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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
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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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Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
8/14/2014 | 4:38:33 AM
Re: Resume Liars
@zerox203, interesting points, the trade-off is very real, if an individual has devoted a greater proportion of their time towards education, work and growth, then this has left them with a lower level of people-skills and a smaller social network. If computers are left out of the equation, and individuals with better people-skills are the only ones that get into the door then, the forecast for long-term growth and innovation would not look good.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
8/14/2014 | 4:20:37 AM
Re: Flawed Human Nature and The Resume
@Susan, I think, lying is another form of "a resource grab". For example, if a distribution center says that they have already shipped an order to a store but in reality they are going to begin processing an order the next day, over time, the store waiting for the delivery is just going to think that deliveries normally takes 10 days, when in reality the logistics could work out in 5 days.

Or, an employer could be looking for X years of experience/education onto which they would be willing to allocate training resources, to bring the new hire up to a desired level, for the current job. Lying in the years of experience/education by a prospective might get them into the door, but again, it would be a resources grab on their part and overall, resources would be wasted.   
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
8/13/2014 | 8:41:50 PM
Re: Flawed Human Nature and The Resume
Your resume may get you in the door, but your interview will determine how far you get. As others have mentioned, though, ensuring the good candidates get in the door is a possible flaw in using applicant tracking systems.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
8/13/2014 | 4:35:00 PM
Re: Flawed Human Nature and The Resume
@ philyrivera. I completelly agree with you people as less likely to lie to somenone if they are refered by a friends becuase it can damage their relationship.  Also, due to the economic crisis people are more prone to lie in order to get a job, any job.
majenkins
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majenkins,
User Rank: Ninja
8/13/2014 | 11:51:26 AM
How About the "Other Side"
I wonder about employers that lie in their ads or job listings. Someone should do a survey on that.
phillyrivera
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phillyrivera,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/13/2014 | 11:05:35 AM
Re: Flawed Human Nature and The Resume
Let's not forget another aspect of human nature - desperation. I think you can chalk some of this up to long-term unemployed candidates, especially post-recession, trying to find a way to make a living. What's the harm in a few embellishments if you feel it will get you to an interview or even just a return phone call? That doesn't make it right, but might explain some of what's going on here.

Another issue is that technology moves so fast. I remember when clients would ask for someone with 5 years of experience in a technology that had only been around for 2 years. I still see resumes with things like that. That's why I believe recruiting still needs to be personal - and done by humans. All this technology and we still see that referrals are the best source (even if some do come through social media). It's harder to lie to someone directly, or to lie when a friend referred you.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
8/13/2014 | 10:36:31 AM
Re: Flawed Human Nature and The Resume
Technorati & Kristin 

For some reason, this article immediately reminded me to this article on tricks to apear smart during meetings. It seems like the perfect complement to one of those resumes. 

Technorati, you say: "With the competition for employment being what it is - lying or embellishment of skills was destine to become more commonplace."

So, I wonder, who do you think is the one to blame here, the employees, or the employers, or unemployment? I am not saying resemes don't have to be honest. I am wondering if some people don't feel push to the edge and see the embellisment of their skills as the only way out to get a job. What do you think? 

"Unfortunately, this speaks to a flaw in human nature which I have given up trying to figure out much less trying to rectify."

I know what you mean. Yet, every time the topic of "human nature" is brought in onto the table I can't help but questioning about what human nature really is, or if this is just yet another invention of society to justify the unjustifiable, which is what I think "human nature" is. :/ You see? 

-Susan 

 

 
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
8/13/2014 | 9:53:53 AM
Re: Resume Liars
I'm not sure how I feel about this topic. The results of the survey are interesting, but they immediately raise a few questions, and leave me a little skeptical. Employment history is simple enough, but how do these managers supposedly know someone is lying about their skills? That seems more or less impossible to do without seeing the person in action, doesn't it? Aren't previous employers restricted by law to only discuss start and end dates and a few select other topic (or am I mistaken about that?) - so that puts 'responsibilities' in a grey area as well.

If they're saying they suspected someone was lying, that opens up way too much room for bias and subjectivity for my taste. For example, only 7% of the people surveyed said they would look past a lie if they liked a candidate... but that might be because they chose to believe a candidate they liked wasn't lying (when he was) and falsely believed a candidate they didn't like was lying. Like Thomas, I feel like the very presence of computers in this process throws a wrench into these numbers, too. Too much room for false positives (or false negatives) or simply skewing the hiring manager's expectations. It was worth the read just to discover the higher incidence of these problems in IT jobs, though.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
8/13/2014 | 1:34:25 AM
Flawed Human Nature and The Resume
Thanks Kristin for addressing resume Liars. This has been going on since the very first resume and I don't see an end to it ever. With the competition for employment being what it is - lying or embellishment of skills was destine to become more commonplace.

Unfortunately, this speaks to a flaw in human nature which I have given up trying to figure out much less trying to rectify.
Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
User Rank: Ninja
8/12/2014 | 10:41:49 PM
Re: Catch 22 & Who do your really know?
Good point about the false positives but I also think that people are applying for jobs that they are not qualified at all or very unqualified.  So as a result they lie about meeting the criteria when in fact they don't.  The internet makes it very easy to find jobs, very easy to apply but the net result is that it makes potential employers struggle to the point the jobs never get filled.   Due to the overwhelming amount of resumes and just too many candidates to properly filter and qualify.  I think we will go back, if we are not already there, that it does not really matter what you know, but it really does, but rather who you know.
<<   <   Page 2 / 3   >   >>
Research: 2014 US IT Salary Survey
Research: 2014 US IT Salary Survey
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