Question of the Day: What percent of job seekers lie during the hiring process?

Mar 01, 2020
Ethics, Question of the Day, Career, Employment

Answer: 78%

Here were their five most common lies: 

  • Mastery of skills they barely use (like Excel or a foreign language) - 60%
  • Working at company longer than they did to omit another employer - 50%
  • Having a higher GPA by 1/2 a point: 49%
  • Title inflation: 41%
  • Earning a degree from a prestigious university when they were a few credits short: 39%


  • Do you think it's ok to lie about your skills if you really, really want a job? Does it depend on what you are lying about?
  • What's the difference between a lie and an exaggeration?
  • Assume that your lie doesn’t get caught during the hiring process, what's the risk once you start working in the job?

Here's the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the numbers (CNBC):

The survey findings from Checkster, a reference checking company, show that 78% of candidates who applied for or received a job offer in the last six months admit they did or would consider misrepresenting themselves on their application. Put another way, just one in six job seekers say they didn’t stretch the truth in any way during their recent hiring experience.


Will artificial intelligence during the hiring process be better at detecting lies? Check out the latest FinCap Friday: Smile More, Get Hired and find out. 


In this project, Who Aced The Interview Challenge?, students will prepare for a job interview and then practice delivering on-the-spot answers in a group challenge, while peers provide feedback on their responses.


About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.