Liar Liar: Lying on a Resume

Posted by The Editors on May 5, 2011
Liar Liar: Lying on a Resume
Does your resume contain a few exaggerations? Then listen up because companies may be getting wise to your lies.

CEOs do it, MBAs do it, and those farther down the food chain do it because, well, the other guys do it. Do what exactly? Fiddle with their CV to pump up the good stuff and hide the bad. Companies and business schools, though, are getting wise to the lies. Ninety-six percent of businesses these days hire security companies to put potential pinstriped Pinocchios under the microscope.

What kinds of things do these outfits turn up? Here are four classics from the vault of HireRight, one of the top security companies in the U.S.

1. One prospective employee said he received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, but it couldn’t be verified. Once cornered, the applicant confessed that he didn’t actually “earn” a degree, but thought he deserved it because he attended all of his girlfriend’s classes for four years. When outed, he asked, “You aren’t going to tell the employer, are you?

2. A criminal check showed that an applicant had been arrested on three different charges. The candidate explained that there were extenuating circumstances. First, the drug charge wasn’t fair because the stuff didn’t belong to him but to the prostitute in his car. Second, the robbery charge wasn’t applicable because he stole a carton of cigarettes not for himself but for his needy buddy, who was going to sell the butts for rent money. We won’t go into the forgery rap.

3. A candidate sent in a 20-page-long resume for a top job at a Wall Street brokerage firm that was opening an office in Japan. His lengthy CV listed all of the deals he had been involved in. Further checks ascertained that he had indeed worked on those deals—as an interpreter.

4. An executive who had been in the U.S. legally for two years applied for a job with a multinational company. Even though his employment record was free of lapses that might indicate a jail sentence, further digging revealed that he had been convicted of murder. Turns out, he had hired someone to serve his prison term in proxy—a legal practice in his native country. He’s now facing deportation.

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