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What Employers Need to Know About Honesty and Resumes

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Resumes perform an important function in the hiring process. They help employers determine whether a prospective employee has the skills, credentials, and experience to do well in a particular job. But, are resumes always an accurate reflection of a candidate’s qualifications? No. In fact, very often, they are not.

New survey results reveal that a surprisingly high percentage of job seekers are not honest on their resumes. This article will describe these findings in greater detail and explore what they mean for employers— and at a time when so many are already struggling to fill open positions.

Concerned about how to fill your many open positions quickly and responsibly? Orange Tree’s pre-employment screening services have helped many employers hire the right employees faster and more smoothly.

Not Being Honest on a Resume: How Common Is It?

According to a report by local television news affiliate CBS 21, a national survey of anonymous job seekers found that only 72 percent of resumes in the U.S. are accurate. (In other words, 28 percent of resumes mislead prospective employers about the candidate’s qualifications.)

In Pennsylvania, the rate of misrepresentation on resumes was even higher: 38 percent of resumes were not accurate, meaning that only 62 percent of resumes provided a truthful accounting of skills, experience, and job readiness.

Another news report, this one on ESPN Radio 104.5 FM, stated that New Yorkers looking for jobs are stretching the truth on resumes at the same rate as job seekers nationwide. The report, which summarized findings from the same study mentioned above, noted that only 72 percent of New Yorker resumes are accurate.

This begs the question: If lying on a resume is so common, what do people lie about? Mostly education and employment experience, apparently. According to the survey, 25 percent of survey respondents reported an incorrect previous job title; 15 percent of respondents listed an inaccurate level of experience; and 15 percent fabricated their level of education and training.

Although the survey did not inquire about it, applicants have also been known to falsify their name on resumes. A verification of identity should therefore be part of most preemployment background checks.

How Hiring Someone Who Wasn't Truthful on Their Resume Can Affect the Bottom Line

What happens if an employer misses an inflated credential, fails to spot the unexplained gaps in employment, or accidentally overlooks an invented title from a candidate’s last job? They may hire someone who is unqualified for the position, both ethically and in terms of the skills required, and that can directly affect the employer’s bottom line.

Here are some of the potential risks and effects of hiring someone who has lied on their resume to get the job:

  • Lower Productivity is perhaps the most obvious consequence. When a new employee proves unable to carry out the duties and responsibilities of their role, over time their decisions and actions can erode productivity.
  • Lost Revenue occurs when an employer realizes they’ve made a mistake and replaces the poorly performing employee with someone more suitable for the job. Employee turnover is incredibly expensive, even with hourly employees.
  • Damage to Reputation can occur when a new hire’s incompetence and inability to do their job become evident to customers and partners. In some cases, the negative impact on an organization’s brand can be hard to recover from.
  • Unethical Practices may develop. A person who lies on their resume may lie in other work-related areas, too, like on a timesheet of hours worked. They may be inclined to cut corners on jobs or steal supplies or money. Studies have shown that unethical business practices are directly related to lower revenue, productivity, and morale.
  • Employee Morale can be negatively affected by an unqualified new hire. If they cannot do their job to such a degree that other employees are having to pick up the slack, correct mistakes, or take on responsibilities that are not technically theirs, that inevitably drains employee satisfaction.
  • Threats of Negligent Hiring and Lawsuits are the last thing any employer wants to deal with. Unfortunately, if an employer hires someone who is unqualified for a position, the employer can be held legally liable for that employee’s failures and mistakes.

These risks and effects can affect a business's bottom line in often powerful ways.

Employers That May Be More Affected by Falsified Resumes

Employers in many industries are still struggling to fill open positions. With the holiday season fast approaching, the job crunch may be especially acute in seasonally affected industries like retail and hospitality. Because of their urgent need to hire more people more quickly, companies and businesses in these industries may be more affected by misleading resumes. (After all, if you’re rushing to hire more staff to work the cash register or wait on tables, you may be tempted to second guess the importance of a background check— or forget it altogether.)

In a rush to hire seasonal help? Don’t forget about the background check! At Orange Tree, our pre-employment screening tools allow us to quickly and easily verify whether an applicant’s resume is accurate.

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How Pre-employment Background Checks Can Help Protect Employers

Today many employers are fielding resumes at an accelerated pace, but many of those resumes may misrepresent a job applicant’s skills, training, and work experience. Preemployment background checks can help protect employers from hiring the wrong people and hurting their bottom line. At Orange Tree, we provide verification services that give employers peace of mind that they are hiring a qualified and ethical person for an open position. We can:

  • verify candidates’ employment history, including titles held, length of employment, salary, and other relevant information
  • confirm an applicant’s educational degrees and professional licenses
  • conduct a character check by interviewing the candidate’s references and inquiring about the candidate’s reputation and integrity

The whole background screening process is fast, easy, and effective. It is also tailored for each client’s personalized needs. Interested in learning more? Consider a free consultation with one of our specialists. Or get started now with our online platform: 

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