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5 Ways I’ve Been Fooled Into Hiring the Wrong Person

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Published March 19, 2013

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People lie throughout the traditional hiring process. Enter “Lying on” in Google and you’ll find “Lying on Resume” to be two of the top three hits.  We have said it before: 46% of resumes submitted by job applicants have some measure of false information. 70% of college students said they would lie on their resume if it landed them the job they wanted. There are resources available teaching them how to lie, but resumes aren’t the only place that offers uncertainty in the hiring process.

The Smartest Kid on the Block: 21% of people who lie on resume lie about their education. Remember Scott Thompson, Yahoo’s former CEO? His resume ‘error’ was claiming a computer science degree from Stonehill College. His real degree? Accounting. With 18% of students dropping out of college and university every year, you can expect to see more and more of the “I pretty much graduated so it counts” mentality.

A Plethora of Perfect Skills: The most common lies on resumes include falsified dates, inflated salaries and inaccurate job descriptions. HR departments are already so swamped with resumes, they rarely have time to follow-up. Some would say, “So what? He says he did a bit of marketing but he didn’t really. No big deal.” Consider this – 7% of people who extend dates on employment do so to hide serving jail time. University Career Centers, charged with helping students land jobs after college and in turn boost the school’s bragging rights of ‘placing students into jobs’ don’t really help employers. With workshops on how to write resumes and cover letters, menial tasks like, “Serve coffee” can quickly become “Manage hospitality service to a wide variety of patrons”.

The Best Reference That Never Was: 27% of people who lie will put a falsified reference. No, I don’t even mean their mom or best friend. I mean a person who either doesn’t exist or someone who they very well know will never be reached. And what about the persistent employer who won’t stop until he reaches the reference? The Internet recommends “neutralizing” a reference by coming to an “agreement” with a boss that doesn’t like you. That sounds like a great deal for this person’s former employer.

Acing the Interview: How to ace an interview returns 59,400,000 results in Google. That’s a whole lot of advice. Websites from Forbes to CNN to Monster list most common questions and the ‘perfect’ way to answer them. Interviewees can get the right answer for how to carry themselves, their tone and demeanor. When did interviewing become akin to a standardized test? Oh, and CNBC even provides a list of acceptable lies that they acknowledge employers never catch, such as “Where do you see yourself in 5 Years?”, “What is your Greatest Weakness” and “What are you salary requirements?”

Bullying the Boss: Unfortunately many people may associate landing a job with getting a sale. Sometimes, when hiring, an HR manager can really feel like they’re being asked to buy something. When a job applicant sees that over one hundred people have applied to a certain position, and a plethora of job-finding sites are telling them to follow-up, employers may get a slew of phone calls, emails, faxes and carrier pigeons following up about the position and if it’s been filled. Does this mean desperation or innovation? Follow-through or lack of self-awareness? Whatever the case, make sure you won’t be bullied into hiring someone just because they find a way to get into every email inbox you’ve got.

The ability to be fooled pops up all throughout the traditional hiring process. For employers, trust continues to be broken and confidence to be shattered with the inability to avoid bad employees.

What are ways that you have been fooled into hiring the wrong people?

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