4 Ways to Spot Resume Lies

As part of the hiring process, you’ve probably sifted through dozens of resumes and applications. Some of them may read like an absolute dream come true. In fact, some sound so good that you may start to wonder if they’re a little too good. Believe it or not, a recent report revealed that a whopping 85% of applicants lie (or at least fudge the truth) when applying for a job.

The good news is there are certain proactive measures you can take to help spot the fibbers right off the bat and eliminate them from the selection pool. Here are four red flags to watch for and how to deal with each of them.


One telltale sign that a candidate isn’t being forthcoming is the use of passive verbs and ambiguous phrases. For instance, an applicant that lists a particular skill but describes their experience with that skill as “familiar with” or “involved in” is likely not very proficient in said skill to begin with.

Without the presence of strong action verbs, precise language and quantifiable outcomes, you’re left wondering what, exactly, the candidate in question actually brings to the table. And when it comes to hiring, lack of clarity can be a dangerous thing.


Double check the timelines on the resumes you’re reviewing to make sure everything lines up. For instance, if a candidate’s application or cover letter indicates he or she worked at a certain clinic or in a particular role for five years, but the dates of employment on the resume only indicate a span of 18 months, chances are there’s some exaggeration going on. At the very least, your candidate lacks good attention to detail if he or she didn’t catch the inconsistency before applying.

Another type of inconsistency to watch for is job titles. Is the candidate’s work history logical? For example, an applicant that jumped from veterinary receptionist to head technician in a short period of time without a logical progression of experience and education in between might be an indication that there is some embellishment at play.


Too much noise and clutter on a resume or cover letter can be indicative that the applicant is hoping to distract prospective employers and draw attention away from the fact that they are less than qualified. The overuse of superlatives, such as “most amazing,” “number one” and “best,” can all fall into this category.

Likewise, incorporating too much information into a resume can also serve as a way to cover up inexperience or lack of familiarity with the role or industry. When reviewing resumes during the hiring process, you should carefully read through each applicant’s work history and job duties. If something seems a little over the top, it probably is.


This can be a challenging one, particularly given the state of the economy over the past decade or so. Gaps in employment may simply be due to lack of available jobs, or they could represent time spent pursuing additional education. They can also be a sign, however, that an applicant is trying to hide something. For example, a lengthy span of time in between jobs could indicate that a position or two have been purposely left off the resume.

Most qualified candidates will proactively address stints of unemployment in their cover letter. If not, it’s up to you to determine whether a particular candidate is worth contacting for a pre-screening before scheduling an in-person interview. If so, you can (and should) ask them to explain any gaps you are concerned about.

Hiring for your veterinary practice can be a time-consuming and daunting experience. Finding ways to weed out candidates that probably aren’t worth pursuing can make the process much easier. In addition to the four signs listed above, these resume red flags and interview questions should help you narrow down your selection so you end up with only the best of the best.

And, of course, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or are just tired of wasting your precious time, we invite you to give us a call: 1-800-469-1871 ext 353. We can help you find your dream team without having to lift a single finger.