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Shocked - A legal business that creates fake companies for fake resumes

 
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I was reading about some cases of people losing jobs and how some people were resorting to faking experience in tough times. I finally landed on an article in forbes.com. There is is a legal US business called "career excuse dot com" which was founded by William Schmidt.

I am quite shocked to see that they offer fake job references, fake degrees in 5 days, landlord references and "answering service" to people. I wonder how a company can shield itself from the shell companies created by such unscrupulous people and their candidates. More importantly, how can the law permit this business to run openly ? What's next ? Legal businesses that sell fake drivers license, weapon license etc. ?

How can one uncover such fake companies quickly and with minimum effort ?
 
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If you want to know how widespread faking experience in a CV is, follow the Jobs Discussion forum on this site. As to fake degrees, check your spam folder.
 
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As an interviewer, I have to assume that the resume is a stack of lies until proven otherwise. That's what the interview is for. And most people are honest. The problem is that you don't meet "most people" when you are looking to fill a position.

For a while I met a tremendous number of "7 year experienced in Spring and Hibernate" developers who couldn't write simple Java. I don't know if they lied or are simply horrible at their jobs. Don't care. Don't want them on my team.
 
Ali Gordon
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:As an interviewer, I have to assume that the resume is a stack of lies until proven otherwise. That's what the interview is for. And most people are honest. The problem is that you don't meet "most people" when you are looking to fill a position.

For a while I met a tremendous number of "7 year experienced in Spring and Hibernate" developers who couldn't write simple Java. I don't know if they lied or are simply horrible at their jobs. Don't care. Don't want them on my team.



What ! 7 years of experience and cannot write simple Java ! If you don't mind, can you please give a sample question which you asked or a random question of similar difficulty ? Also, were these guys applying for full-time or contracting positions ?
 
Ulf Dittmer
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You're missing the point - some people lie on their resumes. What exactly they write doesn't really matter, it's the interviewer's job to determine whether or not a particular candidate did so.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Ali Gordon wrote:What ! 7 years of experience and cannot write simple Java ! If you don't mind, can you please give a sample question which you asked or a random question of similar difficulty ?


I don't ask this one anymore, but back when everyone worked with raw JDBC, I had a question to build an ArrayList containing the names in a ResultSet created through the query "select name from names". It was an idiom that everyone who worked with JDBC in recent history would be able to spit out like it is nothing. (I'd rather not share my current questions on the internet.)


Ali Gordon wrote:Also, were these guys applying for full-time or contracting positions ?


I've seen it in both. It doesn't matter though. They didn't get hired.

Some people lie. Some people exaggerate skills. And some people didn't do enough to realize what they don't know. If someone was paid to google stuff and copy.paste it into an application and everyone he/she knows does the same, the person THINKS they are an experienced developer.
 
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Some people lie. Some people exaggerate skills.


Anybody remember Yahoo's CEO Scott Thompson? You know, the guy who said he had a CompSci degree, but didn't?
It took 4 months before someone noticed his lie. Yahoo paid him $7 million.

Buying fake experience isn't much different than exaggerating or buying a fake degree.
Back when people read paper magazines, I remember the Rolling Stone magazine had classifieds for degrees from universities in the Caribbean.
$100, plus proof you could spell your name, and "BAM!" instant Degree in 6 - 8 weeks.

Cheers!
Chris
 
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I might conceivably, theoretically... consider a fake resume under some circumstances, for IT work.

The reason would be to hack through the unbelievable WORLDWIDE glut of resumes and applicants in order to get an interview. At the interview I would tell the interviewer what I had done and why I did it, and if he turned red and started shaking, I'd say well, did I answer your interview questions?


 
Ulf Dittmer
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The problem with that is, if an applicant lies to get an interview, what else might he lie about?
 
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The point is not to get an interview, but to get the job. How likely would it be for the person to get the job once he or she has revealed the deceit used to obtain the interview?

Unless, of course, the job is with Star Fleet, in which case a commendation for original thinking may be in order for changing the parameters of the test.
 
Guillermo Ishi
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That's why I carefully constrained the theory to IT. I know he's either into Star Trek, Monty Python, or dragons and unicorns, so I have a one in three chance ;)
 
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Guillermo Ishi wrote:That's why I carefully constrained the theory to IT. I know he's either into Star Trek, Monty Python, or dragons and unicorns, so I have a one in three chance ;)



Don't know about the chances with others -- but with me, the chances would be zero. Lying to get an interview meant that a interview slot, that belonged to someone else, got taken. Also, I have to work with the person that gets hired. Out of sheer principle, I would reject the candidate.

Henry
 
Bear Bibeault
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Humor aside, Star Trek fan or no, like Henry I'd be showing the candidate the door faster than a replicator can make Earl Grey, Hot.
 
