Resume Integrity

The Internet press is abuzz this week over Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson’s alleged resume blunder. According to reports, Thompson’s background incorrectly stated that he had a Computer Science degree from Stonehill College when his degree was actually in accounting.

We will leave debating the drama up to others, but the key thing this news highlights, especially in the digital age – misleading info on a resume can and probably will come back to haunt you. You may never be CEO of a major tech company, but if the thought ever crossed your mind to include a certification you didn’t earn or a degree you don’t hold on your resume, let this be a wake-up call.

Recruiters and hiring managers are pretty sharp when it comes to ferreting out bragging on a resume – were you really “the one” responsible for that key project, or was a whole team? A little gray is OK, most people feel uncomfortable tooting their own horns and tend to overdo it – but outright misleading is a whole other ballgame.

So this week I’d love to hear your stories. Did your company ever hire someone and pull an offer? Have you seen anyone outright lie on a resume? And most importantly, would you ever hire someone who has a background that seems not up to snuff? Let me know in the comments below.

23 Responses to “Resume Integrity”

  1. Proud Paulbot

    The lesson I have learned is that, if you are in executive management, you can lie all you want, about whatever you want, and nothing will ever happen to you. Unlike what happened to this woman…who never lied to anyone:,0,2112171.story

    This is the difference between being at the bottom rung of the economic ladder and being at the top. Resume integrity? You’ve got to be kidding. Integrity doesn’t exist anymore. We all have to grab money by any means necessary. People with integrity will be run over by people willing to do anything to make an extra buck.

    • YellowCowardice

      That’s is unfortunate for the Wells-Fargo woman, but likely she was hired through one of the predecessors of present WF (Norwest) and now with increased focus on compliance someone had to keep their job.

  2. davidlowe

    “People with integrity will be run over by people willing to do anything to make an extra buck.”

    True for some occasions, but hopefully people who practice integrity and character can at least look at themselves in the mirrors and know they have done their part for themselves and for the humanity.

    • Proud Paulbot

      If you’re homeless, you won’t want to look at yourself in a mirror; seeing yourself like that will make you go insane. Then again, life on the streets induces insanity.

      You cannot make money off of integrity and character. You have to be willing to ensure your survival by any means necessary. Just as predator animals compete for scarce prey, humans compete for scarce monetary resources. We are not pack animals who work together; we are lone hunters who have to look out for ourselves.

    • Cicuta

      What you say is 100% true and I have experienced it several times. The good guys end up last! However, I will never give up integrity and ethics and the back stabbers can take a hike.

  3. Well known companies are laying off productive, efficient and well qualified employees by twisting the truth, giving bad reviews for putting them in low performer list and lying about facts in their performance reviews. This is happening especially when the older employee is a female and/or non white. Top management of those so called star companies knows about it but obviously is supporting it. Where is the intregrity in America? In work place partial treatment and discrimination is a name of the game now.

    • Cicuta

      It has always been a fact that technical people with university degrees has always been the driving force in any economy, they create jobs! However, non-technical people such as many managers and HR people are the wolves. Talking about technical people being screwed I recall when I was working for Raytheon Co, in Mass back in the early 90s; the economy was as bad as now and Russia just collapsed, the company directors instructed the managers, all engineers, to ask the employees to sign a blank performance review, done yearly, so they would give the lowest salary increase, top being 3%. When my turn came up I told the manager, a nice guy, that I would not sign a blank check…all managers try to convince me to sign it but I told them to take a hike…guess what? I was laid off. Those are the practices used by some companies and it is pure grid and lack of integrity but again…all of that is gone and reason why we are on the slide.

      • Yes, and none of you are willing to lift a finger to DO SOMETHING about it. I am one of the few elders who has come forward with a specific plan for solving the problem. In 10 days, I am going to be tried on trumped up charges, fortified with police reports stuffed with lies, and I will probably be imprisoned. Don’t think that this kind of thing can happen in the good ol’ USA? Take a look at IDEAFARM.COM. Yes, this is a plug for my web site. I need people to study what I have put up there, discuss it with each other, and then spread the word. Watch the video and audio of the arrest that I made that got me into this all out fist fight with corrupt local government.

        I am doing something. My ass is in the sling because I am taking a stand. Are you going whine about how the world has gone to Hell? Or are you going to do something? Ten days. That’s all I have before I am put into prison, unable to communicate with you and organize you.

        Read it. Study it. Discuss it. Spread the word. Then act. DO SOMETHING.

    • Discrimination on any characteristic that is correlated with the value of the seller (worker) to the buyer (employer) is always going to happen, and that is a good thing, from an overall (“we”) perspective. Age and gender are highly correlated with the value of a technical worker. You are like ballet dancers. If the government legislates that ballet production companies cannot discriminate on age and must hire 60 year old applicants, the results will be disappointing.

      I am purposely writing in a provocative way in the hope of shocking some of you into realizing how clueless you are so that, at least some of you, will react constructively by admitting to yourself that I might be right and that you, personally, should probably do something.

