Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Of Mensa members and pro ball players

My friend Anne Mullaney from Cutter Consortium sent me a blog item today titled 10 most outrageous lies on resumes. The article reports that while only 8% of employees admit to stretching the truth on their resumes, 49% of hiring managers have caught applicants in lies about their experience or qualifications, according to CareerBuilder.com. Some of the more outrageous claims included being a Mensa member and a professional baseball player.

I doubt the A/E industry is immune to this dubious trend among job applicants. Think about it: 1 out of 2 resumes that come into your firm probably contain lies about the applicant. That's scary. So what can you do about it?

I suggest you take some pointers from PSMJ Circle of Excellence (COE) firms. When looking for experienced design people, one COE CEO I spoke with recently only hires people who are currently employed by other firms. I know that some people in the industry look at this as poaching - the definition of poaching and the associated moral questions are a topic for a future post - but this CEO feels that if he is offering a better opportunity for a designer, it is the firm the designer is leaving that needs to be introspective. This CEO believes that these candidates are willing to let their work do the talking for them and the firm gets an unvarnished look at the candidates' qualifications.

Another COE CFO told me that his HR people rarely look at "blind resumes" - that is, resumes from people with no connection to the firm. All of her job candidates either know someone currently working in the firm or have collaborated with the firm in some capacity in the past - in other words, known quantities. A known quantity is far less likely to embellish a resume because he already feels like he has a competitive inside track for the job.

Either way, you owe it to yourself, your staff, and your clients to improve your odds of getting honest candidates for positions in your firm.


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