Once in a while I jump on Quora or Reddit to answer questions that job seekers ask. This question caught my attention as I've heard this, and similar forms of this question, from the job seekers that I coach. I changed the question a bit from the original post. Q: When was a time you caught someone who lied on a resume or at a job interview?
A: I remember clearly several times when I caught someone in a lie during the selection process. In my experience, there are three areas where I see the most fibs. The number one area is education. The number two area is length of employment. And the number three is conviction record.
We always check education and often someone will list on their application form a certain degree. But when we check, it would come back that the person attended the school, but never earned a degree. When I ask the candidate, most often they are a few credits shy from earning a degree. In some cases it is such a bad decision to fib on education because we would’ve been fine if the person didn’t have a degree, but not fine that they lied about it. One hundred percent of the time when we come across an education discrepancy, we end the selection process or terminate the employee if they already started.
The second lie is the length of employment. Some candidates will list on their application forms that they were at a company much longer - months and months more versus a few weeks. I understand that if we go far back in employment mistakes happen. And when there are discrepancies, I ask the candidate and see their response. If it was a small error, say a few weeks, then it may pass. However, it if is a big error where the person changed the dates to hide or make it seem like they were continuously employed, then we may end the selection process.
The third lie is around conviction. Not that a conviction isn’t disclosed, it is that it isn’t checked at all on the disclosure form. That answer is left unmarked. Nine times out of ten when I see that answer unmarked, I wonder if perhaps the person didn’t mark it and thus can claim omission of a statement. I am very cautious and careful about the answer to this question and red flags are raised when I see it unmarked.
All of these three are a comparison of what is on the application form or the disclosure form used to conduct the background verification. It is not LinkedIn and not the resume. When you are completing an application form and disclosure form - written or online - the information must be one hundred percent accurate per your knowledge.
(Photo by Nik MacMillan)