Friday, February 15, 2013

Resumes: To Lie or Not to Lie – it’s not even a question you should ask!

Have you ever wondered why people lie on their resumes – Check Yahoo’s former CEO Scott Thompson?  How prevalent is it anyway?

1. Salary (27%).  Many candidates believe this is an easy lie to get away with. What happens when your potential new employer asks you to produce—and this is not an out-of-the-norm-request–a W2 or your last paystub as a contingency of employment? Wouldn’t it be hard to back out of that one, don’t you think?

2. Credentials (12%).  This lie has caught more candidates, especially high profile candidates, than almost any other falsification. As a result most employers have come to make verification a matter of course: I’m going to hire a background check verification company to confirm your facts, including education, criminal and employment history and other items. If you, as a potential applicant-turned candidate, can’t be trusted because of this “little lie,” how can I trust you when you have to confess to something BIG? As a smart employer, I’d rather not take the chance. Had Yahoo, and their recruitment firm, done their due diligence, the current fall out could have been avoided. Success means never putting your integrity to question.

3. Job performance (15%).  So you start to run down this slope assuming credit for everything from saving the company from bankruptcy to inventing the best new product that they ever took to market. I suggest you have both the facts to back up your claims and the references to support those statements. At Human Capital Advisors, when we complete reference checks for clients we always do a “one off.” Meaning we ask one other person besides those listed on your reference list, to check the facts against. If the facts stick and at the very least corroborate, you’re safe. If they don’t we’ll keep digging until we’re satisfied, including coming back to you for additional references who can confirm your statements.  If we can’t validate your claims, your candidacy will evaporate quicker than dew off the 18th green on a hot summer day in August.

4. Job responsibilities (19%).  About 1/5th of all job seekers claim that they played a larger role in some great achievement than they actually did or they held responsibilities that were actually those of a co-worker or even better–their supervisor. If a company is using the behavioral interviewing model, those claims will be quickly exposed. You see a lie is like the icing on a cake to an experienced interviewer; the really good stuff is underneath.  If we get suspicious during an interview, certain bells and whistles go off and when they do we put on our diving gear and go deep to discover what’s under the surface.  One of the most uncomfortable things you can do to an experienced and trained behavioral interviewer is lie.  To us you’ve just become game and we can’t wait to filet you.  It’s the only way to teach some people this is something that should never be done – ever.

5. Job skills (17%).  So you really did run the server farm and kept the billion-dollar division running during the last 72-hour blackout caused by some recent natural disaster? Rarely do we see the skills exaggerated to that extreme (and hey, to brag for a moment, one my sons HAS done this!), but if you haven’t done something that you say you’re an expert at, how quickly do you think we can clean your office out for you when we realize you can’t do the job we hired you to do? Yes, that’s right. We’ll escort you to the door and cut your last check. Be honest with your skillsets, it will make the new job easier on you and will immediately garner the trust of the people you work with.

The truth is that most people who lie on their resumes eventually get discovered and are either demoted, relegated to some other less important or irrelevant role, or the wisest course of action, terminated the way the Yahoo board chose to terminate Thompson.  Stick to the truth about your experience, abilities, desire to learn, and present those in the most positive lights possible. We don’t think that every candidate is perfect; great recruiters are looking for the most qualified individual to do a job, and assuredly, the most honest.

The statistics? Quoted from Yahoo!

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