Four in 10 Workers Know Someone Who Lied on Resume: OfficeTeam Survey

Sep 27, 2011 | Corporate Member News

When a resume looks too good to be true, it just might be, according to recent research from OfficeTeam. Forty-seven per cent of managers polled believe job seekers include dishonest information on their resumes somewhat or very often. Some workers agree that what you see isn’t always what you get: More than four in 10 (44 per cent) said they know someone who stretched the truth on these documents. Job duties (72 per cent) and education (41 per cent) were cited as areas that are embellished most frequently.

The surveys of managers and workers were developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. They were conducted by an independent research firm and include responses from 304 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees and 648 workers 18 years of age or older.

Managers were asked, “In your opinion, how often do job applicants include dishonest or exaggerated information on their resumes?” Their responses:

Very often 12%
Somewhat often 35%
Not very often 40%
Never 7%
Don’t know/no answer 7%

    *Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding. 

Workers were asked, “Do you know anyone who misrepresented or exaggerated information on his or her resume?” Their responses:

Yes 44%
No 56%

 Workers who know someone who has misrepresented or exaggerated information on his or her resume also were asked, “What type of information did they misrepresent or exaggerate on their resume?” Their responses*:

Job duties 72%
Education 41%
Employment dates 27%
Other 15%

*Multiple responses allowed 

“Unfortunately, employers can’t always take everything on a resume at face value,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “That’s why it’s so important to get to know a prospective hire by probing for specifics during the interview, conducting thorough reference checks and testing skills where appropriate.”

OfficeTeam offers five tips to help employers verify information on resumes: 

1.  Watch for ambiguity. When reviewing resumes, question vague descriptions of skills (e.g., “familiar with,” “involved in”) which may be signs that a professional is trying to hide a lack of relevant work experience.

2.  Ask once, ask twice. Pose interview questions that relate to specific skills needed. For example, if a candidate must know a particular software program, ask how he or she has used the technology in previous roles. If an applicant’s response is ambiguous, don’t be afraid to rephrase the question.

3.  Get the facts. Ask references to confirm basic information such as the candidate’s employment history, job titles, responsibilities and salary. If they’re willing to talk further, delve into their thoughts on the individual’s strengths and weaknesses, interpersonal skills, and ability to work on a team.

4.  Branch out. Inquire if references know of others you can speak to about promising candidates. Also, tap your own network to find mutual acquaintances who might be able to shed light on the prospective hire’s background and character.

5.  Put them to the test. To get a true sense of a candidate’s abilities, consider hiring the person on a temporary basis before extending a full-time offer. This allows both parties to assess whether the position is a fit.

About OfficeTeam

OfficeTeam is a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals on a temporary and temporary-to-full-time basis. The company has more than 315 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at

For further information: Nadia Santoli, (416) 350-2330, [email protected]

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