Research has shown that it’s not uncommon for candidates to lie during the hiring process.

To find out whether lying is a common practice on the employer’s side as well, in August, surveyed 1,060 managers and business leaders involved in hiring at their company.

Key findings:

  • 36% of hiring managers say they’ve lied to candidates about the role or company during the hiring process
  • Of this group, 75% lie in the interview, 52% in the job description, and 24% in the offer letter
  • Most common lies are about the role’s responsibilities, growth and career development opportunities
  • 92% say they’ve had a candidate they lied to accept a job offer

36% of hiring managers lie to candidates

Overall, 36% of hiring managers say they lie to candidates about the role or company during the hiring process.

Three-quarters of hiring managers in this group say they lied during the interview, 52% in the job description, and 24% in the offer letter.

Some say they lie more frequently than others. In fact, 6% say they lie all the time, while 24% say they do most of the time. On the other hand, 45% say they lie only some of the time, and 25% say they don’t lie often.

The vast majority (80%) of hiring managers say lying is ‘very acceptable’ (14%) or ‘somewhat acceptable’ (66%) at their company.

We asked respondents why they lie to candidates, and write-in responses were telling. Respondents say they lie for the following reasons:

  • “To protect sensitive company information.”
  • “To cover up negative information about the company.”
  • “To attract job seekers, some benefits are exaggerated.”
  • “To deliberately say things that will please the candidate”
  • “To make the job sound better than it really is.”
  • “To attract more qualified candidates.”

Role, company culture are most commonly lied about

Hiring managers most commonly lie about the role’s responsibilities (40%), growth opportunities at the company (39%), and career development opportunities (38%).

Additionally, hiring managers admit they lie about company culture (31%), benefits (28%), commitment to social issues (27%), the financial health of the company (26%), compensation (24%), and more.

9 in 10 hiring managers say a candidate they lied to was hired

Of hiring managers who lie to candidates, 92% say they’ve had a misled candidate accept a job offer.

However, 55% say they’ve had an employee quit after being hired on false pretenses, as a result of discovering they were lied to in the hiring process.

Many of these employees were quick to exit the company. In fact, 14% say the employee quit within a week, 35% within a month, and 31% within 3 months.

“Lying to candidates undermines an organization’s integrity and is bad for business,” says Stacie Haller, chief career advisor.

“Candidates are making decisions based on the information they receive, and deceit only leads to bad outcomes for both the organization and candidate. 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.”

1 in 10 deceitful hiring managers have ghosted a candidate after they were sent an offer letter

Among hiring managers who lie to candidates, the vast majority are also not above ghosting.

Only 8% say they’ve never ghosted a candidate, while 7% say they do all the time, 30% most of the time, and 37% some of the time. Additionally, 18% say they rarely ghost.

The plurality say the furthest stage a candidate was at when they ghosted them was they had interviewed with one person at the company (32%). However, 30% say the candidate had interviewed with multiple people, and 10% say they were sent an offer letter.

“Ghosting candidates reflects a lack of respect for their time, effort, and aspirations,” says Stacie Haller.

“Just as organizations seek professional and courteous behavior from candidates, the same should be reciprocated. Failing to communicate honestly and transparently not only damages an employer’s reputation but also undermines the broader hiring ecosystem. By treating candidates with the same professionalism we expect from them, we not only preserve the human aspect of recruitment but also contribute to a more respectful and equitable job market for everyone involved.”


This survey was commissioned by and conducted online by the survey platform Pollfish. It was launched on August 2, 2023. In total, 1,060 respondents were surveyed. To qualify for the survey all participants had to pass through screening questions. All respondents answered they are responsible for hiring new workers in their current role.

Additionally respondents had to meet demographic criteria, including being currently employed, 25 or older, having an organizational role of middle management or higher, an income of at least $50,000, and working for a company with at least 25 employees.

To avoid bias Pollfish employs Random Device Engagement (RDE) to ensure both random and organic surveying. Learn more about Pollfish’s survey methodology or contact [email protected] for more information.