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8/12/2014
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IT Job Seekers: Resume Liars

IT hiring managers report catching more instances of lying than the national average, making IT the third worst industry for dishonest resumes, according to a CareerBuilder report.

9 Job Hunt Tips For Older IT Pros
9 Job Hunt Tips For Older IT Pros
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

If you're in the market for a new job, a good first impression starts with your resume. But according to a new survey, many job candidates -- especially in IT -- tend not to tell the truth.

Harris Poll and CareerBuilder surveyed more than 2,188 hiring managers nationwide and found that lying on resumes is surprisingly common. More than half (58%) said they have spotted lies, while one-third said that fibbing has increased since the recession.

IT hiring managers, however, reported catching more instances of lying (63%) than the national average, which earns tech candidates the No. 3 spot as the most-dishonest job seekers. IT was trumped only by the leisure and hospitality industry (71%) and financial services (73%). The top five also included healthcare (63%) and retail (59%).

Matt Rivera, VP of marketing at IT staffing firm Yoh, said that one reason IT candidates may feel pressure to embellish the truth is to make it past a company's applicant tracking system (ATS). "There's this perception that their resumes will be vetted by a computer, so if they don't list the keywords and skills that the company is looking for, they may not get a call," he said in an interview.

[How does your job stack up? Read IT Salaries: 8 Cold Hard Facts.]

A candidate's skill set, in fact, was the most embellished part of a resume (57%), the report found. Responsibilities (55%), dates of employment (42%), job titles (34%), academic degrees (33%), the companies they worked for (26%), and accolades and awards (18%) were among the other top misrepresentations.

While these fibs might get you past an ATS -- which are most common at large companies, Rivera noted -- beware: Employers are taking more time to review individual resumes, the survey found. Forty-two percent of hiring managers said they spend more than two minutes reviewing each resume, up from 33% in December.

When employers do find the inevitable half-truth, they're split on how to handle it. Slightly more than half (51%) said they would automatically dismiss a candidate if they caught a lie on their resume, while 40% said it would depend on what that candidate lied about. Just 7% of employers said they would be willing to overlook a lie if they liked the candidate.

"You need to remember that you're starting a relationship with the employer and it's always good to start it off on honest footing," Rivera said. "Having any embellishments on your resume will put doubt in their mind from the very beginning. You don't want them thinking that there might be other things you're lying about or not telling them."

Rosemary Haefner, VP of HR at CareerBuilder, warned that lying on your resume compromises any trust you may have with a hiring manager. "Trust is very important in professional relationships, and by lying on your resume you breach that trust from the very outset," she said in a statement.

Instead, focus on tangible examples from your actual experiences, she advised. "Your resume doesn't necessarily have to be the perfect fit for an organization, but it needs to be relevant and accurate." 

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Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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phillyrivera
IW Pick
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phillyrivera,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/12/2014 | 5:59:44 PM
Re: Catch 22
Good points from both of you. Automated vetting of candidates is not a fine science and companies who use this should be asking themselves: Are we letting in the right people, or excluding good people? Without some human intervention, analysis or ongoing optimization of the process, you could be thinking you are getting good results, but either missing good people or getting unqualified candidates, causing extra work for your recruiters.
Thomas Claburn
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0%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
8/12/2014 | 4:25:38 PM
Re: Catch 22
Are most resume lies caught by careful research or automated flagging? If the latter, I'd expect some false positives. I wonder if that's an issue.
TerryB
100%
0%
TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
8/12/2014 | 12:53:58 PM
Re: Whew!
You found me out. I sure wasn't putting "failed Presidential candidate" on my resume, nobody hires a loser.  :-)
Laurianne
0%
100%
Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
8/12/2014 | 12:42:27 PM
Re: Whew!
Wait, are you Al Gore in disguise, Terry?
Laurianne
100%
0%
Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
8/12/2014 | 12:41:41 PM
Catch 22
"There's this perception that their resumes will be vetted by a computer, so if they don't list the keywords and skills that the company is looking for, they may not get a call." Yes, we have heard this repeatedly from job seekers. Yet lying is not a good option, either. Vetting resumes by computer certainly has its downsides, doesn't it? My resume has the right keywords but doesn't tell you who I am. My recommendations do...
TerryB
100%
0%
TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
8/12/2014 | 12:37:51 PM
Whew!
Sure glad my company never checked on whether I invented the Internet or not....
<<   <   Page 3 / 3
Research: 2014 US IT Salary Survey
Research: 2014 US IT Salary Survey
Our survey of nearly 12,000 respondents shows IT pays well -- staffers rack up a median total compensation of $92,000, and managers hit $120,000. Industry matters. And the gender pay gap is real and getting wider.
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