Honesty Is The Best Policy When On The Job Hunt.?

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May 4th, 2018

JOBSEEKERS who lie or embellish on their resume or in an interview may think they are giving their career a leg up, but really they could be costing themself a job.

Every time they fudge a figure or exaggerate the importance of a role, they increase their chance of getting caught and destroying their credibility.

Paulette Kolarz, managing director of says dishonesty is usually worse than whatever the jobseeker is trying to cover up with their lie.

“It’s important that you are open and honest,” she says.

“Everybody has a story and we can explain it if we know about it but if we don’t, and it comes up as a surprise, it definitely affects the integrity of the person.”

Kolarz says there are certain red flags that alert recruiters to the need to look closer, such as when a resume does not match up with the jobseeker’s social media – for example, their SEEK Profile or LinkedIn.

“We check resumes against social media platforms,” she says.

“Social media tends to be more correct because it is live so they can be called out on it.”

She says in other cases, jobseekers may list a job title, yet their duties or achievements do not match the position.

Others pretend to be based in a particular location but use a PO box address and none of their past employers are in the area.

Some jobseekers use fake referees who are unable to answer simple questions about the jobseeker or workplace.

“Another red flag is if they either don’t put referees on there or, if they do, they are all peers (not managers),” she says.

Kolarz says the standard of resumes across the board is “pretty poor” so it is sometimes hard to tell if someone is intentionally lying or the resume has just been haphazardly put together.

About 10 per cent of jobseekers embellish their resumes and three to five per cent outright lie, general manager Erica Lindberg estimates.

“It’s not a regular occurrence,” she says.

“It’s usually around the dates not matching to how long they were in a position, or it might be around their reason for leaving a position.”

Lindberg says some jobseekers exaggerate the part they played in a project but, unfortunately for them, consultants are very inquisitive so they are likely to be found out.

“It’s our job to quiz and test and get real-life examples,” she says.

“We can ask for specific examples of delivering a project or managing a budget of a certain size. What was the situation, task, action they took and result?

“If someone can’t give us that detail but they put on their resume that they implemented a successful project from start to finish then it’s pretty obvious they were embellishing the role they had played.”

Jarrad Skeen, managing director of technology recruiter, says he sees exaggerated resumes all the time in the tech industry.

“The most common example is candidates embellishing their skills and using every acronym (for programming languages) in the hope that they appear in search engines, even when they’ve never had any experience with what they’re listing,” he says.

Skeen says it is not worth lying on a resume as jobseekers will eventually be caught and the Australian market is small, so they will quickly receive a bad reputation.

“It’s much better to have an honest self assessment of your skills and develop in the areas you want to go,” he says.