Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Resume Fluff: What’s Fact and What’s Fiction?

When it comes to promoting yourself the best thing you can do is cast the best light on the things you’ve accomplished. Unfortunately, many prospective candidates will take that a little too far and change ‘best light’ to ‘blatant lie.’ A tough part of the hiring process is sorting through the resume lies of job seekers to find the truthful ones that actually have the experience your company needs, but it’s vital to be able to do this well.

The benefits of knowing how to sift through resume lies from job seekers are fairly obvious: by knowing who is untruthful and who is a quality candidate you ensure a stronger work force, which means a stronger company. But the detriments of not knowing how to do this well are maybe not as apparent, and this can lead to a slew of problems for your company.

Obviously, the naïve resume analyzer will believe every detail job seekers put down and this will lead to the acceptance of several unqualified job seekers during the hiring process. Hopefully the interviews will weed them out, but maybe a few will slip through and waste your time learning everything they said they already knew. It will happen every now and then no matter what you do during the hiring process, but you can make it happen less by catching resume lies before they become a problem.

The best way to do so is to try and imagine a candidate’s previous position based on job title and company and see if what is described on the resume matches up to the responsibilities you predicted. If somebody puts down ‘managed and calibrated an assembly line of heavy machinery to precisely complete client’s orders,’ that sounds very impressive. But if you see the job title is ‘Fry Cook at McDonald’s’ then it takes on a whole new meaning and maybe this isn’t the person you want working for your robotics division.

Overemphasizing responsibilities is number one on the list of resume lies and so it is the most important one to look out for. But if you’re too disbelieving of facts on resumes then that can lead to turning down job seekers who would be perfect for the job. If you are unsure whether a job seeker is using resume lies or not, and they seem like a good fit, then schedule an interview. Luckily, this step of the hiring process will weed out who is qualified and who isn’t.

Being able to catch resume lies, or even video resume fibs, is a very important skill for the hiring process. No one enjoys giving someone something they don’t deserve, especially if it will cost the company in the end, and this skill will drastically reduce how often this happens. While overemphasizing is the main problem to look out for, make sure to verify achievements and accolades, follow up on references, and check the overall believability of the information on the resume to keep unqualified job seekers from lying their way into your company.

If you have a successful strategy for separating fact from fiction when reviewing a candidate’s resume, share in the comments below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by The CV Inn

Bane Srdjevic

Bane is a Purdue graduate and has been through a lot of the trials and tribulations every job seeker goes through. He is looking to spread his knowledge so that other job seekers don't make the same mistakes. Learning by doing is fine, but knowledge is king.

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