Henry Wong
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Bear Bibeault wrote:Humor aside, Star Trek fan or no, like Henry I'd be showing the candidate the door faster than a replicator can make Earl Grey, Hot.



How about to the door of a disintegration chamber ? Consider it a taste of ... well, trekkies should know...

Henry
 
Bear Bibeault
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Sir, there is a multi-legged creature crawling on your shoulder.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Henry Wong wrote:Don't know about the chances with others -- but with me, the chances would be zero.


Same here. Once I catch a candidate in a lie, everything else he/she has told me is now suspect. Further, I question the person's ethics with respect to the actual job.

I once had a candidate take issue with being walked back to the front door after the interview. (While we do it for security purposes, but this seems just plain polite. The alternative is "thanks for coming in; see ya"). I didn't know how the interview went as I wasn't interviewing him. I came over because my teammate felt uncomfortable insisting he had to be walked back to the door. On the way out, I explained the reasons we walk everyone back. He said in a very hostile tone that we shouldn't think he would steal something. I then submitted a vote for 'no hire.' That was the most polite we were EVER going to see him. If he can't pretend to respect our policies for five minutes, I don't expect him to follow them on the job.

The point is that getting a job isn't just about having the skills to do the job.

Guillermo Ishi wrote: At the interview I would tell the interviewer what I had done and why I did it, and if he turned red and started shaking, I'd say well, did I answer your interview questions?


You assume there would be a confrontation. There might not be. The interviewer could simply write "no hire" and not give you any indication that this is what happened.
 
Guillermo Ishi
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:You assume there would be a confrontation. There might not be. The interviewer could simply write "no hire" and not give you any indication that this is what happened.


Not necessarily a confrontation, but there would be a conversation.

Look, your chances of getting an interview are zero. You've heard of people sending out hundreds of resumes to companies for advertised jobs and getting zero responses, much less takers.

Are there ten people in the world who they will think are better suited to the job than you? Of course there are. You won't get an interview. In fact you won't even get past the lexical scanner. You will not win the lottery. If you get an interview and then tell them you lied to get the interview, they at least have the chance to see your chutzpa, however they want to perceive it.



 
Bear Bibeault
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So you are saying that no one gets an interview without lying to obtain it? Utter hogwash.

 
Guillermo Ishi
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Bear Bibeault wrote:So you are saying that no one gets an interview without lying to obtain it? Utter hogwash.



I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying you won't win the lottery. Somebody will but it won't be you.
 
Henry Wong
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Guillermo Ishi wrote:

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:You assume there would be a confrontation. There might not be. The interviewer could simply write "no hire" and not give you any indication that this is what happened.


Not necessarily a confrontation, but there would be a conversation.



If I was the interviewer, I don't think there would be a conversation either. A conversation is only needed if a decision needs to made -- and it is still unclear. If you lied on your resume, the decision is clear. I would not have a need to have further conversations.

Henry
 
Guillermo Ishi
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Henry Wong wrote: If you lied on your resume, the decision is clear. I would not have a need to have further conversations.
Henry


But I came clean and told you I lied. And I told you why. In your mind it wasn't justified? What if I was desperate and had baby kitties to feed? You are saying there is nothing that could justify it. If you are so cold-hearted? So devoid of humanity?

BTW, I've never lied on a resume. But there was one time when I said something about "agile" and what I really meant was I could dunk a basketball.
 
Henry Wong
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Guillermo Ishi wrote:
But I came clean and told you I lied. And I told you why. In your mind it wasn't justified? What if I was desperate and had baby kitties to feed? You are saying there is nothing that could justify it. If you are so cold-hearted? So devoid of humanity?



The interviewer's job is to determine whether or not the candidate can do the job, whether or not the candidate can be a productive member of the team, whether or not the candidate can follow the rules or ethics of the company, etc.

And quite frankly, the justification doesn't matter. The interviewer has to report it. Or do you think that it is possible to justify it enough, so that the interviewer will lie for the candidate?

Henry
 
Guillermo Ishi
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I would say to my manager "After this guy aced his interview like nobody's business, he told me he had to lie on his resume to get the interview. I think we should hire him, and in his spare time let him re-engineer our selection process".





 
Ulf Dittmer
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You can hope as much as you like that this approach would or should work, but it seems that in numerous companies it is DOA. On top of that, people should realize that lying on a resume will in most circumstances be a firable offence, even after a candidate has started. I wouldn't imagine that having that hanging over one's head makes for a productive employee.
 
Henry Wong
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Ulf Dittmer wrote: it seems that in numerous companies it is DOA. On top of that, people should realize that lying on a resume will in most circumstances be a firable offence, even after a candidate has started.



I believe that in most cases, it is company policy. Enforced by HR. The employee can be the best employee on the team, and his/her manager may find him/her invaluable, but can do nothing to save him/her.


