Go Back

Truth or fiction: looking beyond the resume.


Meredith Stack


A website, called This Resume Does Not Exist can generate fabricated resumes using data found online. The site uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to generate fake names, career goals, job experience, and even photos of fictional candidates.

The results aren’t terribly impressive – yet. At first glance, the resumes look impressive but dig deeper, and most of the job descriptions and career goals are gibberish.

However, the fact that this site exists at all doesn’t bode well for the future of recruiting.

Four out of five people already lie on their actual resumes, according to HireRight’s latest Employment Screening Benchmark report. And these aren’t just the entry-level applicants trying to flesh out their limited work experience. Even mid-career and senior professionals bolster their career history with educational embellishments, extended dates to cover gaps in employment, and claims of expertise in skills or software they’ve barely used.

This epidemic of lying will only increase as artificial intelligence tools figure out how to craft the perfect resume allowing people to boost their chances of slipping into jobs for which they aren’t qualified.

Trust but verify.

While most resumes are more exaggeration than outright fabrication, this data should cause recruiters to question what they can really learn about a candidate from a resume alone. Some experts argue that resumes are too cumbersome and static to even be relevant in today’s fast-paced hiring cycle.

That’s not to say companies should give resumes up altogether. They can be a nice ‘calling card,’ giving recruiters a sense of who the candidate is, and what skills they (may) bring to the table. But recruiters need to balance resumes with more quantitative data to be sure they are making informed decisions about whom to hire. Fortunately, there are many ways recruiters can gather this important, quantifiable information:

  • Programming or coding challenges. When hiring software engineers, data analyst, or any other high-tech expert, testing their skills through programming or coding challenges will determine if they have the chops to do the job. Platforms like HackerRank, TopCoder, Codility, and others give recruiters a way to quickly validate individual candidate skills, and to compare a short list of candidates before taking the process further. For non-tech roles, recruiters may want to consider creating job challenges to assess candidates’ writing, marketing or other creative skills.
  • Candidates' online footprint. Don’t just look at whom they say they are in their Linked In profile, look at what they’ve done. Do they have a blog or a portfolio of work? Do they contribute to industry discussions, or participate in volunteer organizations? Even if the things they do online aren’t exactly aligned with the position, these resources will indicate if a candidate is motivated and passionate about what they do, which is exactly the kind of person you want on the job.
  • Pre-employment assessments. Compared to resumes, pre-employment assessment are harder to fake or exaggerate. These customizable screening tools provide recruiters with measurable data about a candidate’s skills, attributes, and personality, including where they excel and where they may fall short. The resulting job fit scores allow recruiters to quickly assess individual risk, compare candidate scores, look for culture fit, and determine whether mismatches could potentially impact job performance.
  • Behavioral interviews. When done right, behavioral interviews can help recruiters get a sense of a candidate’s experience by asking situational questions that require them to share a specific story of a past experience and how they responded. For example, they might ask a candidate to describe a time when they disagreed with their supervisor on how to accomplish something, or how they dealt with missing a deadline. Behavioral interviewing will give you a sense of how experienced a candidate really is, and how they are likely to perform in your organization.

When recruiters couple the promise of a resume with the reality of a candidate’s performance using any or all of the above strategies, they can get a realistic picture of who a potential hire is, and whether they are right for the job.

Looking at candidates beyond their resumes

Buyer's Guide

Make better hiring decisions, save time, and reduce turnover with assessments. Learn what to consider when evaluating vendors.

Go Back

2970 Peachtree Road NW, Suite 300, Atlanta, Ga 30305 | Terms of Service | Privacy

© All Rights Reserved. Berke ® is a registered trademark of Berke Group, LLC.