HR Strange But True!
August 14, 2008

It doesn't take a genius to know that lying on a résumé about being a member of Mensa, the international high-IQ society, is a bad idea. Yet, this is one of the résumé lies that a recent survey uncovered. Can you beat it? conducted a survey that found 49 percent of hiring managers say they have caught a candidate lying on their résumé. The most common lies hiring managers found involved embellished responsibilities (38 percent), skill set (18 percent), dates of employment (12 percent), and academic degree (10 percent).

However, some candidates took the fibbing to another level. While the candidates probably believed they were including information that would give them a leg up on the competition, you may be left wondering why they bothered.

One survey respondent, for example, said a candidate claimed to be a member of the Kennedy family. Another candidate submitted a résumé with a photo of someone else.

Survey respondents reported these other strange résumé lies:

  • Included samples of work, which the interviewer actually did
  • Falsely claimed to be Hispanic
  • Claimed to have been a professional baseball player
  • Listed military experience dating back to before he was born
  • Claimed to be the CEO of a company when the candidate was an hourly employee
  • Claimed to have worked for the hiring manager before but never had
  • Invented a school that did not exist

The survey included 3,169 hiring managers and human resources professionals. also conducted a survey among 8,785 employees. How many admit they have stretched the truth on a résumé? Only 8 percent. Do you think those 8 percent are submitting all of those résumés in which 49 percent of hiring managers have found a lie?

Share your strange but true stories of lies on résumés at If we get enough good ones, we'll include them in a future column.


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