When going for a job interview, your goal is to the best candidate for the position at hand. You want to look as intelligent as possible. You dress sharply. You research interview questions and practice your approach. You even edit your resume to take out the deal-breakers and exaggerating your achievements and skill sets a bit, making you deem fit.
But even just for once, have you ever thought of inventing fake stories in your resume and interview to land a job? You may say that you were a top student back in college, or have worked in a prestigious company. They wouldn’t find out, right? Wrong.
Thinking you can outsmart the HR? Well, think again. Here are 6 tactics hiring managers and HR services use to spot lies in your resume, which doom your chances of getting the job.
1. Asking you to explain your previous work experience in detail
You may be tempted to embellish your previous work experience to qualify for a higher-level position than you deserve. You may take 100% credit for projects assigned as a team effort, claiming you did it alone or you led the team when you didn’t.
While hiring managers usually don’t have the time to verify every single detail in your resume, they can instantly get suspicious if you give unclear, imprecise responses to in-depth questions regarding your previous work experience.
They’ll ask you to describe your role in detail and the specific steps you took to accomplish the task. They may even try to trip you up by interrupting you or ask you to start at the end of your story and work backward in search of inconsistencies.
2. Having behavioral interview questions
If hiring managers spot that the job title and duties you mentioned don’t align, they won’t instantly conclude you’re lying – they may ask further questions to clarify things, like this one:
“In addition to ensuring that each team member reaches their goals, how do you handle the pressures of attaining your own career goals?”
It’s easy to say you’ve worked as a manager in your previous company, but it’s not easy to invent substantial responses to questions regarding manners and behavior – something you can only answer if you’ve experienced it firsthand. If you can’t provide convincing and real-life examples, and just resort to vague, “beauty pageant” answers, then you’re busted.
3. Asking in-depth questions about your technical skills
It’s tempting to say you’re “proficient” at everything – including tools you only know the basics of. Bad news for you: hiring managers are aware of this common tactic.
They will test whether you’ve truly mastered the skills you’ve mentioned. One way is by handing out on-the-spot exams as a part of the interview process. Another way is by asking simple questions about the skills listed down (questions only true proficient candidates can answer.)
4. Checking the dates
Date discrepancies are another telltale sign you’re trying to hide something. Let’s say you’ve worked for a company for only three months, from December 2018 to February 2019. It’s tempting to omit the exact months and simply write 2018-2019, giving the impression you’ve worked for a longer period.
While this is technically “not a lie”, your failure to disclose the exact date may reflect on your deceptive intention. Unfortunately, your employer can’t be manipulated. The question, “exactly how many months did you work at X company?” can put you down.
5. Asking transcript records from your school
Thinking about tweaking your academic degrees? Sorry to tell you but, some employers may require a transcript of records. It’s better, to be honest about your final grade than flaunt you graduated with honors only to find out your prospective employer knows you didn’t (and you failed in Algebra three times in a row).
5. Doing backdoor reference checks
Don’t assume HR professionals are too busy to contact your references – they do, especially if you made a powerful impression yet something seems a bit odd on your resume.
They may also talk to people who are not on your list of references. They tap their networks to check if anyone they know has worked with you. The goal is to get a genuine account of your capabilities, work ethics, and solid proof you’ve worked there.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a creative writer for HR Dept Australia, a provider of affordable and pragmatic HR services and employment law advice in Australia. Writing about helpful career management solutions for both employees and employers is her cup of tea.