Don’t Let Your Quest for Success Lead You Into “Resume and/or Interview Fraud”

Don’t let your quest for success lead you Into “Resume and/or Interview Fraud”!!

The fall from grace not too long ago of former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson points out something recruiters have known since the resume was invented – a significant percentage of resumes are fraudulent – as was Thompson’s.

Scott Thompson

Scott Thompson

A person’s resume is one thing over which they have TOTAL control. Therefore, there are NO excuses for Scott Thompson’s resume claiming a degree in computer science – which he didn’t have. He lost his job after 130 days at Yahoo.

The very same is true of YOUR resume… it is your work product …you are 100% responsible for its content!

Resume fraud comes in two flavors:

  • Errors of omission – hiding gaps in your work history or otherwise not revealing information that is part of the big picture regarding your background and qualifications.
  • Errors of commission – claiming a non-existent degree, a job title you didn’t have or accomplishments that weren’t yours.

Two other examples of well-known professionals that should have known better:

George O'Leary

George O’Leary

George O’Leary and Ronnie Few. Who?? George O’Leary’s dream job was to be Notre Dame’s head football coach. And he was. For five days in 2001. He claimed to have a master’s degree and to have played college football for three years… but neither were true. Bye – bye George.


Ronnie Few

Ronnie Few was Washington, D.C. Fire Chief beginning in 2000 for 22 months….until it was discovered that he lied about his professional and educational achievements in his resume. Bye-bye Ronnie. The list goes on and on of professionals well up the ladder of success who lost their jobs and creditability over fraudulent resumes.

So – how do employers guard against hiring someone with a ponied up resume?

They verify, verify and verify. A strong reference check will verify every degree and every professional affiliation. Modern search engines and internet search capability can lead prospective employers to the truth in a number of ways.

They look for red flags. Employers look for things that don’t make sense. They look for inconsistencies in stories, experiences and anecdotes. For hires of any significance, multiple interviews by several interviewers is the norm. Interviewers will compare notes to see if things mesh or not. If it doesn’t smell right – they will keep digging. If it doesn’t add up… they just pass on your candidacy.

They will do a Google search on your name. They will search on your full name (e.g. – Robert Harris) and your nickname (e.g. – Bob Harris). They will also search social networking sites as well such as LinkedIn and Google+. The questions is – what will they find there that will not hurt you, but rather help you?

The title above includes “interview fraud”. What is that you ask? Simply put, it is you making incorrect and misleading statements in an interview. If it is on your resume, you will probably be asked about it… in which case you will make statements that at the least “puff” your credentials and at the worst are incorrect .These incorrect and misleading statements will hurt you just as much as a fraudulent resume will once they come to light… and come to light they will with diligent interviewers!

In summary, resume fraud is more common than you would think.. so make sure your resume and interview is 100% truthful!! Don’t follow in the footsteps of Scott, George and Ronnie!!

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