Lying on Resumes

Post written by Valerie Freeman, CEO of Freeman+Leonard

Last week a reporter from the CW33 channel did a story about “lying on resumes”.  She interviewed a dentist who fired about 30 people who had good resumes but could not do the work.  Then she interviewed me about the prevalence of resume fraud and fudge and what employers can do about it.  So here’s my take on the issue:

I’ve heard statistics that throw out 40% as the percent of resumes that contain fabrications or exaggerations.  In my experience, I’d say that figure is probably true.  It’s more difficult these days to lie about degrees, certifications, felonies and misdemeanors, credit history, driving record, salary,  etc. because those items are more easily checked through background screens and other supporting documents.    What is more difficult is employment history, real reasons for leaving a job  and skills/knowledge  proficiencies.  A job hopper may choose to leave out some of their very short-term jobs; a bilingual person may not have enough proficiency in speaking a particular language, a social media expert may not be an expert at all.

Job seekers are getting wise to applicant screening systems which are looking for key words to screen out the mass of resumes submitted.  So job seekers are responding by trying to fit as many key words and phrases into their resumes to fit these very tight job descriptions that companies are now writing.  In the past few years, job seekers who are desperate for interviews, will wordsmith their resumes to try to fit into whatever job description possible.  They may have some of the skills and background required, but not all; therefore, they fudge on their resume to make it look like they have the whole package.

Companies should always perform due diligence on prospective employees – background screen for credentials and criminal activity, driving record, credit history.  If salary history is important, ask for a W-2.  Drug tests are increasingly becoming part of the hiring process.  Testing is the best means for discovering whether one can actually perform a job – and this includes having experts or people doing the job screen for proficiencies.  If a company has only one Network Administrator and no one else in the company has that skill, then find an expert and pay them to screen the candidate.  At Freeman+Leonard, we have a whole list of language proficiency experts that we use to vet candidates.  Check references and make your candidate give you the names and phone numbers of previous bosses so that they can be called.  The internet can sometimes find useful information about the candidate.  Your own network can provide useful connections to people who may have worked with this candidate.  It’s a smaller world out there than you can imagine.

As for job seekers, be as truthful as possible while making yourself look as good as possible.  We all know that a resume is supposed to make you look your best and resume preparers seek to help you stand out; but lies are  unacceptable.  When discovered, it calls into question everything else in your background — trust is destroyed and can’t be replaced.

Clip from CW33 news cast.


By: Valerie Freeman, CEO

1. Go to professional meetings where you are likely to know someone or where you are likely to find people in your same industry or share your same interests, i.e. college alumni meetings.

2. Go to events or meetings where the program is interesting to you – meeting people and enjoying the program is preferable.

3. Ask a friend to go with you to a meeting so you don’t have to carry the conversation.

4. As you converse with individuals, think of ways you can help them – givers get.

5. Follow up on people you meet with an invitation to LinkedIn or to coffee, lunch or a business/social event.

6. Start your own networking group by first asking friends and then adding to with their contacts.

7. Experiment with several events/meetings to see which ones might benefit you the most.

8. Be patient as it takes about 6 months for people to start recognizing you.

9. Realize that many of the people you meet are as uncomfortable as you – it’s a good conversation topic

10. Adjust your attitude – it’s not so much about being an introvert as it is about accepting the concept and practice, practice, practice.

The Dangers of Social Media

Using Social Media Responsibly

By: Sam Crume, Summer Intern at Freeman+Leonard. Sam is a Sophomore Business Major at Fordham University in New York and is from Dallas, TX.

Imagine if someone could read minds. Think about the consequences of your peers hearing your inner monologue. What if our deepest thoughts were public information? Maybe you’re someone who has to bite your tongue every time you see a particular co-worker or your boss. Maybe you are a college student looking for a job and a certain professor makes you squirm.  Maybe you had a rough night that you don’t want anyone to know about. Do you really want this information getting back to people you know? We live in a world of instant access to an infinite amount of information; however, your personal information doesn’t have to be among the masses of the internet. You don’t have to post inappropriate pictures or write offensive things, there is a choice to be responsible.

It seems today that everyone is using social media. According to Tom Webster of Edison Research, “51% of adults in the United States, ages 12 and up are using Facebook,” and Twitter has between 36 and 56 million active users. That’s a lot of people. Consider this; about one out of every two people have access to whatever someone posts on Facebook and about one out of every seven people have access to whatever is tweeted. Future employers, grandparents, parents, friends, and co-workers have access to whatever you do and say.

Think of social media as another way to build the brand that is you. What do you want a potential employer or recruiter to think you stand for? As a college student and intern, I know that every student is worried about finding a job after graduation. As a student, you want to have every edge you can possibly get. That being said, college is a time of change, uncertainty, independence, and yes, often stupidity. Just assume that everyone whom you know and will ever know will read what you post. Your future boss doesn’t want to find out that you made a racial slur over twitter, and Grandma doesn’t need to see the pictures of you and you’re buddies drunk at a party. You never want to forget that you added a colleague or superior and then made a rude remark about them. Think about the consequences of what information you are making public. In regards to finding a job, think of social media as another way to build the brand that is you. What do you want a potential employer or recruiter to think you stand for?

It is important to understand that you’re digital footprint can only grow. Once something is out there, it stays out there.  Imagine whatever you do on the internet as a permanent tattoo. The tattoo might be under your shirt, but with a little effort, it can be seen. You may have posted something years ago, and that picture, tweet, or status update is somewhere out there. Whether you’re applying for an internship over the summer, or running for political office, your words literally will echo for eternity.  Employers are now able to run background checks on individuals through social media sites. There is an entire industry arising to do background checks on social media sites. According to Jennifer Preston of the New York Times, “There is a year-old start-up, known as Social Intelligence, which scrapes the Internet for everything prospective employees may have said or done online in the past seven years.” According to Preston, Social Intelligence assembles a profile of everything you’ve done that meets the criteria of “racist remarks; references to drugs; sexually explicit photos, text messages or videos; flagrant displays of weapons or bombs and clearly identifiable violent activity.” You can’t clean it up. We must simply be responsible.

Social media sites can be an extremely useful tool when it comes to job searching. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn will get your name out there, and help build networks.

Here are some guidelines that I like to live by when using the internet.

  1. Don’t post a picture or reference any illegal activity.
  2. Don’t post offensive commentary regarding any racial, cultural, or religious community.
  3. Don’t insult people in a position of authority. An insult to your boss over the internet is still an insult, and cause to be reprimanded or even fired.
  4. Don’t share personal information that you don’t want everyone to know about.
  5. Most importantly, don’t write anything that you wouldn’t be willing to say to anyone. Imagine that your grandparents will read everything you ever post and see every picture.

If you’d like to read more, check out these great sources:

How to Lose a Job via Facebook in 140 Characters or Less

To Blog or Not to Blog – How Blogging and Social Networking Can Impact Your Job Search

Facebook Achieves Majority