According to a recent survey, 52% of job candidates polled lied on their resume about having a college degree. Here are 3 brief horror stories: A new Director of Logistics and his family were actually loading the moving van provided by his new employer for relocation from California to North Carolina. The phone rang and it was the Human Resource Manager from his new company. The offer was being withdrawn. Through a routine degree verification check, the company learned the potential new employee did not have a degree. He was 3 hours short of graduating. Had the candidate been honest, the job was still his. It was an integrity issue. Five candidates for a high level software sales job were interviewing. After the face to face interviews, the candidates were offered a “grace period” to revise their application. The company was aware of a problem with one canddiate. The lead candidate changed his college degree information to “Did Not Graduate.” He was dropped from contention. A candidate for a Vice President of Logistics position for a multi-billion/multi national company was offered the job. However, the background check could not verify the degree as listed on the resume. The stunned candidate said he could fix the problem. After one week, he called and faxed over the degree verification information. Only two blank pieces of paper came out of the fax. He said, “I must have faxed the wrong side.” The offer was rescinded the night before his start date because of the integrity issue. The company would have hired him if he had been honest about not having a degree. Offers withdrawn because of “no degree” are not because the lack of a college degree was a “deal breaker.” The issue was that each of these high level managers misrepresented themselves on their resume and during the interview. As a search firm, we always encourage candidates to be upfront and candid about the information on the resume, including whether or not they have a college degree. Don’t try to hide it amongst several other educational courses you have taken. If you are hiring, ask the candidate directly. It’s amazing how many hiring managers “assumed” the candidate graduated. The most deceptive piece on a resume is: University of Any State, 1986-1990. Listing the years but not if they graduated. Common oversight. Most times, if the candidate has a solid background and the chemistry is strong with the organization, the company hires the person. Remember 70% of hiring is Chemistry. Degree isn’t the most important factor.
Brett Stevens is founder and President of The SearchLogix Group (http://www.searchlogixgroup.com).