Katriina Tahka
April 10, 2023
bad behaviour, HR for Growth

Lying on Resumes

We have recently seen the unravelling of lies made on CV’s by people in prominent positions, with the likes of Giuseppe Conte, the man nominated to be Italy’s next Prime Minister and even the former Labor MP, Barry Urban, who has recently resigned after similar lies had been exposed.

While we usually encounter smaller, less dramatic fibs on Resumes— such as stating that a person led a project on their own, as opposed to co-leading the project with another team member— it is less common to come across statements that didn’t happen at all, as in the case with Conte, who stated he studied Law at New York University, when in fact the university has no record of him studying there at all.

There are a few questions that come to mind when stories break about senior leaders and people in high positions in companies who are found to have fudged their credentials:

  1. What would possess someone to lie on such a large scale?
  2. How were they not found out during the interview process?
  3. How do we ensure our future employees Resumes are not made up? 


What would possess someone to lie on such a large scale?

Having a whatever it takes attitude is usually seen as a good quality to have. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If a potential employee wants a position badly enough, they may feel that lying to get there is a risk they are willing to take. Often, they are not thinking about the legal ramifications that they or the company could incur if they were to be found out. The TV show Suits displays this very situation perfectly, with Mike Ross pretending to be a lawyer to fulfil his dream career. And we all know how that illustrious career ended.

Someone who is willing to take a risk at this magnitude would also be ready to feed the employer anything they want to hear about the lie. They will almost always be prepared with what to say when queried about their qualifications. Sometimes being able to answer simple questions about their credentials is enough for the employer to believe them.

How were they not found out during the interview process?

There are a few ways that a potential employee can manipulate an employer into believing their lies.

Employers are generally trusting that a potential employee wouldn’t lie to such a high degree on their resume. They may also believe that someone who is well presented, amicable and willing to provide references wouldn’t be inclined to put a business in such a risky situation.

If the potential employee was great at their last job, then their reference would be singing their praise, which in turn reassures the employer and validates their resume.

Employers also tend to trust candidates who have held senior positions in the past, and rely on previous employers background checks which landed them in their previous positions.

How do we ensure our future employees Resumes are not made up?

At A Human Agency, we specialise in placing the right people in the right organisations. This means being able to determine if a candidate is who they say they are and is the right fit for your business.

We believe in rigorous background checks. If a position is senior and vital to the company (though we would argue EVERY role is vital to a company’s success), we believe it is important to cross check dates, and job details with previous employers, as well as checking academic institutions, making sure the qualifications listed have been attained.

With avenues such as LinkedIn, Employers are able to investigate candidate’s profiles and make sure dates and qualifications match, as well as seeing who their referees are through LinkedIn—as well all know that one candidate who lists their mate Steve as their ‘manager’.

AHA have many processes and procedures in place to ensure that the right people are in your business. If you have any HR needs, we would love to help.

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