      I was a technical worker for 20 years. When I realized what that occupation was doing to me, I dropped out and travelled the United States as a construction laborer for eight years. Some of you need to do something radical like that. If you do, the experience will give you the clue that you need to pierce through the charade that you’ve always believed is your reality.

  4. Steve

    IMO, unemployment would be under 6% if it wasnt for present hiring practices and overpaid HR directors with their inane methods of screening candidates. The word ‘integrity’ really doesnt even belong in such a broken system.

    • You are confusing cause with effect. It is the lack of integrity that makes it such an expensive crap shoot to hire anyone, which forces hiring companies to spend lots of money on the complicated, expensive, and dysfunctional gatekeepers. It is also the lack of integrity that makes the gatekeeper’s job impossible.

    • Steve I agree with you, although I don’t think overall employment figures would be affected. Personally I think there should be staff reductions in HR which I believe to be a huge waste of company resources.

      • Q: If a $20 bill drops down to a well traveled sidewalk, will it still be there after five minutes?

        A: No.

        Two rules for understanding your world:

        Rule #1: What is visible is always a charade. To pierce the charade and see the reality, look at how the money flows.

        Rule #2: There exist no systematic unexploited profit opportunities. Individual economic agents can spend money stupidly for a while. But this can never become a pattern because competition eliminates people who repeatedly do it.

        Any theory of why HR is done the way that it is done today simply must be consistent with Rule #2. Theories that imply that stockholders are idiots about the way that they spend their precious money are extremely implausible.

        Technical people who have never studied economics are sitting ducks in a hostile environment that they do not comprehend.

    • Amen to that. I know Windows (All of em), Java, C++, Ruby on Rails (kinda doesn’t count does it?) and have worked on networks for over 20 years. I recently received my Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering only to not be employed for 3 years now. From IT Admin to IT tech, from entry-level engineering to Geek Squad to Janitor. No one will hire me. Why? The last interview I actually got feedback:,”I’m not solid enough in the current technologies to be a temp computer set up tech. That’s what I get for being a stay at home dad (unemployed) for a couple of years. I’m doomed to never work in tech again because I don’t fit the 20 year old Dew drinking cookie cutter drone they require. Thanks HR thank you and die.

      • There is some truth to each of the whines that have been posted here. The marketplace is broken. But the larger, more important truth is that the vast majority of those who cannot compete today place the blame on someone else.

        Children place blame. Men work together to fix the problem. I have a plan. If you haven’t contacted me yet, what are you waiting for?

  5. “Bad money drives out good”.

    This is what has broken contemporary urban society, worldwide: Selfishness. Doing what is expedient rather than what is right.

    There is only one way to fix the problem. Unselfish people must withdraw into community within the larger society. Let the selfish people feed on each other.

    Technical people are particularly vulnerable as sheep in a wilderness filled with wolves. Technology requires so much intellectual engagement that its devotees are invariably clueless about the approaching wolf until it is too late.

  6. Cicuta

    As far as resumes is concerned, always back it up with a Curriculum Vitae (CV) with all degrees, diplomas, certifications, etc. and when interviewed just handle it to the interviewer, not HR people as they don’t know left from right, but to the hiring manager. Also bypass HR if possible.

  7. Q&A

    So what would you do if you knew someone doing this?

    ..mind your own business? Let Karma take it’s own course.

    ..pass on the accountability of info to someone else? Whistleblower.

  8. A story about someone lying about their qualifications eh? Sure. I worked for a couple of temp agencies … in New York one year after 9/11 to help migrate networks back to downtown Manhattan. One particular job involved a major law office. Our job was to update the moved machines in a very specific way to ensure connectivity. Any deviation from the instructions would fail to connect and you would have to start all over. So I’m working on 4 machines at a time because I’m cool like that. A younger Asian gentleman shows up and starts talking to me like he’s a manager, but I sensed he wasn’t because he was bragging to much about his certifications and flashed me a forged MCSE card (Must Consult Somebody Else). He started screwing with one of my machines and it froze up during the connection phase. I told him to go away or I would physically throw him through a window. We were on the 20th floor.

    I found out from others that he was doing this to everyone and chatting up the managers saying how he was doing 20 machines at a time. I and two others told management about it and they blew us off. Next week only the “best performers” were supposed to do similar work in their Jersey office. Instead, they hired everyone from Manhattan, including that guy. Yes, I can find these things out because our “managers” are about as technical as a slug.

    The Moral: Lie through your teeth and be an ass-kiss if you want to be employed. Otherwise, try living off integrity for awhile, because people don’t care what you know, how hard you have worked or how good you are. They only want sheeple they can control, who work for cheap and they get along with (sort of). Welcome to the Walmartification of the tech industry.

    • Marc, you (and some others here) put your finger right on it. What you are seeing is that selfishness ruins the game for everyone. Unselfish people, i.e. normal, morally healthy people, must separate themselves from selfish people. Today’s work environments are overrun by selfish people. The only winning strategy for unselfish people is to “drop out”, to separate themselves from the selfish people. Don’t work for them. Don’t work with them. Don’t marry them. Don’t socialize with them. Don’t waste your time in any way. Get them out of your life. Let the selfish people feed on each other.

      You cannot do this alone. But we can do it together. I have a plan.