Resume Puffery a Common Problem

May 29, 2002 ( - Puffing up one's resume is apparently a pretty common thing, according to the latest New York Times job survey.

The Times Job Market survey of hiring executives and applicants found that 89% of job seekers and 49% of hiring managers think a significant number of candidates add puffery to their resumes to make themselves appear a stronger candidate.

Of those hiring managers who believe a significant number of resumes are padded, they believe that 52% of the resumes they receive are padded. But only 13% of job seekers admitted to ever personally having padded their resumes.

Lies, All Lies

As to what was areas were being padded, hiring managers and applicants said potential employees most often lie about:

  • 53% of hiring managers and 51% of job seekers listed job responsibilities,
  • 18% of hiring executives and 14% of applicants said length of employment,
  • 13% of hiring managers and 10% of job seekers listed education level, and
  • 11% of hiring managers and 14% of job seekers mentioned college attended or a previous job

More than eight in ten applicants say they think companies are aware of resume padding. The applicants also believe that companies perform background checks on the following:

  • some items on the resume, 70%
  • all items on the resume, 17%
  • none of the items on the resume, 13%

Checking Out

Hiring managers use the following techniques to verify job candidates’ claims made on their resumes:

  • checking of references, 47%
  • evaluating candidates during the interview process, 30%
  • checking of past employers/schools listed on resumes, 17%
  • asking questions of candidates to see how specific their answers are, 6%
  • evaluating new employees once they are on the job, 4%

If a company uncovers a resume padder, about eight in ten respondents said the person is fired, 7% said the worker would be disciplined and 5% said the action would depend on what was padded.