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Resume Liars Losing Jobs!

Lying is something just about everybody does once in a while. You tell a friend she doesn't look fat, when indeed she does. You claim you were working but instead you were enjoying a round of golf. There are all sorts of fibs, but lying, by any other name, is still lying. And America is fed up with lies. Enron, Martha Stewart, large corporations, CEOs; the public's disgust with liars continues to grow every time the headlines reveal someone's false claim.

HR Magazine reported that ADP Screening and Selection Services performed 2.6 million background checks and uncovered that 44 percent of applicants lied about their work histories, 41 percent lied about their education, and 23 percent falsified credentials or licenses. A survey of hiring managers discovered that 93% of those who caught a candidate in a lie did not hire that person. USA Today surveyed 7,000 executives and was shocked to learn that so many misrepresented themselves: 71% lied about the number of years in the job, 64% exaggerated accomplishments, 48% lied about compensation and 52% lied about their education or credentials.

Maybe it's because of the intensity of competition for jobs or because of the prevalence of questionable corporate ethics. People justify lying to themselves and excuse it by thinking others are doing it, it must be okay. Don't fool yourself. HR managers have this employee tactic on their radar. They realize this lie can come back to haunt them and wreck havoc in an organization, or even create a legal and financial nightmare for a company, so their guard is up.

HR managers react to suspicions or signs of lying

Most interviewers may think that lying can be detected in a person's mannerisms -- fidgeting, stuttering or avoiding eye contact -- but 99% of the time these gestures are simply symptoms of nervousness. Practiced liars often show no such signs of discomfort, but present themselves well. Many have incorporated lies into their resume from years ago and never corrected the mistruths.

Human resource managers are fighting back. There is a strong push to ask more situational questions such as "Describe a recent Power Point presentation you made." or "Give an example of a difficult employee you managed." They expect details and specifics. They check backgrounds, compare what you say to what references reveal, go to colleges to verify degrees, and some do credit checks.

Liar's biggest mistake

Take this seriously! When you lie, you risk losing the job you have worked so hard to get. Companies preserve the right to fire a person when they have completed a standard job application, and most of these applications state that supplying false information is grounds for termination. In a nation that worships the super successful, even those who have already succeeded may burnish their CV to climb yet higher. Since this is a legal document, always answer all questions on the application truthfully.

What can happen if you stretch the truth?

Pulitzer Prize winner ... Senator ... Congressman ... Washington Post reporter ... TV evangelist ... all of these embellished their credentials, and when they got caught their careers were publicly ruined.

Lying got some people ahead for a time, but there demise was humiliating, very public, and it really ended their careers. Employers have wised up and now, more than ever, look to weed out the liars. Save yourself the disgrace. DON'T do it!

- Robin Ryan

Copyright 2007 Robin Ryan. All rights reserved.

America's most popular career counselor, Robin Ryan, is the author of four bestselling books: 60 Seconds & You're Hired!, Winning Resum Winning Cover Letters, and What to Do with the Rest of Your Life. She's appeared on over a thousand TV & radio shows including Oprah, Dr. Phil, and has been published in most major newspapers and magazines including USA Today & the Wall Street journal. Contact her at 425.226.0414; email: