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Hiring Resumes Lies and Lying

We received a resume from what appeared to be a promising candidate, but as we talked with him, it became apparent that his resume contained some fairly substantial exaggerations and misstatements. Are there any pointers to look for in a resume that could be a tip-off to faking?

A resume is actually an advertisement designed to encourage you to take a look at the product, namely the applicant. Unfortunately, the notion of truth in advertising has not fully transferred over to resumes, as there are plenty that paint something other than an accurate picture of their owners. At the same time, there are a few key steps that can help you determine whether a resume should be filed in the fiction section.

One step is to look for evidence of covering, such as by the use of very general dates. For example, a job that is listed as 1991 to 1993 could be a 3-year job from the beginning of 1991 to the end of 1993, or it could be barely more than one year from the end of 1991 to the very beginning of 1993. You should also keep an eye out for inconsistencies, such as a job on the East Coast while pursuing an on-campus degree on the West Coast. In addition, any unexplained gaps in the work record are typically a red flag.

However, even if an applicant has an excellent resume and interview, the best way to find out if he or she is for real is to check job references. And, that's the truth of the matter.

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