3 years ago
November 4, 2021

4 Signs a Sales Candidate Might Be Exaggerating Their Results

Honesty is always the best policy, right? Maybe not as much when there is a job on the line. Some level of exaggeration is to be expected by candidates during…

Rhys Metler

Honesty is always the best policy, right? Maybe not as much when there is a job on the line. Some level of exaggeration is to be expected by candidates during a job interview. They are vying for a job. They are also sales professionals – they know how to lay it on thick and sell you on their abilities. But there is a big difference between using certain language to build yourself up and make yourself a more attractive candidate, and outright exaggerating and lying about your sales career results.

Here are some signs a sales candidate might be exaggerating their results on their resume or during the job interview:


1. The numbers seem too good to be true

There is a big difference between impressive sales results and those that are just too good to be true. If you see results that pop off the page and make you take a second look, it is definitely worth further investigation. If the candidate seems to have legitimately achieved these results, great! You have found a top candidate. But you need to dig deeper to make sure the numbers are not too good to be true.

2. They say “We” instead of “I”

There is a big difference between being the driving force behind great results and being part of the team. Listen to the words a candidate uses to describe their results. If they say “we” instead of “I,” it could be a sign they played a role in helping to achieve results, but they were not the catalyst.

Shining Schitts Creek GIF by CBC

3. They can’t explain the results in detail

If a sales candidate communicates great sales results, one of the most effective ways to find out if they are legitimate is to probe and ask more questions. Ask them to explain the results in greater detail. Ask questions about the process they used, challenges, and key insights they learned. If they give a vague response and provide little detail, then there is a good chance the results are exaggerated.

4. Work samples and references don’t align with performance claims

Saying and doing are two different things. One way to see if performance results are accurate is to give candidates a proficiency test. It is also important to ask for references about the candidate’s performance claims. These two actions will help you better understand if the candidate is exaggerating.

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Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.