Experts have cited that as many as 50-55% of resumes have “something on them that’s misleading.”
What does this mean for companies hiring for IT roles? As it turns out there are four realities you should know about resume lies in IT hiring—each of which show that it’s critical to do technical interviews to discover candidates’ true skills and experience.
1. Resume lies are MORE common in IT
A 2015 CareerBuilder survey found that 56% of HR managers said they have spotted a lie on a candidate’s resume. IT employers, however—along with financial services and leisure/hospitality employers—reported a higher rate of dishonest applicants than all other industries. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of IT employers stated that they had caught a prospective employee in a resume lie.
2. The most common resume lies are about sections CRITICAL for IT hiring
Misrepresenting skills is the most common resume lie, followed by lying about previous job responsibilities (reported by more than half of HR managers), according to the CareerBuilder survey. Of course, having sufficient skills and experience for a given role are critical for success in IT.
Often candidates are tricky in how they lie, such as overstating their role in a project. “People may be exposed to or involved in a project but not necessarily doing the work,” Daryl Pigat, a manager for the staffing firm OfficeTeam, told AllBusiness. “Sometimes that translates into a resume that says they were hands-on, when they may not have that practical experience.”
3. Hiring IT candidates with lies in their resumes can be ESPECIALLY costly
First, a bad IT hire costs more, $500,000 or more if you accept SHRM’s finding that the total cost of a bad hire is five times the hire’s salary. When IT hires don’t work out mean mission-critical and revenue-generating projects don’t get completed.
Second, since relevant skills and experience are so critical in IT roles, hires who lie about those elements in their resumes may be more likely to fail than hires in jobs that are less technical.
4. Resume exaggerations are CRITICAL to uncover
Candidates spin their skills and experience, without lying, to look good in their resumes. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s critical for employers hiring for IT roles to distinguish the great candidates from weaker candidates with resumes that make them look great.
It’s easy for IT candidates, for example, to overstate their coding abilities in a required programming language for a given role. Just as a candidate with tremendous skill in the language can claim expertise in a resume, so can another with average skill. Obviously, coding ability has a tremendous impact on job performance, so incredibly common skills exaggerations like this are critical to uncover.
Use Technical Interviews to Find Candidates’ True Skills and Experience
Resume lies and exaggerations make your effort to hire the right IT candidates more difficult. While background checks and reference checks are both effective methods for learning important information about candidates, in IT hiring the best tool to uncover the truth about candidates’ skills and experience is the technical interview.
In technical interviews, also called technical screens or assessments, candidates are probed about how they’ve previously overcome technical challenges relevant to a given rule role and are given coding challenges that reveal their technical abilities. And when properly conducted, technical interviews allow for candidates to be compared on a rating scale, and reveal whether candidates are competent and whether they are able to work independently. All of this is critical information for making the right IT hires, and avoiding hiring candidates who lie or exaggerate about their skills and experience on their resumes.
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