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    Why Is It Not A Good Idea To Lie On Your Resume?

    By Parisraja Bajpai
    4 Aug'22  6 min read
    Why Is It Not A Good Idea To Lie On Your Resume?

    You genuinely want a particular job but lack that one qualification or skill which the recruiters demand that the candidates should have. Would you consider lying on your resume then? How can you get caught and what can be the consequences of lying on resume? Under what circumstances is lying on your resume okay? Read to know.

    Why Is It Not A Good Idea To Lie On Your Resume?

    You genuinely want a particular job but lack that one qualification or skill which the recruiters demand that the candidates should have. Would you consider lying on your resume then? How can you get caught and what can be the consequences of lying on resume? Under what circumstances is lying on your resume okay? Read to know.

    Every person applying for a job wishes to appear as the best suited candidate for the job role in question, which is the very reason why people often choose lying on resume. Candidates engage in lying on resume about work experience across varying degrees. Starting from faking an undergraduate degree of graduation, to the school/ university you attended, to fudging your employment experience. It is often explained as modifying the truth and not lying.

    Precisely, this is called ‘embellishment’. An example of embellishment could be – you claim 3-year work experience when you actually have one, or you claim to have advanced knowledge of Excel while actually you only know its basics. In embellishment, you exaggerate the truth whereas in lying, you simply display information which is not true. Both are common practices undertaken by job seekers, often without getting a fair idea of the consequences.

    Resume is not an actual legal document. You have a choice of what to add and what not to add on your resume, but there are always chances that misleading an employer can lead you into trouble.

    How Will You Get Caught?

    The real question is how will they actually find out? It’s true many of those in HR and management don’t really read your resume thoroughly and just give it a soft glance before asking you to come down for an interview. So, the ways lies on resumes are usually caught are the following:-

    The Great Interview

    When candidates have been lying on resume, they are often not able to talk in-depth about the kind of experience they have written about in their CV, or about how they have applied their skills since they don’t actually have the kind of experience they have mentioned.They are not able to answer the questions posed to them during the interview about the skills they “supposedly” posses. The consequence of lying on resume would then be the management easily sensing that the candidate doesn't know what s/he is talking about.

    Also Read | Facing Job Interview Questions: 5 Professionals Share Experiences, Tips For Freshers

    References, Verification, And Stories

    An interviewer might ask you - “So you were in Google before this?”; “Which building?” ; “Do you know John Doe from finance?” They could similarly ask you questions about the faculty or seniors of the university/school you attended. Most interviewers have been in the industry for long and would already have established connections. They would know people and things, and would expect you to know the same. Even if they don’t ask for such details, the HR would mandatorily call or verify the details given by you with your previous employer. Any inconsistencies found during your background check would be noticed by the recruiter.

    The Internet – A Fact Checker

    Today, everything is on the net. A simple Google search by your prospective employer in a minute could reveal that you have been lying on your resume. A little Sherlock Holmes would discover that the university you claim to have graduated from doesn’t provide a Master’s in Business, or that the company you work for wrapped up its operations two years back. The internet is smart and can help your prospective employer sought all information you have been trying to hide.

    lying on resume, should you lie on your resume, common lies on resumes, can you lie on your resume, lying on your resume, lying on cv, when you lie on your resume, lying on resume about work experience, i lied on my resume and got the job, lying about job title on resume, consequences of lying on resume, lied about employment dates background checkThe Internet Can Help Your Prospective Employer Sought All Information You Have Been Trying To Hide.

    Body Language Speaks

    Turning your body away from the interviewer, avoiding eye contact, looking down while answering questions, fidgeting, are all signals that inadvertently convey you are lying. While we communicate, we give out many verbal and non-verbal cues. The confidence with which you answer questions in an interview majorly impacts your chances of getting hired for the job.

    What If You Lie?

    What are some of the potential issues that could arise from lying on your resume and how may this impact your future? Here are a few possible consequences.

    Pink Slip For Cause

    In an ideal situation you pass the screening process and are offered a job at the company with a resume which you lied on or embellished, you might think that it’s over and the lie won’t come back to haunt you. But, that’s not the case. Even three years down the line, you can be asked to leave on the basis of fault of your own, which in this case is lying. You can be laid off immediately without notice or compensation.

    May Affect Future Employment

    Unfortunately, this can also carry through with you for the rest of your career. One question, you will come across question a lot in the span of applying for jobs is – “Have you been terminated or asked to resign from a company?” You are then going to have to say a ‘yes’. The next question that will follow will be – “Tell us why?” Companies consider truthfulness and integrity as core values and business ethics. From the perspective of the organisation, if you have been lying on your resume, it becomes a question on your honesty as a future employee.

    Poor Job Performance

    What you don’t know, you can’t do. Lying on resume about work experience will become transparent to an employer and affect your evaluation when you are not able to perform tasks assigned to you on the job. Poor performance will potentially lead to employer’s dissatisfaction with your work, and eventually may result in termination.

    Stained Reputation

    Once the management have found out you have lied, you will most likely be blacklisted from the organisation and its subsidiaries, clients, or vendors, which would mean you would have already tainted your chances of getting hired at a majority of places. It will likely become a stain which will not go away.. If you went in through a recruiting agency and later got fired, you will be on the radar there too. With a ruined rep, it will make it more difficult to get a job down the road.

    Also Read | 9 Steps To Writing A Good Resume For High School And College Students

    When Is It Okay To Lie?

    There are instances when you can be clever about how you present the information about yourself. For example, there could be a job for which having a master’s degree is a prerequisite. You could have started with the classes but still not obtained the degree. In such a case you can mention in your resume that you are pursuing a master’s. You have technically not lied and have been truthful, and the final call remains the company’s, in whatsoever case.

    This can be applied not just to education, but to skills as well. Maybe you are pursuing a course to develop a particular skill that is required for the job you are targeting - you can mention that in your CV. Your profile may be considered if the employers are operating flexibly and can sense your enthusiasm towards the position.

    Know The Rules

    Every state and jurisdiction will have a different set of rules for the lies you list down on your resume. For example, in Texas, it’s illegal to claim you have a degree when, in reality, you don’t. You will be considered fraud if you sign a legal document which states that information, documents provided by you to the employer are true. Organisations have different approaches on how to deal with such deceitfulness and it may turn out unfavourable before you realise.

    Needless to say, the job market is very competitive and there are plenty of applicants for one job position. For this, there are many AI-based trackers that would help recruiters find out based on keywords. These AI-based applicant trackers are heavily biased because they will see you and your profile in binary of ones and zeroes. You either have a particular skill or don’t, you either have the Master’s in HR or you don’t. A person sifting through applications will look at you holistically and in totality barring the “requirements” for the job.

    Nonetheless, in this highly competitive industry, writing a thorough cover letter that lists your willingness, qualifications, qualities, and experience could be a better option than lying on your resume.

    Parisraja Bajpai is an Organisational Psychologist, with extensive hand-on experience in talent acquisition, talent management, employee counselling, employee engagement, training and development. She is currently heading HR department at Nexstgo. All views expressed in this article are solely the author’s and do not represent those of the organisation she is associated with.

    • Cognition
    • Cognitive science
    • Psychological concepts
    • Communication
    • Recruitment
    • Experience
    • Résumé
    • Employment
    • Background check
    • Nonverbal communication

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