Did you know that according to a SHRM survey more than 53% of job applicants lie to some extent on their resumes?
We have seen a reported case of Wipro that had fired some employees for lying on their resumes. Police complaints had been filed against head hunting agencies helping them. Such incidents have also been reported in IBM. Does this fibbing only take place at the lower rungs? David Edmondson, CEO – Radio Shack, admitted to lying on his CV about his educational credentials. He was asked to step down by the board of directors.
So, lie on your resume at your own risk! Even a small fib could be the cause for an employer to show you the door, even months or years after you were hired.
Why do candidates lie? In today’s current scenario job markets are so fiercely competitive; it tempts candidates to fabricate their credentials. So, is it really a big deal, after all, if you misrepresent your experience, fabricate your job qualifications, exaggerate your education? Well, yes? Being an employee working at a background verification company, I can vouch for the fact that employers are getting tougher when it comes to cross-checking information. They want to be sure and ensure they are making the right decision.
Recently, a CareerBuilder survey reported on what job seekers tried to get away with most often:
• Embellished skill sets
• Embellished responsibilities
• Dates of employment
• Job titles
• Academic degrees
Let’s learn from others mistakes! Here are some examples of people who paid a heavy price.
Plan to lie about where and when you worked? Think again! These fibs are cause for an employer to show you the door; even months or years after you were hired. Tegan Acree, Director – Human Resources and Training for Nuance Communications, shared a story from a company where she previously worked. The organization hired a high-level executive who claimed on his resume he had worked on Wall Street. When the employee underperformed and his employer became suspicious, a few calls revealed he had forged all of his experience. In fact, he was working for three different companies at the same time. Needless to say, he was soon working for one company less.
Another category in this genre is the – ‘Lies of omission’. Lisa Rangel, Managing Director – Chameleon Resumes and a former recruiter, recalls a candidate for a position in the legal department of a media company who never completed the degree listed on her resume. When the candidate was confronted she retorted that she was never explicitly asked whether she earned the degree or not. I don’t need to mention further. Her fate is but obvious.
Lying about your degree can also come back to haunt you – even in the unlikely event that no one notices right away. A dean at MIT, yes the prestigious MIT, resigned her post after working there for 28 years when the university audited its files and learned she did not have degrees from the three schools listed on her initial resume. Candidates, please enhance your credentials – for real!
In case you have done any of the above or have come up with a new trick to enhance your resume. Don’t worry, there is still hope. Mentioned below are a few options on what to do, if your resume contains something other than the truth:
A. Get up and update your resume right away – Off course, there are no guarantees that you will get the job or even get shortlisted. But you could update your resume – erase the lies, update the truthful facts and tell the HR person that you noticed some typo errors on your resume and would like to resubmit an updated copy.
B. Come out in the open and tell the truth – Another option is to tell the hiring manager the truth, which will probably cost you your prospective employment. Nevertheless, at least you won’t be hired based on a lie and won’t have to be anxious about someone discovering the lie.
C. Withdraw your application – Another alternative is to withdraw your job application. You don’t have to give an explanation as to why. You can simply express thanks to the employer for the invitation and say you won’t be able to join them due to personal reasons. You have evidently lost your prospect of getting the job; however this is the safest option if you don’t want to give explanation or to have to deal with the consequences of lying.
Lying on your resume can come back to haunt you, sometimes even many years down the road. Don’t fall into that trap. Instead of lying, be tactful and market yourself creatively. So cheers to all those honest job seekers out there, you make the hiring world a better place to be in! For my friends who have lied and now regret, I have given you a few options to choose from. It’s never too late, to come back on the right track, it’s never too late to demonstrate integrity! Finally, for those who have lied on their resume and feel it’s worth taking the risk – God be with you, my friend!