Resume Embellishment: What To Look Out For When Hiring Your Next Leader

Resume Embellishment What To Look Out For When Hiring Your Next Leader


They can be a playground of embellishments and wishful thinking.

It’s no secret that candidates often put their creative writing skills to the test when crafting their resumes. But here’s the unfortunate irony…most companies heavily rely on these very resumes to find their next superstar leader.

For many companies hiring for key roles, they get a sea of resumes, each one vying for attention with exaggerated claims and inflated achievements. It’s a game of hide-and-seek, where the truth is buried under layers of fancy words and embellishments.

Now, if you’re scratching your head wondering why your past attempts at key hires didn’t quite hit the mark, it’s time to face the music. It’s likely because you were duped right from the get-go, and it all started with that pesky little resume.

In order to truly hire the right leader, you need a system to identify what’s true and what’s false when it comes to candidate resumes.

So, in this article, we’ll dive deep into the question that haunts many hiring managers: Can you really trust resumes?

We’ll cover:

  • Why traditional resumes often fall short
  • Key factors that impact resume authenticity
  • Proven methods to assess and validate resume claims
  • Exploring alternative ways to evaluate candidates’ skills and potential

Let’s jump in.

Why Traditional Resumes Often Fall Short

Traditional resumes have long been the go-to tool for both job seekers and employers in the hiring process. However, they have their fair share of shortcomings that can leave employers questioning their reliability.

One major issue is the lack of depth and context provided by a one or two-page document. Resumes often fail to capture the full scope of a candidate’s skills, experience, and potential, leading to an incomplete understanding of their suitability for a role. That’s problem #1.

Another problem is that traditional resumes can be easily manipulated or embellished by candidates aiming to present themselves in the best light possible. In fact, Statista shared that 79% of adults have lied on their resume and not been caught…

With fierce competition in the job market, it’s not uncommon for applicants to exaggerate their achievements or include misleading information. This creates a dilemma for employers who must sift through a slew of resumes, trying to separate fact from fiction.

It’s time to break free from the resume conundrum and seek a more comprehensive and reliable approach to evaluating candidates—one that goes beyond the limitations of traditional resumes and dives deeper into their true capabilities.

Resume Authenticity – Red Flags

As an employer, the last thing you want is to be tricked by untruthful resumes. Trust is the backbone of hiring, and gambling on potentially inaccurate or embellished information can lead to costly hiring mistakes. To combat this, you need to be able to identify red flags with resume authenticity.

The first red flag to look out for is consistency within the resume. Pay close attention to any inconsistencies in dates, job titles, or responsibilities listed on a candidate’s resume. These red flags can indicate potential exaggerations or attempts to hide gaps in employment history. Take the time to verify and cross-reference the information provided to ensure you’re getting the full story.

The second red flag to watch out for is inflated claims or achievements. It’s natural for candidates to want to present themselves in the best light, but be wary of over-the-top claims that seem too good to be true. Look for specific details, measurable results, and supporting evidence that can validate their accomplishments.

Proven Methods To Assess and Validate Resume Claims

If there are no initial red flags in the resume, you are not in the clear yet. You need to take it one step further, because resume embellishment can (and will) carry over into interviews. And you want to make sure to actually validate that the information provided in the resume is actually true.

One effective method is conducting thorough reference checks. But don’t just settle for the references provided by the candidate, especially if this is for a key executive hire. Go the extra mile and reach out to previous employers or colleagues who have worked closely with the applicant. These conversations can provide valuable insights into the candidate’s skills, work ethic, and overall performance. By verifying the information shared on the resume through firsthand accounts, you can build a more accurate picture of the candidate’s capabilities.

Another powerful verification strategy is leveraging online platforms and professional networks. Platforms such as LinkedIn can offer a wealth of information to validate a candidate’s professional background and connections. Take the time to review their profile, examine their endorsements and recommendations, and see if their experience aligns with what they’ve presented on their resume. Connecting with mutual connections can also provide an opportunity to gather additional insights and perspectives on the candidate’s qualifications.

Alternative Ways to Evaluate Candidates’ Skills and Potential

Companies who truly take their hiring seriously will not only conduct reference checks, but they will put the candidate through a process that makes them put their money where their mouth is and prove they are the real deal.

One effective approach is skills-based assessments or tests tailored to the specific role. These assessments provide tangible evidence of a candidate’s abilities and allow you to gauge their competency firsthand. Whether it’s a role-specific challenge, a writing sample, or a mock project, these alternative evaluation methods provide a more objective measure of a candidate’s skills, helping you make informed decisions based on demonstrated abilities rather than just words on a resume.

Another powerful tool in your arsenal is conducting situational interviews where the candidate walks you through specific situations they’ve experienced in the past. By having candidates walk you through real-life scenarios they encountered in previous roles, you can assess their problem-solving skills, decision-making capabilities, and how they handle challenging situations. These interviews dive deeper into a candidate’s mindset and provide valuable insights into their potential fit within your organization.

It’s Time To Get To The Truth

There you have it. In a world where resumes often resemble works of fiction rather than reliable documents, employers face the challenge of discerning truth from embellishment.

Traditional resumes fall short in capturing the full scope of a candidate’s abilities, leading to incomplete evaluations.

To overcome this conundrum, it’s crucial to identify red flags and validate resume claims.

Thorough reference checks and leveraging online platforms offer valuable insights, while alternative evaluation methods like skills-based assessments and situational interviews provide a more objective measure of a candidate’s potential.

It’s time to break free from resume limitations and embellishments and use these tips to unleash your inner Sherlock Holmes, which will help you make informed decisions to find the perfect puzzle piece for your organization