Almost 10,000 people caught lying on their CVs in first four months of the year: What to do if you've lied?
Thinking of padding your resume to increase your chances of landing that dream job?
Maybe you reckon that it's okay to put in a little white lie about your work experience or educational qualifications?
In the first four months of this year, screening firm First Advantage conducted close to 50,000 checks in Singapore and found that almost 10,000 people had lied in their CVs.
Mr Kannan Chettiar, regional director of First Advantage, says: "Besides exaggerating their salary, many also puffed up their responsibilities and duties to make it appear that they had much more experience than they actually had.
"It signals to employers that they cannot be trusted."
Agreeing, Mr Edward Hickey, Asia-Pacific managing director of HireRight, says hiring such applicants will be detrimental, not only to the financials of the company but also to its reputation.
"Hiring someone who does not have the right qualifications, yet lied about it, destroys trust, especially when senior people are uncovered," he adds.
Last month, a former National University of Singapore don was found to have fake credentials, prompting the university to relook its recruitment process.
The screening process doesn't just happen with new hires. Companies now regularly check credentials when a candidate is up for a promotion.
There are also occasional audits where companies pull up random resumes for checks.
About 10 per cent of the employers here use screening services so if you have lied on your CV, there is a chance you will be caught eventually.
First Advantage is one of two companies operating here which screens resumes.
"Some, like banks, go to the extent of screening every staff member, including those who have been with the company for years, particularly when they apply for or are already holding critical positions in the company," Mr Kannan says.
"We were asked by a client, not too long ago, to screen an employee who had been with the company for 20 years. During the process, we found out that he had never graduated from university like he claimed he had.
"But he was a good worker and was loyal to the company, and he had proven himself so he was only given a warning."
However, the employee was eventually passed over for a promotion.
HireRight, the other screening firm here, says lies on job applications are widespread.
Its benchmark report this year, which is based on more than 700,000 checks a year in Asia and Europe, states that over eight out of 10 resumes contain a lie.
Also, seven in 10 checks uncovered issues or information that would not have been found without background screening.
Among the many shocking examples of employees weeded out by screening experts was a healthcare worker in a neighbouring country who had lied about his qualifications.
In another regional case, a bank employee was found to have lied about his criminal conviction for theft.
Mr Hickey says jobseekers are more likely to include inaccurate details about their education history than any other aspect of their background.
Two in five applications between April and June that were checked by HireRight have an incorrect grade, qualification, institution, course or date.
"This figure is at an all-time high," he says.
"It's all too easy to fabricate industry recognised qualifications and memberships, such as those awarded in the legal and accountancy industry.
"If companies fail to check these claims, they risk employing people who are not, in fact, chartered and go on to provide ill-advised consultancy. This can have legal consequences, lead to lost revenue and clients, and seriously damage reputation," he adds.
"Hiring someone who does not have the right qualifications, yet lied about it, destroys trust, especially when senior people are uncovered."
- Mr Edward Hickey, Asia-Pacific managing director of HireRight
High price of career lies
ANOOP SHANKAR, 39
WHO Former assistant professor at National University of Singapore's Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine from 2005 to 2008
IN HIS RESUME Doctorate in epidemiology, graduated from India's top medical school when he was 21, was a member of the prestigious Royal College of Physicians and had been awarded "genius" visa to the United States.
REVEALED Routine pre-appointment review by West Virginia University found he has no doctorate degree, and did not graduate from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. He has only a master's degree in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina.
SCOTT THOMPSON, 56
WHO Former CEO of Yahoo
IN HIS RESUME Bachelor's degree in both accounting and computer science from Stonehill College.
REVEALED Proxy statements filed by eBay, where Thompson worked from 2008 to 2010, showed only an accounting degree. Stonehill College confirmed that he was granted a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Accounting).
Thompson resigned from Yahoo after less than six months there. He is currently CEO of ShopRunner, an online shopping portal.
MARILEE JONES, 63
WHO Former dean of admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US
IN HER RESUME Academic degrees from Union College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute when she first applied for entry-level admissions officer position with MIT in 1979, and a degree from Albany Medical College after she was hired.
REVEALED The university received information about Jones' credentials and investigated them. Jones never received any college degrees.
She resigned in 2007 after 28 years at MIT and is now a college admissions consultant at the Berklee College of Music.
ROBERT IRVINE, 49
WHO Chef and Food Network host
IN HIS RESUME Helped design Princess Diana's wedding cake, worked at the White House and graduated from the University of Leeds.
REVEALED Investigation by the St Petersburg Times found he had embellished several facts presented in separate biographical profiles posted on both his own corporate website and the Food Network's website.
He was yanked in 2008 from his Food Network show, Dinner: Impossible, but was rehired later that year.
PATRICK IMBARDELLI, 53
WHO Former Asia Pacific CEO of the InterContinental Hotels Group
IN HIS RESUME Bachelor of Business degree from Victoria University in Australia, as well as Bachelor of Science and an MBA from Cornell University.
REVEALED It was found that though he had attended classes at these institutions, he never graduated.
He left InterContinental Hotels Group in 2007 with a pay-off equivalent to just two months' salary, a settlement understood to be far short of his contractual notice period.
DAVID TOVAR, 40
WHO Former vice-president of communications at Walmart Stores Inc
IN HIS RESUME A bachelor's degree from the University of Delaware.
REVEALED While being evaluated for a promotion to senior vice-president, it came to light that he had never finished the required coursework to get a diploma. He resigned last month.