The 10 most cringe-worthy lies and mistakes hiring managers have caught on a résumé

fizkes/ShutterstockLying on your résumé probably won’t get you the job.
  • Almost every hiring manager has found a lie on a résumé and discarded the application.
  • Résumé mistakes like adding pictures with pets or lying about past experience are embarrassing for the applicant.
  • Here are some of the most outrageous mistakes and lies that hiring managers have caught.

First impressions matter, especially for job applicants.

But trying to catch someone’s eye with a lie is a big mistake.

Harris Poll conducted a survey for Career Builder and asked 2,575 hiring managers to share some of the worst résumé gaffes applicants could make. Of those interviewed, 75% said they have caught applicants lying on their résumés. Even employees at Business Insider have spotted applicants padding their résumé.

The risk does not seem to be worth the reward because only 12% of HR people surveyed said they were more likely to call an applicant for an interview if there was an unusual claim on the application.

There are other, more honest ways to be noticed. Customising a résumé to the position is a plus for 60% of HR managers, and 38% are more likely to look at the applicant if a cover letter is included.

If you still don’t believe lying on a résumé is bad, take a look at these 10 outrageous mistakes and lies that hiring managers caught.

An applicant said he worked at Microsoft but didn’t know who Bill Gates was

An applicant claimed to have created computer code actually written by the hiring manager

An applicant submitted a résumé they pulled from the internet that didn’t even match the cover letter

An applicant said he was an anti-terrorist spy for the CIA during the time period he was actually in elementary school

An applicant said he studied under Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche stopped teaching in 1879 and died in 1900.

An applicant said he failed a certification exam three times but was planning to try again

Extra points for honesty and determination?

An applicant said his hobby is watching horror movies


An applicant included a picture with all of his pets

Budimir Jevtic/Shutterstock

An applicant included a description about his family

An applicant lied and said they had a credential when applying for a job at the organisation that grants the credential


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