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Nearly 4 in 10 recruiters lie to candidates during hiring process

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About 36% of hiring managers say they’ve lied to job candidates about a job position or the company during the hiring process, according to a Aug. 14 report from Resume Builder.

Among those, 75% said they lie during the interview, 52% in the job description and 24% in the offer letter.

“Lying to candidates undermines an organization’s integrity and is bad for business,” Stacie Haller, chief career advisor for Resume Builder, said in a statement.

“Candidates are making decisions based on the information they receive, and deceit only leads to bad outcomes for both the organization and candidate,” she said. “Honesty not only upholds an organization’s reputation but also is critical for cultivating success for both the company and the individuals it seeks to attract.”

In a survey of 1,060 hiring managers, 80% said lying is “very acceptable” or “somewhat acceptable” at their company. In addition, 6% said they lie “all the time,” 24% most of the time, 45% some of the time and 25% not often.

Most frequently, hiring managers lie about a role’s responsibilities, followed by growth opportunities at the company and career development opportunities overall. They also said they lie about company culture, benefits, commitment to social issues, compensation and the financial health of the company.

The recruiters said they tend to lie to “cover up negative information about the company” or “make the job sound better than it really is.” They also lie to “attract more qualified candidates” and “deliberately say things that will please the candidate.”

Among those who lie to job seekers, 92% said they’ve had a candidate accept a job offer after being misled. However, more than half said an employee has quit after being hired and discovering they were lied to during the hiring process. These employees often left within a week, a month or after the first few months of being hired.

According to the survey, hiring managers who lie during the hiring process also ghost job candidates, typically sometime during the interview portion. About 10% said they’ve ghosted a potential employee after sending an offer letter.

“Just as organizations seek professional and courteous behavior from candidates, the same should be reciprocated,” Haller said. “Failing to communicate honestly and transparently not only damages an employer’s reputation but also undermines the broader hiring ecosystem.”

Lying and ghosting during the recruitment process could lead candidates to withdraw their applications, particularly if a company gains a reputation for an unfavorable hiring process. In fact, job seekers have said they’ve exited the hiring process for several reasons, such as scheduling delays or a lack of transparency.

Creating a positive recruitment experience can serve as a retention tool as well. Employees have said they’re looking for a new job outside of their organization due to unfair internal hiring practices. Employers can increase the perceived fairness by improving internal mobility through upskilling, boosting awareness of internal opportunities and providing access to these opportunities through professional coaching.

Ultimately, the hiring process is a brand experience, and candidate engagement is crucial, according to a report from Modern Hire. That includes a seamless and timely hiring experience, authentic brand storytelling and prioritization of candidate dignity.

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