Employers beware: one third of job applicants lying

by 30 Jul 2010

Next time you are interviewing a candidate for a job you might want to take what they say with a pinch of salt, if a new study into jobseeker behaviour is to be believed.

Research by psychometric consulting firm SHL has found one third of job applicants are lying in their resume or interview, putting employers at risk of drawing the wrong candidate from an already shrinking talent pool.

It found that 32 per cent of job applicants stretch the truth; exaggerating work experience, offering fake references or lying about previous salaries.

Stephanie Christopher, SHL national director, said: “Organisations face an increasingly competitive job market, as the economy continues to grow in 2010. With this research confirming candidates are ‘massaging’ parts of their CV and experience, it is becoming more difficult for employers to identify and secure the right candidate.”

The research found that the most common embellishment was exaggerated or imagined work experience; with 17 per cent admitting to stretching the truth in this area. 

The next most common lies were offering friends as false employer referees (16 per cent), lying about salary packages from previous jobs (10 per cent), making up references (6 per cent) and fabricating qualifications (3 per cent).  

Christopher says that as demand for talent rises and skills shortages resurface, employers need to ensure they have a thorough recruitment process to secure the right person for the job. 

“Reading hundreds of resumes or relying on gut instinct is a time consuming and unreliable method to select, or even shortlist staff. Not only are organisations at risk of hiring the wrong candidate, there is real potential that they have culled the best person for the job before reaching the interview stage,” says Christopher.


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