Should employers expect 'white lies' which overstate skills or even represent information such as illness? Greg Newton, managing director of Verify, said that a highly competitive employment market, where applicant numbers are high and many candidates are well experienced and qualified for the job, meant that employers must be vigilant.
"Candidates recognize that they need to stand out from the crowd and often spend considerable time fine tuning their resume to appeal to the reader. Their resume is a marketing tool to present them in the best light and improve their chances of getting their foot in the employment door," he says.
Given this background, Newton notes that two scenarios are at play: those candidates who tailor their resume to the job requirements, and those who blatantly alter the facts.
"Firstly, for those who choose to tailor their resume, they may highlight aspects of their background that directly relate to required competencies or experiences, not mention jobs that are irrelevant, focus more on qualifications that are required in the new job and so on," Newton says.
For those who 're-invent' themselves, Newton said it's not unusual to see whole jobs being omitted, qualifications being upgraded or job titles modified to reflect a more senior role.
"For example, we sometimes see a diploma noted down as a degree or an Assistant Account elevating their title on their resume to Financial Accountant,” he says.
Misrepresentation of an illness is also being taken more seriously. Although traditionally these assessments were commonplace in mining, energy and construction sectors, Newton points out they are being used across more sectors.
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Research from employment screening agency Verify has revealed that up to 25% of all resumes contain false information and a further 80% have exaggerations and embellishments.