Finding the right person for the job isn’t always easy – and it can be made even more difficult by candidates who aren’t entirely honest about their qualifications.
It’s not uncommon to spot a lie or exaggeration on a resume – according to a new CareerBuilder survey, 56 percent of employers have caught at least one. The most common lies they’ve discovered include embellished skill sets (62 percent), embellished responsibilities (54 percent) and dates of employment (39 percent).
Often, candidates will exaggerate their skills or experience to compensate for not meeting all the listed job requirements for the open position. However, “job requirements” may be a bit of a misnomer, as 42 percent of employers are willing to consider a candidate who meets only three out of five key job qualifications.
Not every impression is a good one
Making exaggerated claims on a resume is a fairly common mistake – though others are not so typical. Some of the most memorable blunders employers recall catching on applicants’ resumes include:
- Applicant claimed to be a former CEO of the company to which they were applying.
- Applicant claimed to be fluent in two languages – one of which was pig Latin.
- Applicant wrote “whorehouse” instead of “warehouse” when listing work history.
- Applicant’s personal website linked to a porn site.
- Applicant introduced himself [in the cover letter] by saying “Hey you.”
- Applicant vying for a customer service position gave “didn’t like dealing with angry customers” as the reason for leaving her last job.
- User name of applicant’s email address was “2poopy4mypants.”
- Applicant claimed to be a Nobel Prize winner.
- Applicant claimed to have worked in a jail when they were really in there serving time.
- Applicant who claimed to be HVAC certified later asked the hiring manager what “HVAC” meant.
- Applicant said to have gotten fired “on accident.”
- Applicant claimed to have attended a college that didn’t exist.
- Applicant for a driver position claimed to have 10 years of experience but had only had a driver’s license for four years.
- Applicant listed as a reference an employer from whom they had embezzled money and had an arrest warrant out for the applicant.
- Applicant’s stated job history had him in three different companies and three different cities simultaneously.
The right kind of attention
While the above mentioned resumes certainly got the employer’s interest, it wasn’t an interest in hiring the applicant. When asked what attributes would cause them to pay more attention to certain resumes, employers named the following:
- A resume that is customized for their open position: 61 percent
- A resume that is accompanied by a cover letter: 49 percent
- A resume that is addressed to the hiring manager or recruiter by name: 26 percent
- A resume that includes links to the applicant’s online portfolio, blog or website: 21 percent
Listing desired skills as “requirements” may be scaring away quality candidates. If you’re having trouble attracting applicants, consider offering on-the-job training for some of those skills, and make this clear in the job posting.
What are the strangest or most memorable resume mistakes you’ve caught? Let us know by Tweeting @CBforEmployers.