Search
Advice » Job Hunt Strategy» Getting Started » Lying in Your Job Search: Where ...
Lying in Your Job Search: Where’s the Line?

Lying in Your Job Search: Where’s the Line?

The job market is filled with people telling half-truths about themselves in an attempt to land their next job. They’re telling white lies, omitting unflattering facts about their pasts and laying down some really big whoppers as well. In fact, Kroll’s Nashville-based Background Screening division finds a discrepancy on about 48 percent of all job applications it reviews.

While most recruiters will tell you never to lie on your resume or in a job interview, the fact is that there’s a sliding scale of truth and even experts don’t always agree about what’s a lie and what’s smart marketing.

For instance, would you ever:
  • Use years on your resume to hide a three-month employment gap?
  • Highlight the thing you spend just a little time doing rather than the thing you spend most of your time doing?
  • Plump your salary by including the cost of every benefit you receive?
  • Shave the first quarter of your experience off your resume so you look younger than you really are?
What’s Not OK?

Nearly everyone agrees that inflating your title or statistics like sales volume is not just wrong -- it’s stupid. “When you start to lie about background information, reporting relationships, job titles -- those are things that ultimately will catch up with you during a reference check or at some point in the future,” says Sheila Wyatt, HR consultant and founder of hrgeek4u.com.

Other lies almost certain to get you into trouble include anything easily verified by an employee background check, credit check or criminal background check.

Thinking of exaggerating your income? Have a plan to back up your lie with a phony W-2, 1099 or income-tax return. Sales people lie so routinely that companies ask them for proof to back up their income claims, says recruiter Mitch Beck, president of Crossroads Consulting LLC, a Monroe, Connecticut, executive search firm.

How about listing the name of a college where you took a two-day online course, without adding a degree or date, hoping the employer assumes you graduated? Someone without a lot of hiring experience might be fooled, but most HR pros will be on to you instantly, says recruiter Ron Daratany, president of DMR Global Recruiting, a Coral Springs, Florida, recruiting firm.

What about omitting an educational credential because you’re overqualified? You probably won’t be caught right away, but it could come out later if you mention it or someone sees your membership in an alumni club listed on your Facebook, LinkedIn or BeKnown profile.

What Is OK?

Two areas where the experts say it probably is acceptable to fudge: leaving short stints of employment off your resume and choosing one skill to highlight over another.

It’s not necessary to list on your resume every job you’ve ever had, says Elizabeth Lion, author of Recession Proof Yourself. “An employer wants to see a natural progression on your resume of skill building, which is more important than a three-month ‘oops’ job that you quit,” she says.

The job application, which is a legal document, is a different story. Daratany has an acquaintance who had a job offer rescinded because he left a three-month-long job off his application, even though he listed the job on his resume. “I couldn’t believe the company couldn’t give him the benefit of the doubt,” Daratany says. “It wasn’t like he lied, but it was a major bank and they have their employment policies.”

What’s Maybe, Maybe Not OK?

The line between lying, exaggerating and presenting yourself in a positive way is much tougher to find. “It’s a question of what you’re going to emphasize and what you’re going to push forward about yourself, says Ronald Kaufman, author of Anatomy of Success, citing the example of a client who worked in a small retail store where 80 percent of her time was spent selling and 20 percent managing.

“She didn’t like selling and wanted a management job, so on her resume I had her list her managerial responsibilities and accomplishments, with only one entry about sales,” Kaufman says. In interviews, he advised her to talk about managing, hiring, purchasing and negotiating.

It’s one thing to emphasize skills you have, but you cross the line when you pretend to be someone you’re not.

Say you shave a decade or two off your resume. “If they’re expecting someone who’s 30 and you’re 55, there’s going to be sticker shock,” Beck says. Unless you’ve had some great plastic surgery, the interviewer is going to guess your age when you walk in the door and feel duped.

If you do decide to prevaricate a bit on your resume, be ready to back up your claims during the interview by anticipating the questions an interviewer might ask and planning how you’ll answer.

Better yet, just don’t lie. “People lie so much when they’re sending you stuff that it’s amazing when someone tells you the truth,” Beck says. “If you have half a brain, you can tell when someone is lying and challenge them on it right up front.”

Latest Jobs

eNamix, Inc.
Posted: 04/19/2014
El Segundo, CA, 90245
CyberCoders
Posted: 04/19/2014
Dallas, TX, 75201
CyberCoders
Posted: 04/19/2014
Dallas, TX, 75201
United Distributors Inc.
Posted: 04/19/2014
AUGUSTA, GA
Insurance Agency Accounting & Bookkeeping
Posted: 04/19/2014
Harwinton, CT, 06791

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.1.40.6-216
eTrustLogo