We all know the game: Two semesters of college French doesn’t technicallymake you bilingual, and knowing how to make a column of numbers add up in Excel doesn’t technically make it a “skill.”
But according to a new survey conducted by staffing service OfficeTeam, featuring 1,000 employees and 300 hiring managers, we’re fibbing quite a bit. In fact, we’re lying significantly more than we used to: 46 percent of respondents said they know someone who included false information on a resume, and that’s a 25-point increase over the past six years.
And somewhat unsurprisingly, men know significantly more Pinocchios: 51 percent know someone who presented false information, as opposed to 39 percent of women—a finding that’s particularly interesting when considered alongside that widely circulated Hewlett Packard study, which found that men will apply to a job when they meet only 60 percent of the criteria, whereas women wont apply unless they meet 100 percent.
Makes one wonder how, exactly, men are attempting to compensate for that 40 percent deficiency in job requirements (*thinking face emoji.*)
And brace yourselves for another round of the blame game, young folk, because it appears millennials know more liars than the average, at 55 percent. This revelation is particularly interesting, considering the habit of presenting an exaggerated version of one’s personal life is all but ubiquitous nowadays. Logic would follow that this tendency would bleed into the way our generation approaches job applications as well.
On the flip side, however, it’s easier than ever for prospective employers to get a candid look at a job candidate’s life and to cross-check things like college degrees and references, because the internet.
To that end, a 2015 survey from job-application prep company Hloom found that not all fibs are equal; ranking lies on a scale of one to five (where five is the most egregious,) lying about where you attended college was the worst offense, followed by foreign language skills, foreign language fluency, academic degree and former employment history.
The least offensive fibs? Your year of graduation, communication skills, references, memberships in clubs or organizations, and presentation skills.
And how much trouble can these alternative facts actually get you in? That depends. A CareerBuilder survey of 2,000 hiring managers found that catching someone in a lie was a deal-breaker 69 percent of the time. Which, on the surface, sounds kinda bad, no? Like, what kind of willy-nilly moral compass do those other 31 percenters have?
But this is likely more a reflection of the nature of lies, rather than acceptance of the lies themselves; whether one has “excellent presentation skills” is largely subjective, and if you claimed to have volunteered at the pet shelter for three years when it was really two and a half, well, OK fine.
All of which is to say: The line between artful exaggeration and a potentially damning lie can be fuzzy, but it’s worth paying attention to, with the ever-increasing transparency in our online personas. Something to think about as you decide how creative you want to get in describing your ability to present a sales report en française.