong choice in hiring is an impact multiplier that reverberates over time across your workforce, hurting the overall performance.
The most common traits that people lie about are education and employment history. University degrees are inflated or invented; gaps in employment are ignored or converted to “consulting”; credential requirements are omitted or exaggerated. Lies like these are found among applicants at all levels, from entry to C-suite. They can have significant deleterious impacts on your organization.
Some of the consequences of resume lies include:
The most common impact of a resume lie is simply that you get an employee who is less capable than you thought, and contributes less. If the bad decisions accumulate, your workforce gets progressively less productive.
Threats of Negligent Hiring
A more ominous threat is the legal liability you incur if you choose an applicant who does not actually hold the skills, character or credentials required for a position. Negligent hiring is a significant claim a customer or partner could bring if your bad hire results in an otherwise avoidable failure.
Decline in Employee Satisfaction
Even small “fibs” can cause big impacts if other employees learn about them and must compensate for the liar’s shortcomings. If enough employees are unable to perform as they have claimed, the morale of the entire workforce can be hurt.
These impacts can eventually result in damage to your reputation. Your standing in your industry and community, and the value of your brand, are important parts of the goodwill your organization can translate into sales or goal achievement.
Our new Infographic, How Resume Lying Impacts Your Hiring Results, provides an overview of resume lying and how it affects your organization. In your defense, a reliable background check system is the first step.