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4 ways to spot the lies on a CV

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With bad hires costing companies time and money, hiring managers need to be able to pinpoint the right – and honest – candidates more efficiently.

But let’s face it – it can be tempting to embellish a resume in an attempt to be that perfect job candidate.

According to a thread on Reddit, lying on resumes is more common than we would like to believe.

The website’s users are more than willing to admit they’ve fudged their resumes, with one confessing: “No one was responding to my resume so I put that I have a BA on it and suddenly the phone started ringing. I got hired by a temp agency after that and no one has ever checked.”

Another user shared: “I lied, or at least hugely exaggerated my experience. The first 12 months were really hard as I was always paranoid people would call me out if I admitted to not knowing something, so I essentially faked it until I made it.

“I focused on building strong relationships rather than relying on knowledge which I didn’t possess. It worked though, promoted twice in three years. Don’t regret it but not sure I’d do it again. I got lucky with a great boss this time.”

So with employees admitting to have either lied or “exaggerated” on their resumes, here are four red flags hiring managers should be looking out for when screening the next batch of candidates.

1. Their offline and online personas don’t match up

The good news with social media being such a major part of many people’s lives is that they are most likely to share nearly everything online.

If a simple search of the candidate online produces an impression vastly different from the person presented in the resume, there may be a disparity between reality and fiction. It may be worth doing a bit more investigation online and offline to make sure the numbers add up.

2. They forget their own resume

This should be an easy one to spot. Candidates don’t usually have their own resume in front of them during an interview, especially if it is being conducted face to face. So if they are unable to answer a query you have about something they have listed, or struggle to elaborate on a point, you’re looking at a major red flag.

If you suspect a piece of information on the candidate’s resume is not all it seems, keep pressing for answers. Chances are they won’t admit to having lied (though some have), but it will give you a better idea of how truthful the candidate is being.

3. They don’t look as qualified in person

While we should never judge a book by it’s cover, a candidate who claims to be more experienced and professional than he physically appears could be another red flag.

Candidates should respect the interview process enough to dress up and be presentable, but if they’re clearing not putting in the effort, you might want to keep a closer eye on them during recruitment.

4. Trust your gut

We all like to focus on the hard facts when it comes to recruiting, but sometimes, your instincts as a hiring manager may prove to be just as powerful a recruitment tool as any.

If something about the candidates seems iffy, consider doing a bit more of a background check before making that final hire. Remember, investing in a bit more time early in the recruitment process is a much better position to be in than having a bad hire further down the line.

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Sabrina Zolkifi
Deputy editor
Human Resources Magazine Singapore

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