Fabricating Qualifications

Executives Unlimited works with clients who often develop a “laundry list” of requirements and specific experience necessary in order to satisfy their job opening.  While in most cases, few people can check all of the boxes, a candidate might feel they could improve their chances of being considered by exaggerating or being dishonest about their qualifications.  Candidates will ultimately decide how they want to represent themselves.

However, it is important to acknowledge the problems that can arise when a person chooses to withhold or fabricate information in order to land a job.

One particular issue, recently in the news, is candidates who falsify degrees, claiming to have a degree when they have never attended college or did not complete the degree requirements.  In this day and age, it is hard to believe the naiveté of some job seekers; research has even found that up to 21% have listed a college degree on their resumes that they never earned!

While many degree discrepancies are discovered in the pre-screening process prior to hire, which can prevent a person’s employment, others will “sneak in” only to find their seemingly small “fib” can cause irreparable damage when discovered by the employer.  Take David Tovar as an example: Mr. Tovar had been working at Wal-Mart for eight years when he was selected for a promotion from Vice President to Senior Vice President. During the promotion process, it came to light that Mr. Tovar did not possess a Bachelor’s degree as he previously stated, an inconsistency that ultimately cost him the promotion and prompted him to leave the company. George O’Leary, former football coach at Notre Dame University, was fired in 2001 after five days on the job for falsely claiming a Master’s degree. Sandra Baldwin, former President of the United States Olympic Committee, resigned in 2002 after a reporter revealed she never earned the Doctoral degree she claimed on her resume.  As a result, these falsifications caused them to lose their jobs and negatively impacted their reputations.

A job seeker who is tempted to exaggerate accomplishments on his/her resume should remember that the short-term benefit of landing a job is not worth the possible long-term damage to career and credibility.

Executives Unlimited works closely with each client’s company and utilizes an extensive due diligence process in order to discern all they can about prospective candidates. Due diligence includes detailed discussions, written documentation, professional references, and background checks. If a candidate is not 100% honest, inaccuracies will most likely surface.

Bottom line, employers want the most qualified person for the job. It is understandable that a candidate who lacks a college degree/advanced degree might fear being overlooked.

However, many employers may forgive a lack of a degree if the candidate is able to prove demonstrated competency and success in the areas emphasized for the particular position.

Candidates should be willing to take a position that will allow them to show their worth and provide opportunity to grow within the organization. History demonstrates many successful and talented people achieved great success without completing college, such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Ralph Lauren, and Walt Disney, to name a few.

A person’s character is based on integrity, and the most desirable candidate operates with transparency.

At Executives Unlimited, we value honesty and take pride in our mission to place the right candidate in the right position. Let us know your thoughts and opinions! Contact us at customerservice@executivesunlimited.com