Honesty in the Hiring Process: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Is it OK to lie on your resume?

Such a simple question. And, if you believe the countless comments posted underneath the countless articles written on the topic, such a complicated answer.

Take this simple call out by British newspaper The Guardian asking for people’s thoughts on the subject. Here’s some of the best replies:

From: monkey2

Fake it until you make it. Surely everyone knows this, right.

Saying you have worked for companies you have not, etc, on the other hand, is obviously stepping over the line and just plain stupid

From: SnowyJohn

What’s a lie?

Obviously, outrageous making-up stuff is a big no-no. Presenting yourself to the best advantage is OK though.

Saying you worked somewhere you didn’t/have a qualification you don’t is a lie. But claiming that you were “instrumental” on a particular project when you made the tea and took minutes is kind of par for the course, provided you can bull**** your way through any questions about it.

From: winstonbethnalfarage 

They only go back and check the CVs, once they realise they’ve employed a deadbeat.

The CV is only there to be used against you should the need arise.

The consensus among respondents seems to be that “enhancements” are fine, but flat out misrepresentations are flagrant. Check out these stats from an OfficeTeam survey:

  • 47% of managers believe job seekers include dishonest info on their resumes somewhat or very often
  • More than 4 in 10 of employees surveyed report knowing someone who stretched the truth on hiring documents
  • Job duties and education are embellished most often

Hiring professionals, however, take a much firmer stance on the taboo subject. There is no gray area. If you exaggerate, embellish, falsify, lie or whatever other deceitful term you can think of during your job application process, you have zero credibility and therefore won’t be hired. Never mind that 95% of what you provided is true. That 5% of misleading information will detonate like a bomb and destroy your reputation and the reputation of the company that hired you.

The message still seems to be bungled, though, says this Wall Street Journal blog. They point out several recent examples of big time execs who have gotten their comeuppance after being busted for resume fibbing:

David Tovar – Wal-Mart communications bigwig who lied about graduating college

Scott Thompson – Yahoo CEO ousted after padding his resume with degree

Gregory Probert – President and COO of Herbalife, Ltd. never earned his MBA as he claimed in SEC filings

To make things crystal clear, we’re outlining 3 reasons why lying as a job candidate will come back to haunt you.

1.) You can EASILY be busted. As this awesome post written by a Google exec points out, “Everyone, up to and including CEOs, get fired for this.” There are so many ways you’re going to be found out, too. Someone poking around your social media stuff. Background checks from accredited agencies like us that go above and beyond the routine criminal record perusal. Co-workers chatting at the holiday party. Family and friends telling tales at a company picnic. A routine employment scan for a promotion. You’re going to get caught. It’s not a matter of if, but when. You simply cannot outsmart the juggernaut combination of technology and word-of-mouth.

2.) Talk about a skeleton. Once you’re busted and fired for lying, you’ll be carrying that skeleton around with you forever. There is no closet. The internet doesn’t allow for one anymore. Your digital footprint is everywhere. Every time you apply for another gig, a simple web search of your name (we’re not saying it’s right, but we know that most everyone does it) will turn up the cold, hard, ugly truth. So… good luck with that job search. Don’t call us, we’ll call you.

3.) The truth will set you free. Yes, we know using this cliche is cliche. Stick with us. For some people, lying or exaggerating becomes a crutch when they feel their real story isn’t compelling. We like this quote from career coach Kathy Caprino that was featured in this Fox Business story:

“There’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about [for example] taking five years off to raise your children. People feel that limits opportunities for them, but it’s all about confidence.”

The truth is that your truth is interesting. So, you took five years off to raise your kids? At first blush you might feel that you exited the workforce and missed an integral chunk of employable time but if you look closer you’ll see that you:

  • ramped up your deadline-driven efficiency and organizational skills
  • created and managed a strict family budget
  • learned new skills like Photoshop for class projects and Excel for PTA meetings
  • honed your leadership style by volunteering to coach your son’s Little League team

These are all compelling, interesting and useful pieces to your story that will benefit you in a job interview WAY MORE than a lie ever could. And, you won’t have to keep looking behind your back.

Have you ever lied before during the job application process and been caught? Willing to share your story with us to help others from making the same mistake? Put your comment below.

This entry was posted in Applicant-Entry Solutions, Background Screening, Criminal Records, General, Human Resources, References & Credentialing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , by Patricia Carlson. Bookmark the permalink.

Patricia Carlson is a content writer who specializes in B2C and B2B inbound marketing. She blogs regularly for clients about the background screening and finance industries, and generates newsletters, white papers and email campaigns for a variety of businesses. Patricia also produces a heavy rotation of editorial material for home design, law enforcement, and family magazines. She’s been writing professionally for more than a dozen years, and for Active Screening for more than two of those. Check out LinkedIn for a roster of Patricia’s clients and links to published works. When she’s not interviewing sources or researching trends, she’s living a fast-paced Florida life questioning the antics of her two young children, partner and mischievous cat. Patricia loves to talk tennis and TV on Twitter – give her a shout @pattycfreelance.

