By Michael Cormier (posted by Cecilia Buckles, admin)
In the world of hiring, appearance is king.
Young women and men quickly learn that. They’re advised on how to dress for an interview, what to say, how to sit. Even how to shake hands: too hard is too aggressive; too soft means wimpy; firm and tight signifies confidence and sincerity.
The advice naturally begins with how to write a resume. There is no shortage of places to get advice on that, from books to videos to websites to paid resume coaches. But how can those on the hiring end know what they’re reading is really true and complete?
That’s where consulting a reputable background investigation firm like The Hire Authority (508- 230-5901; www.hireauth.com) comes in. By thoroughly verifying what’s on that resume, The Hire Authority can take away the doubt and flesh out the applicant for you.
These services are more vital than ever in today’s highly competitive hiring market.
It may or may not surprise you that some resume coaches insist that, depending on your circumstances, you should be a little less than honest on your resume. To be fair, most of these advisors mean well. They simply realize that out of hundreds of resumes the only way yours will get noticed is if you puff up the good stuff and try to leave out the bad.
Others are not so subtle. They encourage exaggeration and eschewing. This can be as mild as elevating one’s job title (e.g. a summer job mowing lawns for a landscaper turns into a landscape design internship). They’ll tell other applicants to gloss over a period of unemployment, or leave off a job from which the applicant was fired.
Only a shady few would tell an applicant to outright lie, but they’re out there. Usually, the applicant makes that decision on her own. She may add a fictional job, knowing it will get her over the top in the selection process. Or she may know that she’s eminently qualified for the job, except for the lack of one glaring requirement – a college degree.
The last example – lying about a college degree – famously embarrassed a major university a while back. MIT, the venerated institution where some of the greatest thinkers in the world come to study and research, discovered in 2007 that it had been duped for twenty-eight years by a member of its administrative staff. In 1979, Marilee Jones was hired by MIT after she’d listed college degrees she’d never held. By the time an anonymous tip finally exposed her, she had risen to become the dean of admissions.
Another famous example of credential fudging is the case of “Dr.” Laura Callahan. Callahan held the title of Deputy Chief Information Officer at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security during the early Bush administration.
It doesn’t take a PhD to figure out what an impressive – and sensitive – position that is! Yet in 2004 she was forced to leave Homeland Security after a congressional investigation concluded she had committed resume fraud. Apparently, she had bought her degrees from degree mills. All three of them: a bachelor’s, masters and even her PhD.
More recently, we were all dismayed to learn that Brian Williams, a man at the apex of the broadcast journalism industry, may have greatly exaggerated an event in Iraq now being called ‘Choppergate’. Other possible exaggerations about his journalistic exploits are being looked into, and so far it doesn’t look good.
Now, it bears mentioning that these three examples are famous not only for the level each individual attained in his/her respective profession, but the competence they must have exhibited in spite of their fudging the truth. It’s fair to say these people might not have risen as far as they did without having the ability and drive to do the job.
Why do people fudge their resumes? The reasons are numerous. The examples given above are only the tip of the iceberg. But they all come down to the same thing: desire to get a position for which the person perceives they might not have the right stuff, at least on paper. Or, in the case of the Brian Williams matter, possibly a desire to dramatize accomplishments that otherwise might seem mundane.
The problem becomes much greater when an individual hired for a sensitive position lies to conceal a serious lack of competence and/or lack of character. Although those stories don’t always reach the internet or news broadcasts, they are numerous.
We live in a world where anything seems possible. Computers can bring dinosaurs and space travel to life. In the two-dimensional world of CGI and Photoshop, we can even transform ourselves into something we are physically not, but ache to be. Why wouldn’t the temptation to create a more positive image of ourselves be just as strong when it comes to our resume?
That’s why background investigations are so important. Verification of an applicant’s education and employment history by a competent, reputable background investigation service like The Hire Authority goes a long way toward adding a third dimension to that resume.
Protect your company and its reputation by calling The Hire Authority at (508) 230-5901, or visiting their website at www.hireauth.com today.
The foregoing should not be construed as legal advice. Employers should always consult their own legal counsel for advice on labor and employment matters.