Montana Employers Monitor Applicant Lies on Resumes

The unemployment rate in Montana in August of this year was at a five year low of 5.3%, though this is significantly higher than its pre-recession rate of 3.1% in December of 2006. With unemployment rates like these, people begin to become desperate for jobs and more willing to resort to dishonest means in order to be hired. And often, these falsehoods are not caught until after the applicant has been hired and money has been spent on his or her training.

The following are a few time-tested strategies Montana companies can employ in order to make sure they don’t end up with one of those too-good-to-be-true candidates slipping into their employee pool.

  1. Trust your instincts – If the resume seems a little too perfect or their job qualifications a bit contrived, do a little more digging. Don’t offer the job until you can prove for certain all their credentials are legitimate. More signs of lying include when they claim to have attained an educational degree that doesn’t match their age or their references don’t reflect their purported background.
  2. Do a thorough background check – Don’t rely on your gut alone. Companies that provide background checks could also provide education verification and check out the references for you. This frees you up for other important matters and you can be certain the applicant has been vetted by a professional.
  3. Perform multiple interviews – In order to narrow your pool of potential candidates to the cream of the crop, conduct several interviews. The first might be a phone screening and the next with a number of key members of the company. Part of this process might include the completion of some simple tasks to evaluate their ability to complete assignments in a limited time to your satisfaction. Finally, the top performing applicants could meet with a member of the hiring team to do a final interview.
  4. Ask for extra references – If the first two references seem a little fishy or they don’t provide a complete picture of the candidate’s employment history, you are entirely within your rights to ask for additional references—either personal or professional. If they can’t come up with more, treat this as a red flag and study their background even more carefully.

Finding a job is tough in this economy, so it’s not surprising people will resort to illicit means to secure employment. It’s up to the hiring teams of Montana companies to make sure they are doing sufficient research on the background of each of their candidates before a position is offered.

High Profile Businessmen Accused of Credential Fabrication

Former convicts face a difficult situation once they re-enter the workforce. Many companies do not hire felons or their hiring practices depend on what type of crime the ex-con committed. In Ohio, there are a number of companies that do hire ex-cons, thus giving these people the opportunity to become productive members of society again. The following is a list of a few of these:

– Ace Hardware

– Allstate Insurance Companies

– Baskin-Robbins

– Best Western (Hospitality)

– Chicago Mercantile Exchange

– Coldwell Banker

Keep in mind, not all ex-cons will be honest about their criminal history on their job applications. They might omit certain crucial details or elements of their past because they think those details might disqualify them from a job. Thus, regardless of what an application says, employers should always run criminal history and background checks before extending a job to someone.

Lying on resumes and applications becoming common

In this economy, people are liable to lie about other things on their applications and resumes, too. And this doesn’t just happen in low-profile jobs. For instance, Ronald Zarrella, former CEO of Baush & Lomb, a pharmaceutical company, claimed to have a master’s in business administration from New York University. The truth was, he had enrolled there, but never received his degree. However, he remained in his job until 2008 when he resigned following a series of product recalls and lawsuits

Another similar scenario was that surrounding Michael Brown, former director of FEMA. He is the man blamed for the mishandling of Hurricane Katrina and in the resulting reviews and investigations, it turned out that despite his claim for having been in charge of the emergency services division for the city of Edmund, Oklahoma, Brown had simply been assistant to the city manager in an intern-like position. He was also never a professor at the University of Central Oklahoma, his claims to the contrary.

An especially devious resume falsifier was Adam Wheeler, who was expelled from Bowdoin College for plagiarism. He then attended Harvard University by way of a fictitious resume, and his work there was characterized by further plagiarized work. After being discovered and expelled, he went on to craft further false work and fictitious resumes in an attempt to attend Yale or Brown University. His plans were cut short, however, when he was arrested for larceny and identity fraud.

Background checks prevent embarrassment

Each of these circumstances could have been prevented if companies and institutions had been more diligent in their background searches and education verification. Luckily, informed companies can learn from these mistakes and institute policies to screen job applicants thoroughly before an offer of employment is made.

