I happen to work in a niche technical field. And although there are thousands of men and women working throughout the U.S. in my field, there are only a couple hundred or so in my region. Once you’ve been working in my field for about 5 years, you start to run across the same people and companies in job applications, postings, conferences and contracts bids.
A funny, but disturbing, thing happened this past week that made me glad I was there to help. My company is looking for a Java developer with certain other experience for our current contract and a recruiter submitted a resume to my boss to review.
Here’s where it gets good. My boss called me last Friday to ask whether I knew the job applicant from my prior job last year. The applicant stated he did some pretty impressive work at that company from 2003-2004, but I didn’t remember his name in any conversations with my boss and coworkers at the time (I started work there in late 2005), so I emailed my former colleagues to see what they had to say about this guy.
My contacts were the same individuals who started the whole practice at this company, and would certainly have known this guy given his rather unique name and claimed accomplishments. They all responded with an emphatic NO! HE’S LYING! He never worked here! I have full reason to believe my friends and former bosses, so our next step is to investigate whether this guy stole someone else’s resume or part of a resume, or if the recruiter is an idiot. We’ll still give the applicant some leeway considering when you submit your resume to a recruiter, they often submit something quite different to the hiring manager without showing it to you first.
The moral of this story: Don’t try to pass off something you didn’t do in your resume, because there’s a good chance it will be discovered one way or another.