Honesty is the best policy, but at the same time we are often tempted to fluff up our credentials to get that dream job, or just because of pure desperation. Lying on your resume is actually a very prevalent practice, but what if you get caught? Starting out a professional relationship with dishonesty can definitely be detrimental, but it’s even worse when the hiring manager is aware of the falsification of your credentials. Although I do not condone the practice, I know that most people will still do it, so here’s what you should do if you are caught lying on your resume.
1. Don’t do it
"There like Sherlock Holmes, but with references."
I think it should go without saying that the best way not to be caught lying by the hiring manager is not to lie in the first place. Keep in mind the person sitting across from you has extensive experience revealing falsehoods and more often than not can expose a manipulated resume with just one question. As Sun Tzu says in the Art of War: “Never underestimate your enemy” and lying definitely underestimates your adversary (the hiring manager).
If you really and truly want the job, but your credentials and qualifications are lacking, just make a case for yourself. First they will appreciate the honesty and secondly your enthusiasm for the position could counter-balance your professional inadequacies. Let the hiring manager know that even though you might be lacking the soft skills to fill the position, you have a propensity and the drive to learn anything that might help you.
2. If You’re Going to Lie, Make it Small
"Just a tiny little one like: "My last boss loved me!" actually that’s a big one...just don’t."
Making up fake jobs, fake dates and false titles are easily debunked and cross-referenced. If you are an incurable compulsive liar, and you must lie, make sure it’s small and relatively insignificant. Keep in mind that this is a double-edged sword, even small lies, told in desperation can trap you in a menial job, that will end up leaving you dissatisfied and disgruntled.
3. You Might Not Know You’re Doing It
"What have I done?!!!?!!!??"
According to this monster.com article, a frequent lie applicants tell pertains to job goals. It’s easy to fall into the “tell them what you think they want to hear” pitfall when interviewing. The hiring manager in the article says that if you want the position and just want to do that, be forthcoming, although many employees feel that having a stable job environment and set of responsibilities might be detrimental to them being hired, it’s not necessarily true.
Transversely, though, if you do lie and your employers expect you to rise through the ranks by taking on responsibilities and initiative, which was never your intention, the gap between what is expected of you and what you want will constantly grow. Eventually, it will result in discontent, dissatisfaction and maybe even termination.
4. The Lying CEOs
"Ashamed, blamed and fired. Was it worth it?"
Just to prove that no one is immune from being revealed as a resume-fluffer, there have been many CEOs that have been exposed as resume padders. Probably the most famous is Scott Thompson, one-time CEO of Internet giant Yahoo! After just four months of heading the company, he was forced to resign when it was revealed that he did not have a Computer Science Degree as he claimed. And he isn’t he only one either.
Is lying on your resume really worth it? Let us know in the comment section below!
See also: Biggest CV Mistakes