Question of the day: Have you ever caught a candidate lying on their resume?

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In follow up to today's RBC Daily:

How far would you go to land a new job in this competitive market? Would you embellish the truth? That’s what Yale football coach Tom Williams did. This local story gained national attention when the Yale coach resigned yesterday after an investigation found several inconsistencies in his resume. Chief among them were that he was a candidate for a Rhodes Scholarship, attended NYU at Stony Brook (an institution that doesn’t exist) and that he was a member of the practice squad for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. Obviously Yale’s due diligence process leaves something to be desired but it still doesn’t justify the misinformation in Williams’ resume. Putting this story aside, is this behavior more common than we think?

Question of the day: Have you ever caught a candidate lying on their resume?


And if so- what did you do about it?

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I find inconsistencies in dates all the time.  And because I am a single industry recruiter (advertising), I see people changing places they have worked.  Even candidates I have placed tend to lie about everything from length of employment to salary.  I once placed a candidate and nine months later she decided to move.  She told me her salary was $10,000 more than what I had placed her for and confirmed that she had not gotten a raise. She insisted she wasn't exaggerating.

But my favorite story is when another recruiter, I will call her Jane, called me to ask me what to do about an offer that was withdrawn by a company when they found out that her candidate did not go to the University of Pennsylvania nor did he get an MBA from the Wharton.  She told me that the candidate had told her that another recruiter had had him do that years before because he did not have an MBA and because his bachelor's degree from Rutgers was not impressive enough.  Of course I told her that there was nothing she could do and that the candidate and the recruiter should both be shot.  Coincidentally, about three months later I met the candidate.  We were talking about bad recruiter experiences and he told me about SONY finding out that he did not have either the degree or college that was then on his resume.  He also told me the recruiter was Jane.  Yiikes!

All the time! Most common lying about their education.

This is kind of strange that it revoles around football, but I was hiring for a corporate position and someone applied with very little experience in the field we needed. He stated he graduated from a local university, but he only attened it, not graduated. But the kicker is, he claimed he played on the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, and some other 3rd team...ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!!!! Seriously, I wanted to meet him just to see what kind of an idiot he really is.

 

I have confirmed several incidences of lying about degrees obtained. The sad thing is, in some cases, they don't even need the degree. I have rescinded job offers. In the case of people I have worked with in the past, when I come across their resumes, I find so much exageration about their responsibilities and accomplishments. It makes me wonder about the resumes of the people I DON'T know.....

Inconsistencies, embellishments, lies - aren't they really all the same?  As an agency recruiter working in the same speciality niche for more than 7 years, I often see resumes of the same people over and over again.  With each iteration comes a new set of responsibilities, different time periods for each employer, different employers altogether, newly achieved degrees (in the past) - you name it.

I usually challenge people on these inconsistencies (ie. your resume from 2007 said "that" and now your new resume says "this".  Which is correct?).  The result in most cases is clearly embarassment for having been caught, excuses for having sent the wrong document, etc.  Nevertheless, they can be assured that I will not be helping them find their next position.  Maybe that refusal will lead them to change their ways, maybe not, I don't usually bother to follow-up.

It's amazing to me that people who elect to fabricate information on their resumes do not ever consider the consequences of being "found out".  With the background checking policies in place with most reputable employers today (obviously Yale needs to reconsider theirs), being caught is simply a matter of time....and will likely cost them their job when it happens. 

I don’t get it. I caught six Sr. Software Engineers lying about their education and I gave them three chances to get out-yet  they did not come forward. Needless to say we did not hire them.

About once a week if you include the lie of ommission of jobs.  Just had a candidate i placed four years ago contact me through LInked in.  She has moved twice and looking again.  She left off the job i placed her on in her profile.  I asked her why as she was laid off due to closing of the department and has great references from there.  Her response, "I'm new to this linkedin thing and having trouble getting my profile right.  Uh, she is a highly accomplished IT project manager.

 

The worst i ever had was a medical sales rep.  Got by me, got by the hiring manager, got an offer and a start date but kept saying that he had sent in the authorization for background check but nobody got it. Because i can track a knat across a steel ball at midnight i had a hunch.  Went to the department of corrections web site in his state.  There he was in stripes with a number.  Four counts of fraud, four years in the pen.  Further sleuthing revealed that he was in fact working as a recruiter for a national firm that recruites nurses.  Let him sit until he sent an email that he had not received his travel confirmations to report for work but was pleased with the hiring bonus he was to receive the day he started.  I sent him back his picture and a copy of his blurb on his college website that he was currently a recruiter with blah, blah.  My note said.  "Unfortunately the job you list as current employment on your resume with a national pharma does not seem to be accurate as the address on your resume is also the address of blah, blah recruiting firm, the one you indicate on your college website you currently work for as of last month.  It seems the "real John Doe" did not stand up.  You will not be receiving travel confirmation and i hope you have not spent your hiring bonus .  You really need to get a new picture taken if you are going to do this again.

The most common problem is either lying about either their college degree or various certifications that they claim to have but when pressed for physical evidence either don't produce it or I never hear from them again. My worst example happened 4 years ago when a candidate we recruited, who of course had exceptional credentials, was balking at sending us references. We did some due diligence and found that he had taken his career information from the resume off one of the job boards and was a total fabrication. He not only was not skilled in anything he claimed, he even arranged for friends to act as references from past employers.

If you have been a recruiter for any length of time your sixth sense or intuition should always be on. If it feels wrong, your best to check the facts. It is your reputation on the line, not the candidate perpetuating the scam.

"Catch Me If you Can "was probably really written by recruiters.  I've had docs who weren't and have been totally amazed that they thought they could get by the credentialing process.

Yea John- I check everyone now as they are going into offer stage.  There is a clearing house that covers most colleges. 

http://www.studentclearinghouse.org/

I think it's $6

Money well spent.  

John Kreiss said:

Yes Sir!!! I've had people lie about having degrees.  Not too smart in the Internet age.  This type of stuff can be verified in minutes.  

Such a shame. Makes people suspicious of honest people. 

Usually skill set is what I catch candidates on.  I work in IT recruiting, so you can imagine that a lot of the programming candidates have every language they have ever touched on their resume...even if it was 20 years ago.  I had a guy put ASP.NET on his resume, so I called him and brought him in for an interview.  What he didn't know was that I am a developer myself, so I through him up on the white board and start writing code.  He had no idea what to do and couldn't write a single line.

Mainly exaggeration is what I come across.  Not really flat out lying...at least I haven't seen it yet.

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