Is exaggerating on your job application cheating?


A mining people survey reveals just how many people exaggerate to get a job. But is it a good idea?

Is exaggerating on your job application cheating?

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We recently created the new Mining People International (MPi) Polling Booth.

The idea was to survey visitors to the MPi website and then feed the results back in quick time to readers of MPi News and various other MPi publications. Our latest poll asked the following question:

Have you ever slightly (or more) exaggerated your skills/experience to increase your chances of getting a job?

We had nearly 450 respondents with the following fascinating results:

Yes 26.7%

No 73.3%

So more than a quarter of job applicants admitted to misrepresenting their experience in an attempt to increase their chances of winning a job.

We also asked each respondent if they were a Supervisor/Manager.

Supervisor/Managers admitting to exaggerating their experience: 33.2%

Non-Supervisor/Managers admitting to exaggerating their experience: 20.3%

The take-aways from this are obvious.

For employers:

  • If you are relying totally on a review of a person’s CV or cover letter to assess their suitability, with little in the way of investigation through either a targeted interview and/or detailed reference check, then your new hire will likely disappoint you at least 25 per cent of the time.
  • For positions with a higher proportion of subjective skills that need assessing, — management and supervisory skills, for example — the problem is even more pronounced, with a third of people trying to mislead you.  

For employees:

  • Professional recruiters, both in-house and external recruiters, are very good at uncovering exactly how closely a person’s resume describes the actual job they held.
  • Misrepresenting yourself and successfully getting a job will often lead to a failed appointment (that is, you being dismissed) which won’t look good and will then be a source of further awkward questions when you next apply for a job.
  • Misrepresenting your skills and experience will often lead to a reduced level of trust by the recruiters who uncovered the exaggeration.
  • Our experience is that almost everyone has skills and experiences that genuinely do exceed some aspects of an employer’s position description requirements. Our advice is to highlight the areas where you exceed, rather than exaggerate those areas where you don’t.

So, is exaggerating on your job application cheating? What we can say for certain is that these are significant percentages, so a lot of people are doing it despite the potential to cause unnecessary damage for what is really very little long-term gain.  

Please let us know what you’d like us to ask the mining world about. often receives upwards of 15,000 to 20,000 visitors a month, providing a wonderful opportunity to capture accurate and deep insights into what industry participants are feeling and thinking.

Email your ideas to