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Discovering an Employee Lied On Their Resume

27th Mar 2018
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Employees often use their resumes as their opportunity to present their best foot forward. In the best-case scenario, this may include some specific language that is designed to draw hiring manager’s attention or to stipulate to the employee's individual background and experiences. However, in certain situations these embellishments go beyond simply trying to make the employee look good.

These can involve direct lies and fraudulent allegations, be it regarding an award, an educational accomplishment, an accreditation or something else. A human resources manager or individual who figures out that these issues have occurred should consult with the manager immediately. An employee who lies on a resume goes far beyond the actual lie itself. It can also include concerns that, that employee may be engaged in other type of negative behavior like fraud or embezzlement.

A new hire who lied about their skills or their background should be taken seriously and these procedures should be outlined in a human resources manual to allow the relevant individuals to take action as soon as possible.

While in some cases a job seeker may simply be inflating their resume with skills they don’t have in order to get a position and appear more qualified, the deceit typically will not be discovered until after the candidate is already working. It is important for any manager or human resources professional to realize how to appropriately deal with this situation.

How to Respond Right Away with a Discovered Falsehood on a Resume

The first step in dealing with a new hire who lied about something on a resume is to confront the person directly. The meeting should be conducted in private and the person who is handling the meeting should be straight forward and polite. Any of the rest of the information on the resume should be cross-referenced at this point in time.

Solid evidence and reasoning should be presented in order to show that the employee has fabricated this information, but that employee should also be given an opportunity to explain.

An employer may not find out that a dishonest employee has lied until long after he or she was hired. Claiming to possess a special certification or a degree may help a new employee get higher compensation, extra benefits or even a higher role in the company.

However, if these qualifications originally claimed do not exist, yet the employee seems to be capable of doing the job and is very apologetic, the company may choose to keep them on board while lowering his rank or cutting his compensation. This allows the employee to remain employed, however, he or she is only being paid where their experience and their skills truly merit.

In other situations, a company may not feel comfortable at all continuing to employ someone who lied about their skills, background, or degrees on a resume. This is primarily because that same person could be lying about other things as well. Keeping a hire on your team who you cannot trust can be a frustrating burden. Furthermore, an unskilled employee or an untrustworthy employee could be a real danger to co-workers. If the human resources department decides that this is a particularly egregious offense, they are well within their rights to simply terminate the employee.

Studies have shown that an alarming number or employees have lied on their resumes and many employers said that if this was discovered, they would give new hires a second chance depending on the severity of the lie.

Before jumping to conclusions, it is important to set aside time to talk to the employee directly to get a clear sense of what is going on and to find the most appropriate course of action. Many organizations will benefit from having policies in place that allow a manager to fire an employee for lying on a resume.

If such a policy already exists in the human resources manual, upper management will likely support this decision. If the company doesn’t have a policy, however, there are still opportunities to justify letting the worker go.

One common justification is that this person may have no moral code; meaning that he or she is also likely to cheat, steal or perform any other immoral acts in order to benefit his or her individual career. A person who stops at nothing to get ahead may not think that forging sales numbers, pressuring clients or embezzling is wrong, if it gets an end result. The company may not want to have this type of liability on their hands and likely upper management will support the decision, if it can be shown that the deceit was intentional and may lead to future behavior.

Another common reason why it is beneficial to have a policy in place that allows the managers of the company to terminate an employee in this situation is that it can send the wrong message to others. If other employees find out that a person lied on his or her resume and that they were able to keep their job, it sends the wrong message. The company should not want employees to believe that it is okay to lie to clients, co-workers or management. You can make it clear to everyone in the organization the exact level of moral conduct and code you intend.

Have a Clear Process

Consistency is critical when figuring out how to deal with an employee who lied on his or her resume. The review of such information should always be based on evidence and it should be clear that there is a policy being followed every time this situation arises. Proper documentation can help to prevent retaliation, lawsuits and other allegations. Although there will always be some level of individual investigation when it’s suspected that an employee lied on a resume, a proper response should include all issues and should give the employee a chance to respond about the concerns first. Misunderstanding are possible, but cases of fraud should be taken seriously by the employer, too.


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