From a head college football coach at Notre Dame to a CEO of Yahoo, the list of high-placed employees caught falsifying their resumes is long and distinguished.
Last month the Providence Public School Department became the latest organization entangled in a credentials controversy when an administrator was found to have purchased her bachelor’s degree from a website instead of an accredited college.
And the city’s schools will surely not be the last to be victimized by resume fraud in Rhode Island or beyond. As old as the practice of stretching one’s experience is, human resources professionals say the falsehoods are only accelerating with the rise of online commerce.
A 2012 study from the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation, which surveyed 369 job seekers and 272 recruiters, concluded that resume fraud “is a growing problem for organizations.”
The report found that those who had embellished or were otherwise dishonest when applying for a job were more likely to do so again or mislead about something else that could come back to hurt their employer.
“I have had it happen to me,” said Cindy Butler, president of Butler & Associates Human Resources Consulting in Jamestown and director of government affairs for the Rhode Island chapter of SHRM, about job applicants falsifying their credentials.
“It is becoming more challenging to verify because employers are skeptical about giving references. They don’t want to say something that could eventually come back on them if the employee is terminated.”
In many cases, companies will only confirm whether an individual applying for another job worked for them, plus the start and end dates, with little about how they performed or what their role was.