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5 Shady things people do when looking for a job

Close to 50 percent of people lie on their résumés to get good jobs. What else are people doing in order to find work?

While the thought of lying about work experience or education on my résumé has never even crossed my mind, for many, that’s what they feel is necessary in order to get the job. The most-common résumé lies, composed by Marquet International, include stretching work dates, inflating accomplishments and skills, enhancing job titles and exaggerating education background. Though some of these aren’t outright lies, it’s never a good idea to stretch the truth, either. This got us thinking. What other shady things are people doing when looking for a job?

1. Fill in gaps on a résumé

“As a recruitment agency, we receive updates to CVs over time. A few years ago, we had the CV of a contractor who had only worked about three years of a five-year period due to gaps between a lot of short contracts. About two years later, we received an updated CV from him but now all the gaps had disappeared, so it gave the impression that he had the full five years’ experience during that five-year period. We assumed that later gaps had also been glossed over. We replied to him saying that we could not help him due to this deceit.” – Bernard Morgan, Computer Recruiter

2. Completely fabricate a résumé

“In my previous company, we had a guy submit a résumé that was really impressive: great companies, perfect roles within each company. We brought him in for an interview, and something just didn’t feel right to his hiring manager, who was the person who interviewed him. He decided to check up on his references, but the following day, before he could start calling around, the guy submitted his résumé again… this time, completely different résumé! Apparently he hadn’t realized that our job listing was for the same thing he had just interviewed for, and applied a second time… again, with a brand new résumé that totally conflicted with his previous one. We checked up with some of the companies, and he had never worked at most of the places on his résumé… it was all a work of fiction!” – Anonymous

3. Get references to lie for you

Larry Stybel, co-founder of a career management development firm based in Boston, interviewed a VP candidate who gave him three people to speak with as part of reference checks. “We were seeking someone who really ‘listens’ to subordinates, customers and colleagues. And all three references spoke glowingly about how great he was as a listener. One even said that his greatest problem was not speaking up more to assert himself,” he states.

“None could give me specific stories to illustrate how he listens and is willing to change his mind based on what he hears. I then went to the next level of people… people who know him, whose names he had not given to me. And I found out that this person is a great talker but a terrible listener,” Larry says.

“He wasted my time, didn’t get the job and would have been quickly fired had he gotten the job,” he concludes.

Lesson learned: Take references with a grain of salt. Ask for specific stories.

4. Lie about your image — literally

“A friend of mine actually attached a photo-shopped portrait picture of himself that he included at the end of every résumé submission. He felt that while changing his image was a bit shady, with the chances of getting caught pretty high, he felt he could better his chances of getting a highly successful position within a company through this means of persuasion. With a market saturated with the unemployed, people will do whatever it takes to beat the odds.” – Andrew

5. Use a diploma mill

A nationwide pre-employment screening firm based in California, Employers Investigative Services, processes thousands of searches a day and deals with employment and education verifications. Some applicants will utilize “diploma mills.” These are false, for-profit companies that will sell you a diploma/degree and tell verification companies that you graduated. The company does its best to find the discrepancies and report them to its clients.

So, there you have it, five ways people are dishonest when looking for a job. Though the job market is tough right now, lying is never going to get you to where you want to be.

Tell us: Have you seen examples of this? Share in the comments below.

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