Honesty on Job Applications? Not So Much


Stretching the truth when filling out a job application is almost a sure way to guarantee you won’t be hired.  (Or, if are hired, getting fired as soon as your employer discovers your “stretch.”)

The risk of getting caught through a background check is too great to begin with. In addition, there are now pre-employment tests designed to tell if an applicant is being less than honest in his or her responses. These special questions are designed specifically to detect falsehoods and exaggerations.


It should come as no surprise that studies show people tend to exaggerate information on tests. Test takers in one study group were told in advance that some questions were designed to catch someone giving a false answer. Those who were told about the “honesty” questions were warned that less-than-honest answers would affect their chances of being hired. Not surprisingly, their responses were more honest than those given by a second group that was not privy to the special questions. The test was seeking individuals’ feelings related to customer service, safety and absenteeism.

Even without these built-in mechanisms to detect falsehoods, honesty is still the best policy when it comes to your job search.

Nearly half of the hiring managers in a recent study said they believe that job candidates “pad” or embellish their résumés. A padded résumé is likely to contain exaggerated facts or outright falsehoods for the purpose of making the job candidate appear in the best possible light. Conversely, just a bit more slightly more than 10 percent of job candidates admitted to participating in the practice.

While most job applicants assume that potential employers are going to verify information in an application, they are unsure to what extent the verification process goes. According to one study, two-thirds of job candidates said they believe employers check some information on a résumé. Another one-fifth of job candidates said they believe employers check the entire résumés. The remainder did not believe anything on the résuméwas verified.

This last group should be aware that almost half of employers in the survey said they check references, while about one-third verify past employment and schools attended. Some employers, about one-third, attempt to verify this information during the hiring process in talks with the job candidates.

And even if you happen to slip under the radar and get hired, most companies, 80 percent, have written policies addressing false information given on job applications – immediate dismissal.  Is it really worth the risk?

You’ll face little risk when you bring your résumé to Bayside Solutions. We have many wonderful opportunities with some of the Bay Area’s best employers. Just send your “non-padded” résumé to one of our recruiters and come in for a chat so that we may learn more about your career goals.