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Anonymous Survey Finds 1 in 10 Lied on Their Resume

fizkes/Shutterstock / Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock

We may not want to admit it to our friends, family or colleagues, but we've all lied at least once in our lives. Whether it was a little white lie that got you out of a previous engagement or a massive falsehood that's been sticking around for years, it's just something we as human beings are capable of doing with regularity.

While most of us understood the concept of lying at 4 years old and many of us can't go 10 minutes without lying two or three times, it's considered common sense not to lie on a resume, right? Well, according to a recent study, at least some of us are spouting falsehoods there too.

Blind, an anonymous workplace social media platform, conducted a survey of 10,364 of its users from March 22 to March 28 on whether or not they've "embellished or lied on [their] LinkedIn or resume" when searching for a job. What they found was approximately 90% of respondents (9,356) said they'd never lied to get a job, while the remaining 1,008 people surveyed said they had.

Some of the more common lies found on resumes, according to Blind, are about academic degrees, age, technical abilities and criminal records. During an interview, candidates have been known to lie about their "salaries, references and complete work history."

Along with asking whether respondents had ever lied on their resume or LinkedIn profile, Blind's survey considered where these individuals worked. After collating the data, the company said 17 major businesses, including Apple and Cisco, were represented among respondents.

According to the survey, the company with the most respondents who admitted to lying was European software corporation SAP, with 12.5% of employees surveyed. The remaining top five companies with the most lies on resumes and social media were Amazon (11.57%), Cisco (10.78%), PayPal (10.58%) and eBay (9.93%). Other major companies that had a relatively high rate of falsehoods among respondents were Microsoft (9.84%) and Oracle (9.19%).

While it's possible to lie to recruiters on a sheet of paper or LinkedIn profile, a 2017 HireRight study estimated that 85% of falsehood-telling applicants were caught. The figure represented an increase from 65% in 2012. In nearly all circumstances, getting caught lying leads to the unemployment line.

J.T. O'Donnell, founder and CEO of Work It Daily, suggested in a 2017 article that the number of lying applicants has increased because of the applicant-tracking systems that companies have adopted to sort through the resumes of potential candidates. With such technology relying on specific requirements and key phrases, job seekers ultimately tailor their CVs to make it past the digital barrier.

Blind's study may have taken a hard look at employees who lied, but it also found comforting data for truth-seekers. Along with 9 in 10 respondents saying they had never lied on a resume – despite what previous studies found – 13 of the 17 companies represented had a higher than 90% truth rating.

The company with the highest number of truthful respondents was Salesforce, with 97.17% denying ever fibbing on a resume before. The remaining top five companies with most truthful employees were Tableau (96.30%), Intuit (96.26%), LinkedIn (95.54%) and Apple (94.83%).

Tech giants Adobe, Facebook and Google also reportedly have a high percentage of truthful employees, respectively scoring 93.14%, 92.68% and 92.57%.

Andrew Martins

Andrew Martins is an award-winning journalist with a BA in journalism from Ramapo College of New Jersey. Before joining Business.com and Business News Daily, he wrote for a regional publication and served as the managing editor for six weekly papers that spanned four counties. He is a New Jersey native and a first-generation Portuguese-American, and he has a penchant for the nerdy.