3 years ago
August 24, 2021

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire. How to Sniff Out Lies on a Sales Candidate’s Resume

People lie. Job candidates are no different. Sales professionals lie on their resumes all the time. They do it for many reasons, including trying to make themselves look like the…

Claire McConnachie Recruiter
Claire McConnachie

People lie. Job candidates are no different. Sales professionals lie on their resumes all the time. They do it for many reasons, including trying to make themselves look like the best candidate possible when competing for jobs. As an employer, this creates an additional challenge to consider when reviewing job applications. It’s tough enough to choose a list of people to interview from a pile of applicants. Then you have to think about whether these candidates are honest. You need to try to separate the pretenders from the contenders.


Here are some tips to help you sniff out lies on a sales candidate’s resume:

Don’t Skim – Take a Deeper Look

Skimming resumes have become common practice for many employers. You are short on time, and you want to get through the pile of resumes on your desk. But, if you only skim the resume, you could be overlooking important red flags that indicate a candidate could be lying. So, if you skim a resume and then put it in the “yes” pile, make sure you review it in detail before you request an interview.

Crosscheck the Resume Online

Does what the candidate includes in their resume match up with what they have on their LinkedIn profile? Doing a Google search can help you verify any questionable information you may find on a candidate’s resume.

Inquire About Questionable Claims During the Interview

One of the most effective ways to investigate a potential lie or embellishment is to ask a candidate about it during the interview. Ask them questions about the information on the resume and pay attention to how they answer the question. Do they have a thorough answer? Does it seem like they are hiding something?

I Dont Wanna Know The Goldbergs GIF by ABC Network

Ask for Proof of Performance

It’s common for sales professionals to provide statistics to support their claims about past performance. Asking them to provide proof of this performance will quickly tell you if they are being honest about what they stated on their resume.

Make the Reference Check Worthwhile

It’s important to take reference checks seriously. Don’t treat them as an afterthought. Ask pointed and specific questions about the candidate’s experience, skills, and impact on the previous employer. You can learn a lot about a candidate and validate a lot of information about them when you put in the effort.

More Sales Recruiting Advice

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Claire McConnachie Recruiter

Claire McConnachie

Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.