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How job seekers are ‘cheating’ in the hiring process

Fudging a detail or two on a resume is nothing new, but based on 1,250 responses to a survey of professionals who have searched for a job within the last two years, outright lying and cheating have also become common.

The Resume Templates survey suggests 15% of job seekers confessed to always cheating during their job search process, and 20% saying they occasionally did.

One of the largest offenses is cheating on pre-hiring job candidate online skills assessment tests, which are increasingly common in the hiring process. More than 1 in 10 respondents said they had someone else complete the assessment test for them; 17% searched online for answers when that was not allowed; and 37% used ChatGPT for help when that was also not allowed.

One in 10 also said they cheated across various interview formats, including during video interviews with a hiring manager by having someone feed them answers.

“Job seekers were receiving answers via text during the video interview, or someone might have been in the room with them,” said Andrew Stoner, executive resume writer and career coach at Resume Templates.

Common resume lies include years of experience, skills or abilities, previous employers and education.

Job seekers know companies increasingly are using resume screening software that flags skills and experience required for the job opening, which may explain what’s called resume stacking.

“That is contributing to some job seekers feeling that they have to meet 100% of the requirements. The reality is that’s not necessarily true. It almost never happens that someone needs to meet 100% of a lengthy list of job requirements,” Stoner said.

There are consequences to not being truthful about background or skills in a job interview, even after getting hired.

“One in three of respondents who reported that they had cheated during the process and landed the job faced consequences, up to having the offer rescinded or even being terminated after they were hired if they were found out,” Stoner said.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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