Washington Scholar Fired for Education History Falsification

It turns out it doesn’t matter how generally agreed upon your words are or how many people espouse your opinion; if you lie on your resume, you will still get fired. This is what happened to Elizabeth O’Bagy, a Washington scholar considered to be an expert on the war in Syria, who claimed to have earned a Ph.D. she didn’t really have.

O’Bagy’s credibility has gone out the window and all her work done during her tenure at the Institute for the Study of War is being scrutinized for accuracy and objectivity. The institute had hired her on as a senior analyst, prior to discovering her credential falsification. They issued this statement on their website following her termination: “The Institute for the Study of War has learned and confirmed that, contrary to her representations, M. Elizabeth O’Bagy does not in fact have a Ph.D. degree from Georgetown University. ISW has accordingly terminated Ms. O’Bagy’s employment, effective immediately.”

Georgetown denies O’Bagy’s claim of current enrollment

Politico spoke with O’Bagy who claimed she had completed her dissertation and defense and was just waiting for conferral of the degree. An interview with a spokesman from Georgetown, however, revealed that while she had earned an undergraduate and master’s degree from the university, she was not currently registered as a Ph.D. student.

Legislators cited O’Bagy’s work

Among her publications is a piece that appeared in August in The Wall Street Journal. It was an article a number of legislators used to “push for punishing the Assad regime for using chemical weapons,” according to For instance, Sen. John McCain of Arizona cited a statement in her article which said, “Contrary to many media accounts, the war in Syria is not being waged entirely, or even predominantly, by dangerous Islamists and al Qaeda die-hards.” Secretary of State John Kerry also ascribed to her words during congressional hearings.

However, following the publication of this op-ed piece, her involvement with the Syrian Emergency Task Force group came to light, calling into question her objectivity on the matter. She responded to the claim by saying she is an “independent contractor, and her contract fee comes through U.S. government contracts” and she is “not paid to advocate” U.S. involvement in Syria. She added that she had never tried to hide her affiliation with the group, though her Twitter account and ISW bio both omit that association.

Background checks detect credential falsification

Employers in New York who wish to prevent such an oversight from occurring on their watch would do well to invest in comprehensive background checks to ensure they really are hiring the people they think they are.

3 Essential Reasons for Employment Verification

Today’s job market is competitive and job applicants will do whatever they can to stand out above the rest. Sometimes, that pressure can tempt people into falsifying their credentials in order to seem more impressive and, thus, more hireable. The only way employers can be positive that an applicant’s resume really is as good as he or she says is to run a background check on them. A good background check should include criminal history and past employment verification. Perhaps if some of the following companies had done their homework a little better, they would have been able to avoid some significantly embarrassing situations.

Robert Irving’s cake mistake

For instance, the Food Network’s Dinner Impossible thought they had made a great find when they hired Robert Irving. Among his purported accomplishments was having designed Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding cake. However, in 2008 it came to light that the closest he had come to the cake was picking the fruit for it because he was attending the school where it was made.

MIT dean is denied

Despite its impressively intellectual persona, it took MIT 28 years to realize one of its staff, Marilee Jones, not only had never received a master’s degree, she had never finished her undergraduate degree either. When the falsification came to light in 2007, Jones chose to resign, admitting she had “misrepresented her academic degrees to the institute” because she “did not have the courage to correct [her] resume when [she] applied for [her] current job or at any time since.”

Notre Dame Head Coach never actually played football

George O’Leary probably gets the prize for the shortest time served as head coach of Notre Dame’s football team. Just 5 days after being named to the position, he resigned because the university realized he had never received the master’s degree he claimed to have gotten from New York University. He had in fact attended the school, but never graduated.

Even worse, the university discovered that despite telling them he had played football for three years at the University of New Hampshire, O’Leary had actually never played at all. Upon his resignation, O’Leary released this statement: “Due to a selfish and thoughtless act many years ago, I have personally embarrassed Notre Dame, its alumni, and fans.”

Avoid this type of public humiliation by doing background checks on applicants before you hire them. It’s just a good business policy to have, no matter what line of work you’re in.