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Survey: One-in-Five Workers Lie

Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources for CareerBuilder.com

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Ever get that sneaking suspicion one of your co-workers isn't being straight with you? Your instincts may be right.

Nineteen percent of workers admitted they tell lies at the office at least once a week, according to CareerBuilder.com's new "Honesty in the Workplace" survey. Fifteen percent of workers reported they were caught in a lie at the office.

When asked why they felt compelled to bend the truth at work, respondents cited the following reasons:

  • To appease a customer (26 percent)


  • To cover up a failed project, mistake or missed deadline (13 percent)


  • To explain an unexcused absence or late arrival (8 percent)


  • To protect another employee (8 percent)


  • To get another employee in trouble or look better in front of a supervisor (5 percent)


  • But be warned: Nearly one-in-four hiring managers -- 24 percent -- say they have fired an employee for being dishonest.

    It may seem cliché, but honesty is the best policy. Even if you are motivated by the best of intentions, being deceitful can seriously compromise your credibility with colleagues and negatively impact your career progress. The vast majority of hiring managers -- 85 percent -- say they are less likely to promote an employee who has lied to them or other members of the organization.

    The most common lies workers say they have told at the office include:

  • I don't know how that happened (20 percent)


  • I have another call to take or I'll call you right back (16 percent)


  • I've been out of town or out sick (10 percent)


  • I like your outfit or you look great (8 percent)


  • I didn't get your e-mail, voicemail or fax (8 percent)


  • Which ones have you used?


    Survey Methodology:
    CareerBuilder.com's survey, "Honesty in the Workplace," was conducted from November 15 to December 6, 2005. Methodology used to collect survey responses totaling more than 2,050 workers for this study involved selecting a random sample of comScore Networks panel members. These Web Panel members were approached via an e-mail invitation, which asked them to participate in a short online survey. The results of this survey are statistically accurate to within +/- 2.16 percentage points (19 times out of 20). Note: the sample of 2,050+ included 1,000 hiring managers. The results for the hiring managers alone are accurate within +/- 3.09 percentage points (19 times out of 20).



    Rosemary Haefner is the Vice President of Human Resources for CareerBuilder.com. She is an expert in recruitment trends and tactics, job seeker behavior, workplace issues, employee attitudes and HR initiatives.

    Last Updated: 24/09/2007 - 3:50 PM


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