A number of job seekers, driven by various motivations, have resorted to deception during the hiring process.

To learn more about how many candidates are lying and what their motivations are, at the end of December, ResumeTemplates surveyed 1,300 Americans who applied for jobs in 2023.

Study highlights:

  • 11% of candidates lied during the hiring process in 2023; 12% of 2024 job seekers plan to lie
  • Candidates were most likely to lie about the skills and abilities, job responsibilities, years of experience
  • Candidates who lied were more likely to get a job in 2023
  • Nearly two-thirds of liars say it helped them achieve a higher salary, professional success

11% of Candidates Lied During the Hiring Process in 2023

We asked candidates about various parts of the hiring process to understand where they may have been untruthful last year.

The survey found that 7% lied on their resume, 7% lied during an interview, and 4% of those who had to take an assessment as part of the hiring process cheated on the test.

7% lied on their resume

Seven percent of candidates say they lied in their resume in 2023.

Candidates say they lied about:

  • Skills or abilities (47%)
  • Years of experience (39%)
  • Length of previous positions held (37%)
  • Responsibilities at previous jobs (37%)
  • Previous employers (34%)
  • References (34%)
  • Professional achievements (29%)
  • Professional credentials or associations (24%)
  • Education (19%)

7% lied during an interview

The same percentage of 2023 job candidates (7%) say they lied during a job interview.

Candidates say they lied about:

  • Skills or abilities (45%)
  • Responsibilities at previous jobs (40%)
  • Years of experience (34%)
  • Professional achievements (31%)
  • Length of previous positions held (24%)
  • Previous employers (24%)
  • Professional credentials or associations (16%)
  • Education (11%)

Liars Were More Likely to Get Hired

The survey found that 72% of those who lied somewhere in the hiring process got a job offer compared to 62% of those who did not lie.

Only 20% of liars say they faced any consequences for being deceitful. However, nearly half (49%) say they have regrets about lying.

65% say lying helped them get a higher salary

Thirty-seven percent say lying in the hiring process definitely helped them get a higher salary, while 27% say it probably did.

Additionally, 63% say lying definitely (31%) or somewhat (32%) helped them succeed professionally.

“Intentionally lying is a calculated risk and remains a moral/ethical question as well; evidenced by the 49% of respondents who expressed regret about lying,” says Resume Template’s Executive Resume Writer and Career Coach Andrew Stoner.

“While I would never encourage a candidate to lie, it is always beneficial to specifically tailor a resume for the target position and be well-prepared for any potential questions about skills and experience.

“Instead of saying, ‘I don’t have that specific experience,’ or ‘I have never done that before,’ candidates should be ready to share relevant examples that demonstrate similar knowledge or abilities applied in other settings. This level of reflection and preparation will show a candidate’s relevant qualifications as well as their genuine interest in the position while remaining truthful.”

12% of 2024 Job Seekers Plan to Lie

Eighty-one percent of respondents say they plan to apply to jobs in 2024. Of this group, 11% say they will definitely (5%) or probably (7%) lie in the hiring process in 2024.

“Several current market conditions are likely to cause a continuation of candidates lying in the hiring process in 2024,” says Stoner.

“First, the increased number of positions available to applicants with online job postings and remote work have significantly increased the candidate pool for most jobs. Applicants are often now 1 of 1,000 candidates instead of 1 of 100. Second, shorter job tenures and more job switching are creating more opportunities with less chance of real scrutiny. This heightened competitive pressure along with financial pressures (e.g., inflation) are likely behind what is causing candidates to lie in the hiring process.”

The survey was run on December 21, 2023. In total, 1,300 U.S. respondents were surveyed. To take the survey respondents had to answer that they applied to at least one job in 2023.

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