How to Spot Lies on a Candidate’s Resume

Just because it happens all the time doesn’t mean it’s right. Lying on a resume is one of those things. Many job seekers feel like they need to embellish their backgrounds to get an employer to call them, but the opposite is clearly true. A candidate who lies on their resume may not be able to handle the functions of the job as they’ve described. How do you avoid a bad hire by spotting common lies on resumes? Here are a few tips.


Exaggerated Dates of Employment

Many candidates are worried about the way hiring managers perceive employment gaps. They may extend the dates of employment to avoid appearing unemployed. However, this information can be easily confirmed through a quick reference check and should be avoided.

Small increments aren’t a big deal. If someone said they started in January, for instance, and the HR representative confirms a February start date, you could chalk that up to memory. If the dates extend several months or beyond, the candidates are trying to hide something.


Non-Existent Education or Certification

Candidates may indicate they completed a degree when they only went to college for two years. Or they may list certifications they do not possess to try to win you over to their side.

To avoid this problem, many companies will contact the school to verify graduation dates just as they would the dates of employment. It’s easy enough information to obtain.


Big Jump in Skills

You may also notice they have a big leap between skills from one job to the next. This might mean they buckled down and took on a lot of new responsibilities, but it could also mean they have given themselves a promotion on their resume. They may be trying to fake it until they make it.

The easiest way to determine if this is true is by skills testing. You’ll be able to quickly tell if they really are genius with Excel or if they just said they were on their resume to get hired.


How to Tell if Someone is Lying

While these may be some clues, you shouldn’t assume everything on a resume is a fabrication. If so, you may rule really great candidates out of the running for no good reason.

Other signs include:

  • Vague information without details.
  • The overuse of superlatives like “best” or too many industry buzzwords.
  • Inconsistent information or dates.


Besides reference checks, education verification and skills testing, there are other ways to determine if someone’s lying.

Look at their body language when you ask them about their experience. Some body language might be nervousness, but some may indicate a “tell.” Cutting to the chase works surprisingly well. Asking a candidate if something is true or if they’re exaggerating may give them space to give you more information.

Do you want to avoid a bad hire?

Contact the staffing specialists at FJC Personnel to learn more today.

How to Spot Lies on a Candidate’s Resume
Scroll to top