The issue here is that, at best, it is fraud -- and the integrity of the employee is in question. At worst, it is simply theft -- and, to the extreme, where the the theft causes the employee to be consulted out at the incorrect rate, the company itself just committed theft. For most companies, there is no gray area here. Lying on the resume is simply just cause for termination.

Henry
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Guillermo Ishi wrote:I would say to my manager "After this guy aced his interview like nobody's business, he told me he had to lie on his resume to get the interview. I think we should hire him, and in his spare time let him re-engineer our selection process".


I see two problems with this:

1) Interviewing well does not mean one has the skills needed to "ace" the job. What happens when the candidate doesn't perform well due to lack of experience? That's the point of experience - you make different decisions and work differently.

2) It is risky for you and not just the candidate. If the company has a policy/culture like the ones of the moderators in this thread, you might not be on the interview panel for much longer. Having someone do interviews who thinks it is ok for candidates to lie is not someone I would prefer to meet with outside candidates. He/she could inadvertently imply that the company approves of lack of truth.
 
Guillermo Ishi
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:

1) Interviewing well does not mean one has the skills needed to "ace" the job. What happens when the candidate doesn't perform well due to lack of experience? That's the point of experience - you make different decisions and work differently.



Hopefully the interview would give a better indication of his suitability than would his resume. You have him there in person to try out. You should do this anyway, in case he's lying on his resume ;)

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:
2) It is risky for you and not just the candidate. If the company has a policy/culture like the ones of the moderators in this thread, you might not be on the interview panel for much longer. Having someone do interviews who thinks it is ok for candidates to lie is not someone I would prefer to meet with outside candidates. He/she could inadvertently imply that the company approves of lack of truth.



I might get myself in pretty deep by doing what's best for the company. You could hire this great interview who volunteered that he lied, or a poor interview who you have no reason to trust...
 
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Guillermo Ishi wrote:
Hopefully the interview would give a better indication of his suitability than would his resume. You have him there in person to try out. You should do this anyway, in case he's lying on his resume ;)



Slightly off topic, but for what it's worth research suggests interviews are a terrible way of predicting performance. There are ways to improve it, but unstructured interviews come out of only slightly better than making a random choice.

Though I don't know what fields the research was performed in - I'd guess you might do better in technical fields where assessing someone's knowledge and understanding is important and maybe more straightforward than predicting other areas.
 
Henry Wong
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Guillermo Ishi wrote:
I might get myself in pretty deep by doing what's best for the company. You could hire this great interview who volunteered that he lied, or a poor interview who you have no reason to trust...



Given those two choices, I would recommend to continue interviewing.

Henry
 
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Guillermo Ishi wrote:You could hire this great interview who volunteered that he lied, or a poor interview who you have no reason to trust...


The interview is designed to test your skills and understanding of the required material, but the interviewer is also internally asking the question, "Can I work with this person 40 hours a week? How will this person fit with my team?"
By lying on the resume, the candidate has explicitly stated that the their values and ethics are questionable and by hiring that person I've implicitly said my organization's values and ethics are questionable.

If they will lie for an interview, will they lie and say their project is on track? Will they steal proprietary information from us? Will they lie and backstab other employees for career advancement?
Perhaps it's a bit of "Fool me once, it's your fault. Fool me twice, it's mine", but I wouldn't give the liar the opportunity to lie again.
 
Guillermo Ishi
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An important question here is does the guy show he's honest by telling you he lied.
 
Matthew Brown
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Guillermo Ishi wrote:An important question here is does the guy show he's honest by telling you he lied.


It shows he can be honest when he thinks it might be in his interest. Which isn't quite the same thing.
 
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Guillermo Ishi wrote:An important question here is does the guy show he's honest by telling you he lied.



I think you are trying to play devil's advocate on the subject -- to see if you can get some concessions from the other side of the debate. Unfortunately, you picked a subject (and a side) that is pretty much dead on arrival. Lying on the resume is pretty much a common no-no in the industry.

Anyway, so, you want to know if we appreciate that the guy is honest that he was dishonest? Only partially lied? Or lied up to a point? Maybe. Not sure. Regardless, would I recommend for hiring? No.

Henry
 
Guillermo Ishi
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Matthew Brown wrote:It shows he can be honest when he thinks it might be in his interest. Which isn't quite the same thing.



If it shows he thinks honesty might be in his interest, more power to him.
 
Ulf Dittmer
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No power to him, because he doesn't get hired. Henry is right - this discussion is leading nowhere.
 
Guillermo Ishi
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Ulf Dittmer wrote:No power to him, because he doesn't get hired. Henry is right - this discussion is leading nowhere.



Daniel Webster did not pierce the corporate veil
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Ulf Dittmer wrote:No power to him, because he doesn't get hired. Henry is right - this discussion is leading nowhere.


We should all have some pie. Maybe we can figure out who to hire that way.
 
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Suitable to the season:

 
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Bear: You killed the pumpkin! It needs to live for another few weeks until Halloween
 
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