HR admits to lying on resumes more often than other departments

Dive Brief:

  • Employees in HR were 10% more likely to admit lying on a resume or in an interview than workers in other departments, according to a new ethics study from Comparably. The company cited the definition of ethics as “the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group or culture.” Respondents were asked if they ever lied or exaggerated on a resume or interview question, how often they lied to their boss and which qualities are the most important when hiring someone new. The results were categorized by gender, ethnicity, tenure, age and department.
  • Following HR, the biggest prevaricators were mostly men, especially in business development, communications, design and engineering, and law, the study showed. Women were the biggest offenders in office administration, and C-suite respondents said they seldom lied on resumes or in interviews.
  • In age groups, more people age 51-55 have lied to get a job than other age groups — something Comparably partly attributes to the potential difficulty of getting a job for that age group. Overall, nearly a third of respondents admitted lying to their boss at least once.

Dive Insight:

The biggest surprise in the survey results may be HR’s mea culpa. Employers often look to HR to establish and enforce ethical standards in their organizations, and that includes hiring candidates not just for their qualifications but also for their honesty and integrity. The lesson here is if employers want trustworthy workers, they must be trustworthy organizations with trustworthy leaders.

Nearly half the recruiters in a 2018 TopResume survey agreed that catching a lie on a resume is a deal-breaker. And although half of the recruiters said their decision whether to hire would depend on the nature of the lie, nearly all said falsehoods would give them pause before bringing someone on board. Notably, 66% of employers consistently perform background checks, that survey showed — but background checks may not be the only solution for HR managers.

In fact, HR may be creating its own problem by inflating requirements on job listings and descriptions and not focusing on what really matters for a particular job, experts previously told HR Dive. “To our own detriment, when trying to glorify a position to attract a better candidate, we inflate our pipeline with resumes exaggerated to meet the requirements of the position,” Tammy Cohen, chief visionary officer and founder of InfoMart, previously told HR Dive. A well-built job description can cull multiple birds with one stone, opening up talent pipelines and reducing exaggeration by candidates to get through the screening process.


Filed Under: HR

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