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An Integrity Gap: Surprising Insights into Who Lies on Their Resumes

Big earners, big degrees, big lies.
Emily Hill
Contributing Writer
Pinocchio holding a resume with his nose grown long indicating a lie.

Recent surveys have shed light on an unsettling aspect of the job application process: lying is not only prevalent but appears to be most common among the seemingly most qualified candidates—those with higher education and higher income levels.

The findings from ResumeLab and Resume Builder, which surveyed a combined total of over 1,900 workers, reveal a stark truth about the lengths to which individuals will go to secure a job, as well as the misleading tactics employed by hiring managers to attract candidates.

Why it matters: This pervasive dishonesty in the job market challenges the integrity of the recruitment process and undermines the value of qualifications and experience. With advanced degree holders and high earners leading in the incidence of resume falsification, the issue raises concerns about ethical standards in professional environments and the potential implications for organizational trust and performance. Addressing this phenomenon is critical for fostering a culture of honesty and accountability in the workplace.

  • Impact on Employment and Policy: The research suggests that the acceptance of lying to achieve personal goals is becoming normalized, with implications for employment practices and the increasing trend of companies dropping degree requirements in recognition of the value of real-life experience over formal education.
  • High Incidence Among Educated and High Earners: Up to 70% of workers have lied on their resumes, with advanced degree holders and high earners reporting even higher rates of deceit. The surveys highlight that 85% of individuals with master’s or doctorate degrees have lied on their resumes, and a similar proportion have been dishonest in their cover letters, suggesting a correlation between higher education levels and the likelihood of resume deceit.
  • Common Lies and Consequences: Many applicants lie about their education, a tactic driven by the knowledge that better-paying jobs often require higher qualifications. However, these fabrications can lead to job offers being rescinded or employees being fired upon the discovery of their lies.
  • A Two-Way Street: Beyond job applicants, the surveys also reveal that 40% of hiring managers lie to potential hires about various aspects of the job, such as responsibilities and growth opportunities, contributing to a mutual distrust in the hiring process.

Go Deeper -> Who lies on resumes more often? High earners and workers with advanced degrees, it turns out – Fast Company

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