Fog

Editor's Note: Honestly astounded by all the dishonesty

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014 5:30 a.m. CST

I came across a blog the other day that added a whole new dimension to the concept of resume padding.

I rolled my eyes a little at the claim that 80 percent of job seekers lie on their resumes. I realize that resume padding has been around forever, and I may be naive, four out of five resumes are inaccurate? That’s a pretty big number to swallow, given that the author didn’t cite any sources for it.

The part that made me choke on my coffee was the reference to “professional reference providers.”

Really? Has it come to this?

Apparently, it has. Meet CareerExcuse.com, a website that, for $50 a month, will pretend to be your past employer. They give you a number to provide as a reference, and when your prospective employer calls it, they find themselves connected with a real, live person posing as the HR department of your company of choice, ready to offer a glowing reference of your work.

But wait. There’s more.

Trashed your apartment, broke your lease, or never made rent on time? The site also provides fake landlord references to help you get a new place.

How can this be real?

Job hunting is not fun. The thought of losing out on an opportunity to someone less qualified because they falsified their resume is sickening.

Now, you may argue that really brazen lies – claiming to have skills you don’t have, for example – are bound to come back to bite the liar eventually. And that’s true. If you are hired based in part on a particular skill, at some point you’ll be asked to use it and the lie will likely be painfully obvious. But even if the liar then loses the job, that doesn’t help the honest person who got passed over.

It also doesn’t improve the boss’ situation much. Just like job hunting is no fun, neither is trying to find the right candidate to fill a position. There’s a sense of relief upon making a new hire, especially if you’ve been operating short-staffed for any length of time.

In addition to the anger and disillusionment of finding out the new hire is not all he or she is cracked up to be, once you fire them, you’re back to square one on filling the position.

I would have thought lying on a resume would be a risky proposition these days. In addition to routine background checks, it’s so easy to check into a person’s online footprint.

But then, I would have thought the same thing about academic cheating – it’s easy to check whether an essay is plagiarized, but selling plagiarized school work remains big business. Liars put so much time and effort and, now, money into avoiding getting caught. Wouldn’t it be easier to just not lie in the first place?

I understand frustration. I understand desperation. But really, lying is not OK, even if it seems like all the world says otherwise.

And, eventually, liars do get caught, and the consequences are rarely pretty. In some cases, they can even land you in legal hot water.

Wishing all of you success, and that you come by it honestly. Enjoy your MidWeek.

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