(Which Is Why You Shouldn’t Believe Everything You Read)
By Michael Cormier
“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising” – Mark Twain
When Mr. Twain gave us that bit of wisdom, he could have been talking about the job interview process. More to the point of this article, he could have been talking about resumes and job applications.
Every graduate entering the career world is taught to look his very best for prospective employers. We’ve all been through it: you shop for the best suit you can afford, polish your shoes, get a fresh haircut, even wash your car if you think the future boss might see it when you pull into the parking lot.
Just as important is how one’s resume or curriculum vitae looks. Is it printed in the right format, using the best font? Does it contain everything it needs to? Is the information organized such that it highlights what the employer wants to see most?
First impressions are important in life. How we present our outer selves to the world is how the world will perceive our inner selves, at least in the first instance. And therein lies the moral of Mr. Twain’s lament – as far as resumes are concerned, anyway.
You see, there are two ways to make a resume look good. First is how professional and well-organized it looks. The second is what it actually says. When applying for a highly sought-after position, it might be tempting to make what’s on that resume sound better than it really is. Thus a mundane accomplishment might be made to appear as a company milestone. An award handed out to just about every employee may be described as equivalent to the Nobel Prize. Okay, I exaggerate a little on that last one, but you get the idea.
If only such puffery was the sole worry. After all, an interviewer can expose exaggerations with skillful questioning. Yet that’s not always the case when it comes to outright fraud.
When a job candidate is willing to go so far as to actually lie about his education or job experience, smoking him out in the interview may prove difficult. This is because a candidate willing to lie on paper knows he will have to repeat that same lie – and maybe support it with more detailed lies – in person. The candidate simply hopes the employer will either be too lazy, or lack the manpower, to double-check everything on every resume.
And there can be a lot to check. Think about all that goes on a resume or cv that can make a difference in the company’s choice: education, training, work experience, awards, affiliations, licenses, publishing credits, volunteer work. Yes, even volunteer work. That summer spent building homes for the poor in Central America might suggest that this job candidate has exactly the kind of character the company is looking for. But if it were all a lie, what would THAT say about the candidate?
Of course, it gets more critical when the candidate is willing to lie about such crucial information as his education or employment history. Now we’re not only talking about character, we’re talking about basic competence. Not to mention big holes in the candidate’s history that leave big questions marks.
Checking everything – or even some of the most important information – on a resume can be a daunting task, requiring not only time and labor, but expertise in methods and legal ramifications. That’s why it’s best to leave it to an experienced professional. Hire a reputable, full-service background investigation firm like Hire Authority [www.hireauth.com or (508) 230-5901] and we’ll get you the results you need without the headaches.
The foregoing should not be construed as legal advice. Employers should always consult their own legal counsel for advice on labor and employment matters.