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.

Kristin Burnham, Senior Editor,

August 12, 2014

3 Min Read

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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About the Author(s)

Kristin Burnham

Senior Editor,

Kristin Burnham currently serves as'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, most recently as senior writer. Kristin's writing has earned an ASBPE Gold Award in 2010 for her Facebook coverage and a Min Editorial and Design Award in 2011 for "Single Online Article." She is a graduate of Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

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