It seemed like such a little lie.

It seemed like such a little lie.

I’ve been recruiting for 22 years, and this week, for the first time in 22 years, I’ve lost a placement because the candidate lied about their education credentials. It’s not the first time I’ve seen a bogus degree on a resume, but it’s the first time I’ve believed the degree and presented the candidate. Not that the degree being lied about isn’t important, but it was just an associate’s degree, and he still lied about having one. He now says that he was only a few classes short of completion, but you know, if you’ll lie about anything, then you’ll lie about anything, so who knows if the new words out of his mouth are true.

Integrity. It’s one of the most important things in all relationships, and if you don’t have it in one area, then who knows where else you are lacking it. This was not a young person who just made an immature mistake in judgment, something that maybe you could overlook in the long haul as part of his learning curve in life; something that you could forgive and, even though he would almost certainly lose this offer, maybe in the future you could work with him again. No, this was a seasoned manager with an excellent track record, strong resume, and great references, who knew how to get the job done and would have been an excellent asset to my client. So, this was not a mistake; This was a Character flaw. A flaw that is part of who this person ‘is’ at this point in their life, and one that makes them hands off to me forever.

The job did not require the degree. So, why did he lie? Fear, I’m sure. Fear of what, I don’t know, I haven‘t put much thought into that. Probably of not getting a job, but that doesn’t concern me as much as what the lie cost.

It cost him:

  • A GREAT job.
  • His reputation with a lot of people, including, I think, himself.
  • The relationship with me and my firm, and my network. He may read this article, and if he does, he will almost certainly know that it’s about him. I may even send it to him just to be sure he gets this message, or at least has the opportunity to get it.

Beyond what it cost him, I don’t think he fully appreciates just how many people put how much effort into getting him this offer, or how many people put their good names behind him to move this forward, and how many people are now going into meetings today with egg on their face, their own word and opinion and ability to make a good hiring decision now being questioned. So, beyond what it cost him, who else is paying a price for his little lie?

  • Me and my firm, of course. Recruiting is a hard business, and all kinds of things can go wrong, but going to bat hard for a candidate, and pushing the process hard, and making numerous calls day after day for, in this case, 2 months, to keep the ball rolling to the point of getting the offer out, the counter offer (yeah, he had the nerve to ask for more) accepted and put out. So, yeah, I’ve got a lot of egg on my face right now, and I’ve wasted over 100 hours on this candidate.
  • The Interim VP of Revenue Cycle, who really liked him, and also went to bat for him, hard, pushing on the inside, having meetings to force the internal recruiters to step up the process and make things happen quicker. So, she’s not feeling so great right now either.
  • I’m pretty sure some of her negative feelings will be directed towards me, so he’s damaged my long standing good relationship with this client.
  • This Interim has hopes of becoming the Permanent VP with this hospital, and this does not help her application.
  • The hospital system CFO, who went to bat for him, adding her weight to the push on HR to get him processed quickly, and who personally checked one of his references, who is a friend and peer of hers, before agreeing to the counter offer terms. She’s not real happy this morning either.
  • And that friend of hers, the CFO at a sister hospital where he previously worked, who was a Great reference for him last week, well, her name just went on the line too.
  • I suspect she’ll learn of this, and he will lose her as a Great reference.
  • And the other references that he gave me, 3 different people that he had reported to, who all thought he was fantastic, a real go getter, a guy who would get the job done. I don’t know if those folks are going to find out what he did, but he apparently did it to at least 2 of them as well, but didn’t get caught.
  • The internal recruiters, who worked hard to process this, for nothing, when they could have used their valuable time on work that wasn’t tainted by a lie.
  • The department and staff that now have to wait even longer to get their much needed competent manager.

It seemed like such a little lie to him, I’m sure. He ‘almost’ had the degree. It was over 20 years ago when he took the classes, so such a distant little white lie. He had gotten away with the lie several times before. And besides, if he got caught, he was really only hurting himself, and only with just this one hospital, right? So, such a small lie. But look at how much it cost, and how many have to pay the price.

If you didn’t complete the program, you don’t have the degree. To represent other than that is a lie, and can cost a lot more than just the job you hope to get, or even the one you already have. Please, for the sake of those around you who will be paying the price, don’t do it.