Has the Economy Forced Everyone to Lie

August 16, 2011

I recently conducted several searches in both residential and commercial businesses in multiple states. The positions ranged from superintendents to heads of Pre-Construction and Construction roles.

I started with each candidate by spending an average of 1.5 hours on the phone discussing experiences, backgrounds, personalities, likes and dislikes and strengths and developmental areas……No rocket science stuff, just give me the facts….

After talking to a huge group of potential candidates, I narrowed down the pool to a critical few. These people represented themselves as the best and brightest of the bunch and clearly articulated to me via the phone, information that matched the client’s criteria for a successful hire.

The next step was to arrange a face to face interview at a local hotel. All candidates passing the initial screening were notified of a time and place and asked to bring information or photos regarding their work. Each candidate was aware of a back ground check and a reference check that would be completed before a hire was made. I then scheduled 2 days back to back in different locations in order to see all viable candidates.

When the interviews began at the Hotel the following took place;

  • Candidates were 20 to 25 years older than they represented themselves on their resume.
  • 50% of all candidates were no longer employed although their resume indicated otherwise.
  • 33% of the candidates admitted to given me a lower compensation than they actually earned
  • Several candidates called and stated prior to the face to face interview that in thinking about the background check that would ultimately surface, they wanted to come clean about items that would appear.
  • Several candidates arrived at the interview saying they had no documentation/photos as previously stated regarding their prior work.

Clearly, our economy and the state of our industry has forced many people seeking employment to manipulate their personal data for any kind of advantage. I continue to be concerned that applicants today in Home Building know that they are 1 in 100 applying for each role and the bar has been set so high that lying in some cases is the only way to find yourself as a bona fide contender.

So the morale of this story is,” buyer beware”. Never take a resume at face value and always look to validate everything about a candidate that is critical for your business. We have all expected exaggerations to be part of the landscape in this tough economy, but I for one never expected the level of flat out lying to be that broad based. Be diligent my friends.


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