Recently, a growing problem we’ve seen lately is resume misinformation. Scott Thompson, former CEO of Yahoo Inc., resigned after being discovered for having done this. Padding one’s resume has short-term and, in Thompson’s circumstance—as well as in many others, long-term ramifications. If a job seeker’s lies are discovered during the hiring process, then the job-seeker will not be hired. The lie may also tarnish the reputation the job-seeker permanently. However, if lies are discovered after the person is hired, then the results could be even worse. Not only does the employee face being fired without benefits or severance, the employee’s reputation may be completely ruined.
In this case, Thompson lied about having a computer science degree in addition to his accounting degree. Daniel Loeb, shareholder of hedge fund Third Point, discovered that the college Thompson attended did not offer degrees in computer science when Thompson was a student. While Thompson got away with his lie for years, it finally caught up with him—and cost him his severance package and reputation.
People often pad their resumes in an attempt to boost their chances of finding a job or securing an interview. Thompson’s lying reflects poorly on himself, as well as on Yahoo. Thompson destroyed his own credibility and has damaged Yahoo’s reputation. Yahoo is also now in the position of trying to find another CEO on short notice and under strange circumstances.
Berkhemer Clayton has observed that not only are people falsifying information on resumes, but they’re also misrepresenting their compensation in hopes of securing a higher offer. Unfortunately, job seekers don’t realize that professional search firms will verify all information about the candidate including degrees, compensation, and employment.
Thompson is not the first person to have lost a job over a lie on a resume. RadioShack Corp., Smith & Wesson, and Bausch & Lomb Inc. have also terminated upper-level execs over lies or omissions on their resumes. Brad Fredericks, the co-founder of ResumeDoctor.com explains that the primary reason applicants don’t get a job is because their resume was not specifically tailored to the position to which they were applying, not because they lacked credentials.
Instead of creating lies or embellishing a resume, a job seeker should spend time describing his or her career achievements to relate to what the employer needs.
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