8 Common Lies That Hiring Managers Can Easily Spot

By Lisa Gootman Yudico


As a recruiter for over thirteen years, I have seen and heard it all. From impressive exaggerations on resumes to outright fabrications during interviews, trust me when I say: the holes always come out.

The urge to present oneself in the best possible light is both understandable and seems necessary in this competitive job market. However, hiring managers have developed a sixth sense for detecting these lies.

In my experience, having a transparent approach not only builds trust with these hiring managers, but it also sets the stage for a successful and fulfilling professional journey.

In this article, I’ll shed light on eight common topics that hiring managers are fully aware candidates are lying about, and I’ll provide insights on how to navigate the job-seeking process with integrity.




Falsified test scores, GPAs, Specializations and Licensures…

They can verify all of this, by the way.

You’re probably thinking:

“Why would they question it?” or maybe, “These are meaningless in the grand scheme of things.”

Background checks and verification processes have become a standard practice for most companies. Your best bet is to highlight your genuine achievements and demonstrate how they make you a strong fit for the role.

Education is very important, but managers also understand that being a great fit involves much more than just test scores. Over the years, I’ve seen many candidates who are considered traditionally under-qualified in this department still land big roles.

Honesty and authenticity are qualities that will resonate far more.




It’s a small world out there.

Similar to above, your participation in volunteer work is something that you’d be surprised hiring managers can find out you’re lying about. This is a sensitive area that makes a candidate look especially bad for exaggerating.

It is certainly admirable when you give back to the community and engage in charitable activities. If you did so, it is wonderful to include on your resume, and we encourage you to discuss it with the hiring manager.

If not, that’s okay! It won’t be held against you or make you look any less qualified than the next candidate.




Studied French in college? Proficient in SQL? A Photoshop Extraordinaire? How good is anyone at Microsoft Excel, really?

One of the most common pitfalls is embellishing your technical or additional skills. While adding these types of proficiencies to your resume may catch a hiring manager’s eye, remember that interviews and assessments often reveal the truth.

Flooding your resume with extra or unnecessary skills to make you look more qualified often ends up making it look like you’re just trying to be a jack-of-all-trades, or that you’re more well-rounded that your competition. That’s not entirely what hiring managers are looking for, and it can often come across as too much. Especially if they’re lies.

Honesty about your skill level for the job not only reflects your personality, but it will also help match you with the best opportunity for you. Sure, you’re not going to check off every box, but the interview process will allow for you to express your willingness to learn, and describe how quickly you’ve been able to adapt to anything that has previously fallen outside of your wheelhouse.

Of course, if it is relevant to your industry and you actually possess this skill, include it! But keep it minimal. Less is better.

Together, if necessary, you and your recruiter can sell all other technical abilities during the interview process.




Again, it is a really small world out there. It should not be shocking to find that many hiring managers are friends with – you guessed it – other hiring managers.

Being truthful about your reasons for leaving a previous job is crucial. Hiring managers can see through evasive answers or overly negative portrayals. If you’re lying about how a prior employment ended, it is their job to find that out.

If you were terminated – wrongful or not – it is best that you talk to your experience, and not about bad prior management or the company as a whole. Even if it’s true, your hiring manager doesn’t need an an excuse as to why it didn’t work out, or whose fault it was.

I’m not saying you should silence yourself from exposing a past employer’s wrongdoing, but a more productive approach is to frame the challenges you faced as opportunities for growth and learning. You can talk candidly with your recruiter, and both of you can come up with this better approach.

What’s important is that we find the next best opportunity for you; not to dwell on a previous bad relationship. The way you handle this inquiry will dictate how you fit into that next role.





This is arguably the easiest bit of information for them to find out, even without a mutual friend or familiar hiring manager at the company. Adding a couple of extra weeks, months or years is just not in your best interest.

Resume gaps are more common than you think, and they will not be held against you if you are an upstanding and sincere candidate.




Even if it’s true, you were late. Period. The only lie here is that you agreed to a date and time for this meeting. As far as they’re concerned, any excuse is a lie.

We get it. Accidents happen, circumstances arise, and sometimes things are out of your control. That is why it is essential to avoid tardiness as much as possible. Be in the area extra early, give yourself plenty of buffer time, and check in no more than 15 minutes beforehand.

Your best way to avoid having an excuse or lying: Don’t be late.

If there is nothing you can do to get there on time, immediately reach out to your recruiter and they can notify the manager for you. Be sure to still apologize.




You may think that lying about having other outstanding offers will make you look like a stronger candidate. That is not true.

If you really do have outstanding offers, then yes, you should definitely let them know. Sometimes, this may help to quickly push the process along for you.

However, if you’re deceitfully claiming other offers, two scenarios will typically arise:

  1. They will pass on scheduling additional interviews with you out of concern that they won’t be able to get through the process quick enough to accommodate you and those fake offers.
  2. The process will take the usual amount of time, and the hiring manager will be left wondering why those other offers haven’t expired. They now know that those offers never existed in the first place, and this will likely impact their decision to give you an offer.


You may think that you’re rushing the process, making yourself look more sought-after, and solidifying your offer. In reality, you’re setting yourself up to be caught in a lie.





At the very least, please know how to pronounce the company name. (I wish this was just a joke…)

At the very most, know everything else.

Hiring managers are well aware of the “dream job” narrative that candidates craft without knowing much about what the company even does.

Understanding the company you’re interviewing for is paramount for so many reasons. Showing genuine interest and enthusiasm for a position by researching the company’s history, culture, values, products, and recent developments conveys a strong sense of commitment. If you are truly serious about working for this company, you should also want to know where they stand in the business world.

Google them! And even then, hiring managers are savvy to spot when you’ve only given them a generic, broad search. Do as much research as you can, leading up to the morning that you interview with them.

I once had a candidate confidently tell me that he did as much research as he could. On the morning of his interview, there was breaking news about the company, and the candidate was unaware of it. I believed him when he told me that he had done his due diligence, but when he was questioned, he did not know about the current event. Unfortunately, that is what cost him his offer.

Knowing the facts about a company will also enable you to align all of the above experiences and skills you have with the company’s needs. This will showcase your ability to effectively contribute and solve their unique challenges. I’ve seen too many candidates lose their grip here.

Every company has its own culture, and hiring managers are on the lookout for candidates who are earnestly compatible with their’s. Pretending to align with a company’s values just to secure a job will never work out in the long run.

They will likely have a culture or core values section on their website. It is imperative that you know it and integrate it into your interview. The hiring managers will be looking for this. If you cannot find, a recruiter can help fill in any blanks, as they speak directly with the company as a client and have likely gotten feedback from other candidates placed there.

Ultimately, being prepared and familiar with the company enhances credibility, differentiates you from other candidates, and positions you as someone who is eager to contribute to the organization’s success.




Remember, your true strengths and attributes are the most powerful assets in your search for the perfect job. I hope these eight tips offered some help and a little bit more insight into the process for you. If you are interested in exploring any opportunities or hiring needs, have any questions, or simply want to chat, please do not hesitate to reach out!


📩  lgootman@atlassearchllc.com

👉  LinkedIn


Lisa Gootman Yudico is a Managing Director at Atlas Search. She has worked in the Accounting & Finance division since 2017, servicing all industries and specializing in placements from staff accountants to CFOs. Prior to her move into recruiting, Lisa worked in public and corporate accounting for 10 years.


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