When the Resume is Wrong

Resume puffery: Hiring managers have seen plenty of it. But what happens when it isn't puffery but outright fabrication? That's the question facing one board of a Southern Maryland county school district where the CIO is accused of falsifying both her educational credentials and employment history in order to land the job. Employment law attorney Mark Saudek, an associate with Hogan and Hartson, in Baltimore, offers some advice for managers when an employee's resume isn't worth the digital space it's e-mailed in.

1. Follow company policy

When a resume falsehood comes to light, "talk to someone who has dealt with this situation on a regular basis, HR for example," Saudek says. Most companies have a policy in place that makes lying on a resume or job application grounds for immediate dismissal. That policy is often incorporated as part of an employment application. Also be sure, advises the attorney, to review any employment agreement for termination clauses before taking any action.

2. Confirm the lies

"Everything on a resume is objectively verifiable," Saudek says. When you suspect an employee lied on his or her resume, contact the school or former employer. In some instances, you'll need a written liability release signed by the employee to give to the organization. If such a release wasn't part of the employment application, then prepare a simple one for the employee to sign, Saudek says.

3. Confront the employee

Handle the meeting behind closed doors with an HR representative or, at the very least, a supervisory manager from another department present. "Pull the person in, close the door, and tell that employee that 'we have a concern,'" Saudek says. Calmly detail the concern and wait for a response. If the employee denies the allegations, ask him or her to sign the information release. If he or she refuses to sign, "you have grounds for termination for that," Saudek says.

4. Keep the employee on board?

Good employees make mistakes. You may not want to fire the employee if he or she does good work and isn't a problem otherwise. If your company doesn't have zero-tolerance policy, you can probably find a way to keep the employee.

However, Saudek says, if you have previously fired someone solely for lying on a job application or resume and didn't cite any other reasons for termination, keeping that one employee on board can expose your company to claims of discrimination or wrongful firing by others.

Websites:

Careers Comparison: Job interview resourcesJob-Interview.net - www.job-interview.netWhat you'll find: Managers can find tips on conducting interviews. Applicants can find sample interview questions categorized by industry.

What you won't: You won't find intrusive advertising.

The essentials: This site has resources for both the manager conducting interviews and the candidate ready to tackle the toughest interviewer.

Argus Technical Service's interview page - www.argus-tech.com/intervie.htmWhat you'll find: Applicants can review interview tips, including some about handling difficult interview questions.

What you won't: Managers won't find content for them but might chuckle at the truth behind buzzwords such as "fast-paced company." (We don't have time to train you.)The essentials: This site contains good information for the candidate and will give a leg up to the manager uncomfortable with interviewing.

HR Advice.com - www.hradvice.com

What you'll find: You'll find free advice on a limited number of management issues. Registration is required for additional topics and to ask questions.

What you won't: You won't find an active, open forum for posing interview and management problems.

The essentials: This pay-for-answer site allows small businesses, start-ups, and other organizations without an HR department to pose workplace questions to HR pros.

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