Even in good times, when competition for jobs is at a normal level, approximately 60% of all resumes contain factual inaccuracies of one sort or another. Roughly half of that total can be considered material misrepresentation, involving things such as credentials claimed, dates of employment, job title/responsibility, and income.
As the economy worsens and competition heats up for each available position, the temptation to “airbrush” ones cv increases. That is especially the case as job candidates are encouraged to customize their resume for each position sought. While it is perfectly permissible to emphasize different aspects of one’s talents and work history when applying for different positions, it is not okay to take liberties with the facts.
In the “old-school” analog world, much of this creative expression went undetected. If you were fortunate enough to get by the initial screening and reference checking, any misstatements on your resume usually remained buried in a filing cabinet somewhere in the bowels of HR. That is no longer the case in a digital world where employment records are readily available, and simply Googling someone or visiting their Facebook page can turn up all sorts of juicy stuff. Moreover, services provided by PeopleCheck and ADP Screening Services make it considerably easier for employers to verify the authenticity of a candidate’s claims.
It’s not just easier to check people out, employers have also adopted a “take no prisoners” approach to dealing with resume fraud. Just this afternoon, CNN did a piece on a Citibank employee who was “deselected” and relieved of her substantial signing bonus as a result of misstating her education credentials. It is generally not the kind of thing that one can easily redeem themselves from. Don’t go there.
A thought leader in the arena of leadership and employee engagement, Bill Catlette is a seminar leader, keynote speaker, and executive coach. He helps individuals and organizations improve business outcomes by having a focused, engaged, capably led workforce. For more information about Bill, his partner Richard Hadden, and their work, please visit their website at www.contentedcows.com