How to Spot the Top 7 Resume′ Lies

When the job market is tight and jobs are tough to come by, applicants desperate for work will resort to lying about:

  • Job Title (Rank)
  • Dates of Employment
  • Inflated Salary
  • Criminal Records
  • Education (e.g. Bogus Degrees-Diploma Mills)
  • Professional License (e.g. MD, RN, CPA, etc.)
  • “Ghost” Company (self-owned business)


The best way to identify the top 7 resume′ lies is to do a thorough background pre-screening of all prospective employees. Ideally, an employment pre-screening should be left to a professional employee screening company that has the experience and skills to perform a thorough employment background screening, including a criminal records search.

Job Title (Rank)

 The main reason candidates embellish a job title is to promote themselves into a senior position. Rather than work their way up the ranks they give themselves a promotion, which is usually attached to an inflated raise. A thorough reference check will usually reveal these self-promoters.

Dates of employment

Some errors involving dates of employment are understandable, others questionable.

When an employee is caught adding years to his tenure at a company this raises issues, such as the reasons for shorter tenure and the possibility he is covering “employment gaps.” In this situation a thorough reference check will reveal any inconsistencies.

Inflated Salary

One of the reasons employees inflate their salaries is because it is difficult to get a salary verification from past employers due to confidentiality issues. Sneaky employees are aware of this and use it to their advantage. A match against the verification of past job  titles through a reference check will help catch this type of job applicant.

Criminal Records

One of the main reasons job applicants will sometimes lie about their criminal history is fear of a rejected job application. They will lie regardless of how petty or serious the crime was.

A more serious reason is the actual covering of criminal activity with the intent to repeat the criminal behavior in a new position. Examples may be a daycare applicant who has been charged or convicted of molestation or the accountant who stole from a previous employer. It is important that all employees go through a criminal background screening.

Education (e.g. Bogus Degrees-Diploma Mills)

Graduating yourself seems to be a popular lie on resumes′. Other times the applicant has basically stolen another person’s identity by “borrowing” information on a resume′. It is important to verify an educational background so that identity thieves are avoided.

Professional License (e.g. MD, RN, CPA, etc.)

Just as some applicants are “graduating” themselves, they are adding unearned titles to their names. This will usually go hand in hand with the “bogus” diploma or fake education on the resume′. It is doubly important for an employer to verify education as avoiding this step can land an employer in court and in huge financial trouble due to negligent hiring lawsuits. This is especially important in the medical field.

“Ghost” Company (self-owned business)

A “ghost company” is a made up company or employer by a job applicant. It is added to a resume′ or job application to appear more experienced or to cover gaps in an employment history. Some applicants will use “ghost companies” to cover up gaps of employment due to incarceration. A criminal background screening is needed to uncover this possibility.

Identifying the top 7 resume′ lies

According to a survey, only 5% of workers actually admit to fibbing on their resumes, but 57% of hiring managers say they have caught a lie on a candidate’s application. Hiring a pre-employment background-screening agency is one of the best ways an employer can help avoid unethical employees, employees with a criminal background and financial loss!


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