Economic Slumps Make Liars out of Applicants

August 8, 2008 ( - Fourteen years of data on resume falsifications kept by background screening firm Accu-Screen indicates spikes in the number of lies found on resumes during times of economic slumps and weak labor markets.

In a news release, Accu-Screen said it found that 43% of all resumes and job applications contain false representations, contradicting many industry studies finding a falsification rate of one-third or less. The company also said resume falsifications are on the rise.

In the news release, Kevin Connell, chief executive officer and founder of Accu-Screen, says he worries that the recent increase in unemployment figures combined with a weakening economy will prove to be leading indicators of even more resume falsifications.

Accu-Screen says the falsifications most often involve these key pieces of information:

  • Dates of employment,
  • Job title (inflated rank),
  • Criminal records,
  • Salary level,
  • Education (e.g. bogus degrees from diploma “mills”),
  • Professional license (e.g. MD, RN, CPA, etc.), and
  • “Ghost” company (self-owned business).

According to a news report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Cleveland-based employment screening company employeescreenIQ also noted in a recently released list of background screening trends to watch for in 2009 that the state of the current job market may be leading some individuals to stretch the truth in order to secure employment. Over the past year, the company has found a 56% discrepancy rate between what is reported on a resume and what is found when conducting employment and education verifications, SHRM said.

A recent survey found that although only 8% of workers admitted to stretching the truth on their resumes, nearly half (49%) of hiring managers reported they caught a candidate lying on their resume (See Liar, Liar… Employers Report Catching Lies on Resumes ).