TORONTO – 22 October 2014 – Job seekers know how important it can be to make a good first impression, and some are even willing to bend the truth in order to succeed. Over half (55 per cent) of Canadian employers say they’ve caught a lie on a resume, and 40 per cent of these employers say they’ve been catching more lies post-recession.
The Canadian national survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder.ca from May 13 to June 6, 2014 and included more than 400 hiring managers and human resource professionals and more than 400 workers across industries and company sizes.
The Review Process
Job seekers may not realize how much their resumes are likely to be scrutinized by prospective employers. While 34 per cent of employers say they take less than a minute reviewing each resume for a job they’re hiring for, 30 per cent take between a minute and less than 2 minutes, and 36 per cent spend at least 2 minutes with each resume.
Additionally, 90 per cent of employers say that, on average, more than one person looks at a candidate’s resume, including 61 per cent who say resumes are viewed by at least 3 people.
Over a quarter (28 per cent) of employers say they typically receive fewer than 25 resumes for an open position, while 31 per cent receive between 25 and 50. Twenty-seven per cent get between 51 and 100 resumes, and 14 per cent say they usually receive over 100.
Fitting the Crime
Employers are split on whether lying on a resume is grounds for immediate dismissal, with 52 per cent saying they don’t automatically take a candidate out of the running. Forty per cent of employers said it would depend on what the lie is, and 15 per cent said they’d overlook a lie if they like the candidate enough.
“Our data shows that, while some employers may be willing to look past some lies, job seekers who are dishonest on their resumes run a significant risk,” says Mark Bania, Director of CareerBuilder Canada. “Employers are looking for people they can trust and depend on. Keep your resume accurate, and emphasize relevant skills you’ve developed through actual work experience.”
Among those employers who have caught lies on resumes, the most common ones seen include embellished responsibilities (60 per cent) and skill sets (57 per cent), followed by previous job title (42 per cent) and dates of employment (36 per cent). Candidates have also tried to sneak in lies about the companies they’ve worked for (30 per cent), academic degrees (30 per cent) and accolades and awards (21 per cent).
Some people get a little bolder with their fib-telling. When asked what was the most memorable lie they’ve caught on a resume, employers responded:
- A 32 year old applicant with 18 years of experience on resume.
- Applicant said he worked at a company for 2 years. He worked there for 2 days, got fired, and was unemployed for 2 years.
- Applicant claimed responsibility for fundraising $750K when only $500K is accounted for.
- Applicant claimed to have “attention to detail” and spelled “attention” incorrectly.
- Applicant faked an entire academic profile with supporting documents, all of which were faked.
- Applicant said he was Prime Minister during ‘90s.
- Applicant claimed to have been in the Marine Corps, despite living his whole life in Canada, where there is no Marine Corps.
- Applicant said he had been a VP at Microsoft in 2010. He didn’t graduate university until 2012.
- Applicant got his name wrong between the cover letter and resume.
- Applicant claimed to have worked for the Olympic Committee.
This survey was conducted online within Canada by HarrisPoll on behalf of CareerBuilder.ca among 431 Canadian hiring managers (employed full-time; not self-employed; non-government) and 422 Canadian employees ages 18 and over between May 13 and June 6, 2014 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With pure probability samples of 431 and 422 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results among Canadian employees have sampling errors of +/-4.71 and +/-4.77 percentage points, respectively. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.
CareerBuilder.ca is a leading job site in Canada. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), the Tribune Company, The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), CareerBuilder.ca powers the career centers for more than 250 Canadian partners that reach national, local, industry and niche audiences. Job seekers visit CareerBuilder.ca every month to search for opportunities by industry, location, company and job type, sign up for automatic e-mail job alerts, and get advice on job hunting and career management. For more information about CareerBuilder.ca products and services, visit http://www.careerbuilder.ca.