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How to Spot
a Fib Part 1

How to Spot a Fib (Part 1)

A fib, an embellishment or an outright lie … whatever you want to call it, candidates who lie on a resume or job application are a growing problem for companies trying to hire the right people. An estimated 53% of job applicants commit some form of resume fraud and 31% of people admit to lying on a resume.1

As many as 70% of recent graduates say they would lie on a resume to get the job they want.2

Hiring mistakes can be costly, both financially and in lost time. A “bad hire” who leaves within six months costs approximately $40,000 in severance pay, training, wasted human resource time, possible search firm fees, and loss of productivity, not to mention a negative impact on employee morale.3

Here are some of the top Fibs job seekers tell and what you can do to Foil the deception.

The Fib: Education – This includes listing a bogus or incomplete degree or certification, or lying about their grades. One in seven students drop out of post-secondary programs4 and 21% of resumes contain fraudulent degrees,1 so it’s worth checking anything that seems suspicious.

The Foil: Get the full program name and year of graduation, ask for an official transcript or call the institution yourself and check. You can also hire a company to do a formal background check.

The Fib: Skills – Some job seekers simply cut and paste the skills from your posting into their resumes to trick automated systems and hiring managers into ranking them higher.

The Foil: Ask questions during the interview that require specific knowledge and experience with the skill you are seeking. Ask for certifications or require applicants to take a test to demonstrate their skills.

The Fib: Experience – From overstating a role on a project to creating a lofty title, 33% of resumes contain inaccurate descriptions of past positions and experiences.1

The Foil: A thorough reference check is your best foil. Secure candidate consent to contact references and be sure you speak directly to the reference, verify employment role, title, dates, and responsibilities. Make sure you’re actually talking to a representative of the company listed by calling their main number and asking for the contact by name. Some fraudsters use their friends to pose as former employers. Refer to ADP HR Tip How to Conduct Reference Checks for more reference check tips.

In the next edition of HR tips, we’ll cover more fibs you need to watch for.

How to Spot a Fib (Part 1) (PDF version)


1. ADP, Accu-Screen, Inc., The Society of Human Resource Managers. Resume Falsification Statistics, 2012.
2. Business Insider. The Most Common Lies People Tell on Their Resumes, 2013.
3. BackCheck. Background Checks Statistics and Facts, 2013.
4. Maclean’s On Campus. More students go to post-secondary, but one in seven drop out, 2007.

The information contained in this HR Tip Sheet is summary in nature and is intended to provide general guidance. It should not be viewed as a replacement for legal or professional advice.

The ADP logo and ADP are registered trademarks of ADP, Inc. All other trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners. Copyright© 2013 ADP, Inc.

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