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Common Ways to Identify and Verify Falsified Resumes During Interview

Abhijeet Ganguly is a technophile with a knack of solving everyday problems using technology.


Honesty is not a virtue to be adhered to, at least according to some job seekers. People frequently misrepresent on their resumes and cover letters in an effort to secure jobs, recent research by OfficeTeamhas shown. This is a 25% rise from 2011. Fifty-three per cent of executives have a grim belief that applicants are usually deceptive, and 38 per cent have rejected the candidature of individuals after finding their lies.

Resume fabrication is so rampant today that often it's very hard for the interviewer to figure out the truth from the fake statements. Before the background check experts validate the facts, the people are already recruited into the organization, leaving the company with far limited options for taking any action.

Resumes fabrication can include exaggerated salaries, overstated job responsibilities in relation to job titles and falsified education claims.

Hiring someone who has lied on their resume will lead to higher staff attrition, threaten client relationships, raise the risk of lawsuits and eventually negatively impact the revenue of the company. Such consequences can be avoided by being insightful and verifying and clarifying information right during the interview.


Common falsification pitfalls to avoid

To find the perpetrator, the interviewer has to recognize the forms of falsification that can be performed on the resumés. Falsification may be performed specifically in terms of benefits, employment, prior work experience, job description, reason for leaving and achievements.

  1. Sometimes, dates don’t add up. According to OfficeTeam, over 25% of the liars are fibbing over their job tenures. Such candidates often get caught during during face to face interview as they don’t always recall what they wrote on resume.
  2. Although all the resume lies have equal weight in terms of counterfeiting, the most common form of falsification is education. The applicants are either misleading about the degree or duration of study in order to cover the gap in years.
  3. The job title ranges from company to company; Sr. Executive and Executive have relatively little overlap in positions and responsibilities; however, Sr. Executives are paid more than Executives, and work responsibilties are often changed to fit with a position.
  4. The CTC contains only fixed and variable wage portion, although there are few designations that are paid over and above CTC as bonuses, such as mobile phone reimbursement, travel allowance, etc. Often Candidates distort the truth on these perks, as they are often paid in cash and do not appear in pay slips.
  5. The justification for quitting varies with a frequent job-hopper; one may try to distort the motives in order to explain constant job hopping.
  6. One may be an impeccable liar. Yet the subtle body language of the interviewee may be give away one’s resume lies. "The absence of eye contact or excessive fidgeting may indicate dishonesty," mentioned OfficeTeam, but such habits are not assurances of dishonesty.
  7. The last big lie on resume is about achievements, but in the event that any person misrepresent the facts, may face difficulties later, because they are supposed to work on the basis of what is stated on their resume, and that may lead to underperformance later.

Don’t become a victim of Story Telling

A job seeker won’t lie blatantly on resume, however will attempt to distort the truth about his salary or his duties in order to seem the best match for the job to interviewer. Hence one will try to make false stories about such things.

For example: If a recruiter is hiring for vacancy using an online job board, many job-seekers will fill their application and resume with matching keywords, in order to rank higher in the list of prospective applicants. In order to do so one needs to exaggerate their abilities and experience.

The best defense in these situations would be common sense when going through the resume.

Interviewer is advised to validate the claims manually, while asking the applicants about their details. Interviewer should ask for which all training programs have the candidate attended to acquire certain skills and references should be sought in case the job seeker claims to be self-employed, as one might be trying to cover up the employment gap.


Job application to be made compulsory

A skillfully designed job application will reveal information that is resume won’t uncover. For starters, no one willingly reveal details about one's criminal record unless it is stated as a mandatory information in the job application form. The response to this question would be a yes or no, in case any applicant is keeping it blank then it should be flagged with the applicant for cross verification.

An application should require a candidate to furnish details like reasons for leaving prior employers along with employment start date and end date and references for verifying one’s tenure at each employer.

The Interviewer should ensure to take the signature of the job seeker on the application form even if the form is filled online and avoid filling the missing information on behalf of applicant.

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Skills test - Another way to catch bluff-masters

It's convenient for one to say that they know everything, from conversational French to coding, on their resume. But proving one actually has those abilities is another thing entirely. Employers know how easy it is for people to exaggerate their skill set, however candidates fail to prove their point when asked to perform at a required level in skills test.


Let the job seeker do the talking

Interviewing should be a 2 way process wherein applicant needs to speak 90% of the time, while interviewer only 10%. Interviewer should utilize the opportunity effectively to clarify the truthfulness of the candidate and to learn about one’s character, by letting the applicant do all the talking. Interviewer should look out for specific instances like if the job seeker talks negative about one’s previous employers, then it can be expected that he/she will be badmouthing about your organization, as well. However, it is advised for interviewer to avoid questions about age, religion or anything that could discriminate against a candidate.

Sometime it happens that an applicant has made some error while writing on the application form which can bring suspicion into the mind of interviewer about the candidate, the best thing to do at that time, is to cross-verify with the candidate and ask for an explanation. Interviewer should never accept the response as truthful representation by the candidate without verifying the facts.

I hope this write up will be of some help to recruiter/interviewer. Please feel free to share your experiences when you come across such resume lies.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Abhijeet Ganguly


Abhijeet Ganguly (author) from Brampton, Ontario, Canada on November 16, 2013:

Thank you so much guys for your valuable feedback.

Nilesh Pal on November 15, 2013:

Very informative article. Keep up the good work.

Payal Gupta on November 15, 2013:

You have put together a great article.

Shipra Ahuja on November 15, 2013:

You have written a nice article, I donow about other countries, but in India Resume Fabrication is rampant.

Janesh Kaul on November 15, 2013:

Nice article, however, I like the pictures more that the write up.

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