Almost above all else, employers want applicants with integrity
If employers truly wanted applicants with integrity, and presumably successfully filter out those who lack integrity, then pray tell, why is the business news so rife with stories of corporate malfeasance? Why has Barclays agreed to fines of over $400m and counting regarding the manipulation of LIBOR and EURIBOR, with the accompanying participation of other banks yet to be revealed but sure to come? Why just last week did GSK plead guilty to criminal charges and agreed to disgorge $3 billion - the largest settlement both nominally and after inflation adjustment in the history of the pharmaceutical industry - for extensive violations of the False Claims Act and the Food Drugs and Cosmetic Act? Why is the Board of Duke Energy being accused of "corporate deceit" over the recent merger and accompanying CEO 'bait-and' switch with Progress Energy? Why just last month was the former head of McKinsey and director at P&G, Goldman Sachs, and American Airlines convicted of 4 counts of felony securities fraud and conspiracy?
Or simply consider the entire rationale behind marketing and advertising, for which firms spend billions of dollars per year as a matter of course. Let's be perfectly honest: most advertising is predicated upon elaborate misdirection and misrepresentation. Movie trailers are deliberately designed to show you only a movie's most interesting segments - sometimes even including segments that don't even appear in the movie at all (although in fairness sometimes the trailer was produced before the movie's final edit was completed). And when exactly has anybody ever bought a fast food meal that actually looks as delicious as it does in the commercial?
If firms are allowed to withhold information to present their best possible image to customers through clever advertising, then I frankly don't see what is so outrageous with potential employees doing likewise when trying to obtain employment with those very same firms. A resume is, like a movie trailer, merely a marketing document, nothing more.