Liar, Liar – How to Detect Resume Misrepresentation

February 24, 2019by Lisa Philp

A survey conducted by CareerBuilder has revealed that just over 50% of all job candidates admit to bending the truth during the hiring process.

So, if one out of every two candidates might be less than honest when sharing their past experience, or altering some or all of their entire resume, what are things you should look out for in your next candidate? Results from the CareerBuilder survey identify the following as the most common inaccuracies found by recruiters:

  • Embellished skillsets: 57 percent;
  • Embellished responsibilities: 55 percent;
  • Dates of employment: 42 percent;
  • Job titles: 34 percent;
  • Academic degrees: 33 percent;
  • Past employers: 26 percent; and
  • Accolades or awards: 18 percent.

Let’s review a few ways you can uncover these mistruths and prevent hiring someone who has provided you with something other than the truth.

Ask for Proof

Ensure candidates are honest regarding academic credentials specifically; consider communicating to candidates that upon being invited to attend an interview, they will be asked to provide proof of credentials, such as transcripts, certificates, or licenses.

Don’t ignore what’s in front of you.

Some of the items that may be cause for red flags include:

  • Unexplained gaps in the applicant’s work or education timeline;
  • Conflicting details or overlapping dates;
  • Career regression or a ‘downward’ trend;
  • Use of qualifiers such as “knowledge of” or “assisted in” when describing work experience;
  • Listing schools attended without indicating receipt of a degree or diploma;

Ask more questions!

Behavioral interview questions require candidates to describe how they responded to given situations in the past. Phrasing these questions using common dental terms and processes appropriate to the position can help verify that the candidate knows their stuff. Situational interview questions, on the other hand, describe important or decisive situations that are likely to be encountered on the job, and ask the applicant what they would do in those situations.

Ask them to show you

Many times, the easiest way to discover whether a candidate is stretching the truth is simply to have the candidate to show you what they know. Onsite skill-based assessments are a common practice to discover the right fit.

Don’t skip the reference checking

Finally, no hiring process should be complete without a few reference checks. Reference checks verify the accuracy of the information provided by the candidate, and can uncover patterns of desirable or counterproductive behaviour in an applicant’s work history. Even just verifying dates and titles can make a huge difference. Before you begin checking references, ensure you have the candidate’s express consent first

For more information on our Human Resources module click here

All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form, or by any means whatsoever, without written permission from Transitions Consulting Group Inc. If you would like further information about Transitions Group Inc.’s services please telephone 800-345-5157, fax 905-681-1180, email:

Lisa Philp