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17 of the Most Common Lies Found on Job Applications

PSI Team | Uncategorized

17 of the Most Common Lies Found on Job Applications

Hiring a new employee is a big step for a company, as it shows you’re growing as a company. However, there’s a risk that comes with every new employee because they become a part of your company and gain access that other people don’t have. That’s why weeding out the people who will hurt your company is important. You can do so by learning 17 of the most common lies found on job applications.

Criminal Records

Some companies won’t hire people with specific types of criminal records, especially if the crimes are violent or show an inability to be trusted in the position for which they are applying. As such, some criminals will lie about having records when they are asked to disclose them on an application, hoping you won’t perform a good background check. The best way to protect yourself is by using a professional background service that can find people’s past records. Also, be sure to consider any local or state ban the box rules when deciding when to ask job applicants about previous criminal history.

Education Level

One of the most common questions on an application is about the applicant’s education level, as certain jobs require more formal teaching. Since this is a basic requirement for many jobs, people lie about their education levels for interviews all the time.

Majors and Minors

Along with people lying about graduation and education levels, people often lie about their majors and minors. The main purpose of this lie is to look like they have more experience in the field, but a simple background check or call to the college will often reveal these lies.

Employment Dates

Another method people use on their applications is lying about their dates of employment. By extending employment dates, they can make themselves look better. However, an employment verification check can reveal any misinformation applicants give about their previous employment dates.

Unemployment Gaps

People often believe that unemployment gaps are one of the biggest red flags companies look for when disqualifying applicants. As such, they may lie about any time they didn’t have a job, either covering it up or lying about the reason. However, a gap in employment isn’t a big issue if it isn’t too long.

Reasons for Job Search

Another common lie people make is the reason that they’re searching for a job. Look out for lies about why they left their last job or why they’re applying for this job. If they’re willing to lie about it, then it might be a serious infraction or cause for concern.

Job Responsibilities

One of the biggest reasons people lie on their job applications is to stand out from the crowd. As such, people will often lie about their old jobs, making it seem like they did all the work and were responsible for the whole team. Watch out for people who claim these things, as they may be lying about it for bonus points.


Many job applicants who lie about their salary do so because they think it can increase the amount they earn. Make sure you know how much your position is worth before you hire anyone.


One of the 17 most common lies found on job applications that people will tell concerns their past accomplishments. They believe that embellishing their past can improve their chances of getting a job. There are some things you can check online, such as awards and competitions, that you should check before you hire them.


Another way applicants may improve their résumés is by claiming various skills that would benefit them in the position. This is another area where people frequently lie, as testing skills is difficult and easy to fake in some situations. You can try running tests or asking for demonstrations of some skills during the interview.


Outside of the common skills, people will lie about languages they speak, hoping it will give them a leg up on the competition. If you require certain languages, test your applicants on their language skills before hiring them.


Similar to job responsibilities, leadership skills are a common lie amongst applicants as it betters their résumés. This is a difficult lie to catch, as testing leadership is practically impossible during a small time frame. At best, you can try running a leadership test for the position before hiring them.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are becoming more valuable in new hires since people recognize the benefits of communication and problem-solving. But it’s another place where people lie about their abilities. Similar to leadership, you can run tests during the hiring process for soft skills.


People will often lead with lies when you ask, “What’s your greatest weakness” or questions of the like. They’ll try bending these questions in ways that make them seem good or outright lie. Sadly, you can’t test for this and can only go with your gut in this case.


Many jobs require specific credentials or prefer certain credentials, which is why people may try faking them. Whenever you require a certain credential, ask for proof that they have it before hiring them. With professional licensures and certain certifications, this can be incorporated into your professional background screening. This will help you catch any lies before they get the job and hurt someone because they don’t know what they’re doing.


References are one of the hardest steps during an application, which is why so many people will fake them. They’ll give fake numbers or ask friends to lie on their behalf, which is why you should try identifying their references. Check employee rosters of other companies and ensure that these places exist.


This isn’t a common lie because most people don’t have a reason for it. But some people lie about their residence if they live in another area and want the job anyway. Do what you can when checking their place of residence, or hire a third party that can check that for you.

These are the common lies that people tell when applying for a job. Luckily, most of them are things you can look out for by running tests and background searches. However, you’ll have to trust your judgment when hiring someone on the ones you can’t test.

17 of the Most Common Lies Found on Job Applications