 
        
Active ScreeningBarbara S.
Healthcare Industry

"Here at Holland Hospital, we have been extremely pleased with Active Screening. The report results come back quickly, usually within 24 hours or less.  The staff at Active Screening is easy accessible, knowledgeable and responds to our questions promptly."

Active ScreeningLynn C. Staffing Industry

"Benton Mobley has been and remains my Main point of contact at Active Screening from the beginning; so aside from the comfort of dealing with the same person all these years, there is the most important fact of all;  customer satisfaction. Benton knows the business like the back of his hand; and that is what we need in our fast paced industry of staffing. He is the all-time BEST!  MY employer, Leslie, believes in the notion that great service deserves to be rewarded, so we are here for the duration.We get immediate and personalized attention for any and all concerns we need addressed, and in the staffing industry, this is vital."

Active ScreeningCayce R. Education Industry

"My experience working with Active Screening for our background check process has been very positive.  The reports are almost always completed in a very timely fashion. The information reported appears to be very thorough and accurate.  On the rare occasions that we have questions or problems, the customer service team is always very quick to respond and resolve the issue.  Overall, I am very pleased with the service I receive from Active Screening."

Active ScreeningCraig H. Staffing Industry

"Your customer service is excellent.  The turn around time on background checks is quite fast.  Excellent work.  I haven't had a single problem."

Active ScreeningJackie C. Education Industry

"I wanted to thank you and your staff for being so patient and working so diligently with the Human Resources staff during our recent endeavor to process all of our work study students through background screenings.  We have never had to process so many requests within such a short period of time before, but thanks to you and your staff we made it. Again thank you, we made a good choice in selecting Active Screening."

Active ScreeningLindsey W.  Financial Industry

"I wanted to share my appreciation for your wonderful service...switching background screening companies could have been a stressful task, but your company made the transition seamless. Your website was extremely easy to navigate and the turn around time has been great. I appreciate when information is missing or entered incorrectly during ordering, your company notifies me right away to ensure that my error does not hold the reports results, causing us a delay in hiring an individual...Active Screening has been great to us and I would definitely refer them to others."

Active ScreeningTerry S. Property Management

"Working with Active Screening over the last year and half has been a wonderful experience. They deliver fast and informative results at the best price. Their level of professionalism and the speed they respond to our issues is a benefit that any company can value from. I would highly recommend using Active Screening and their amazing team."

Active ScreeningYulesis D.  Staffing Industry

“Interactive Response Technologies (IRT) has more than 2,000 employees at multiple locations across the United States. IRT has been using Active Screening to conduct criminal background checks since 2006. During this time, Active Screening has consistently returned accurate reports, usually with less than 48 hours turnaround. If there are any problems or inconsistencies with the reports, their staff has called to notify us so that we can attempt to rectify the situation. The staff at Active Screening is always courteous and congenial over the phone. In our opinion, Active Screening is outstanding.”

Active ScreeningAndy N. Software Provider

 "Active Screening has helped us screen our applicants in record time for more than two years.... we are very impressed with the professionalism and speed with which their service team responds to our questions. They understand our needs and are a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend them."

Active ScreeningCassie J. Staffing Industry

"The Active Screening team is very informative; they provided a complete consultation on all the services, so I understood what I needed, and saved me hours and hours of my time learning the various services. Their reputation, as being on the cutting edge of employment screening best practices, certainly held true in this instance. The expertise they brought to the table was invaluable to our understanding of our applicants backgrounds. I highly recommend Active Screening to anyone with the task of screening large numbers of applicants and needing reliable customer support."

Active Screening

With over 20 years of law enforcement experience I can attest to the fact that the strongest predictor of future criminal behavior is a person’s criminal history. As the manager of campus safety at my church, I depend on Active Screening to provide a thorough assessment of every criminal history background check we request. For more than 3 years, Active Screening has been faithful to this task with timely, accurate and reliable service.

Active Screening

We have benefited from knowing that we are not exposing the communities we work with or ourselves to unnecessary risk. We continue to have a perfect record in that we have never had a serious incident with a trip participant causing harm or acting inappropriately with any community member or fellow team member- thank goodness!

Active Screening

I would highly recommend any association or organization who conducts background checks to use Active Screening. In addition to my involvement with WAHA, I am an officer in a corporation with over 500 employees who provide treatment, mental health, and correctional services for children and adolescents. Our company is mandated by law to do comprehensive background searches and I can say with the utmost sincerity that Active Screening product rivals that of any government or other private sector process.

Active Screening

We have used Active Screening and their solution VERITY to screen all our coaches and volunteers working with youth. The online system gives us an easy and cost-effective solution to collecting forms and payments from our applicants...and we simply login to view the results of who passed or failed. It's so easy....thank you Active Screening.