Lying or fudging the facts on a resume seems to be something that more than half of employees in the world are willing to do. Whether it’s embellishing skills, or even lying about your hobbies and interests, it seems to be occurring frequently in the market. You wouldn’t believe how many high profile personnel have lied on their resume and, for a while, escaped notice.
The common theme I have found in reading about these high profile CEO’s and company representatives who have been fired or resigned from their jobs, is that most of the lies are around education and academic records. Often, the lie is told at the start of their career, and from there on it, it has become too hard to remove or rectify. In some cases, the individual is found out through suspicion or investigation and in some cases, admitting the truth to another colleague results in discovery.
There have been some fairly extreme and high profile cases, over the past few years and a few serve to highlight the negative impact resume lies can have on the reputation of an organisation as a whole. In 2001, Kenneth Lonchar from Veritas Group won CFO Magazine’s Excellence Award for Managing External Stakeholders, but the next year it emerged that he had lied about his MBA from Stanford and never even earned his degree from Arizona State University. Shortly after the scandal surfaced Merrill Lynch downgraded the company’s credit rating and their shares dropped by 20%.
In 2003 it emerged that Laura Callahan from the Department of Homeland Security had purchased her computer science doctorate from an unaccredited diploma site, along with two other degrees. The revelation resulted in the US Government conducting a close review of its employees’ credentials. A review that unearthed over 500 more phony diplomas.
Both examples highlight the importance of effective screening practices on the part of organisations, regardless of the experience level of the employee. It should also be stressed that resume fraud, is a fraud and can carry penalties such as fines of imprisonment if detected. Remaining truthful but investing the time to present yourself in the best possible light to an employer, is a much better way to go.