A study carried out by researchers at Cornell University and published in the March issue of “Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking” reports that people are more honest about the important facts on their LinkedIn profiles than on their traditional resumes.
The study, titled “The effect of LinkedIn on Deception in Resumes”, found that rather than fudging the facts about important and major items like job history and titles, they tend to tell smaller fibs about their hobbies and personal interests, which are much harder to verify, and more subjective. An abstract of the study concludes: “Compared with traditional resumes, LinkedIn resumes were less deceptive about the kinds of information that count most to employers, namely an applicant’s prior work experience and responsibilities.”
However the researchers said that overall the level of deception on LinkedIn was just as high as on traditional resumes, except that the participants were more deceptive about hobbies and personal interest in order to create the desired positive impression. The researchers conducted an experiment in which test participants created resumes in one of three settings: the traditional offline resume, publicly available LinkedIn profiles, and private LinkedIn profiles.
Jamie Guillory, Cornell graduate student and lead author of the study, explained while people tended to be much more honest about important job history facts “they still found ways to make themselves look better.” About 92 percent of the 119 study participants who were all college students, lied at least once, and on average they lied three times on their resumes regardless of what format was used. The highest number of times a person lied was eight but Guillory noted these tended not to be outright lies but exaggerations or omitting information.