Lying on Resumes: Its all Fun and Games Until Someone Loses their Job
We’ve all done it once in our lives; lying on our resumes, or for lack of a better word – exaggerating a wee bit to land our dream job. But, when it comes to the technology world, which includes developers, programmers and the like; there are certain degrees of lies, ranging from the tiny ‘fib’ to the “holy crap! How did he or she ever get away with that!?” lie.
When it comes to developing or programming, the fact of the matter is the application process is easy. You write up a resume, listing previous experience, how many years and how many programming languages you know. Resumes are effectively all the same – we follow a certain standard, the advice given on how to properly write a resume that will “Get you that job!” is the same across the board.
Depending on how you build a resume, when it comes to listing education, we put our college or university name, followed by the degree/diploma we earned. Here is where most of the fault should be placed – the employers who don’t bother to call references or further investigate educational claims.
CEO Scott Thompson falsely claimed a computer science degree on his resume, when in fact he was an accountant. An account claiming to have degrees he never had, applying for a position at Yahoo – it really gets you thinking. At the end of the day, somehow Thompson became CEO of one of the biggest Search Engines (next to Google of course) in the world. Seriously, how the heck does this happen? Once the cat was out of the bag about the fraudulent resume, Thompson was either fired or resigned…the reports all conflict on that one.
Sure, we lie sometimes about how many YEARS of experience we have or maybe we get that good friend or distant relative who owns a business to give us the ultimate ego boosting reference – making sure we land the job. But, when a developer or even a programmer lies, it can become dangerous.
There is nothing dramatic about that last sentence – really take a step back and think about it. Thompson’s resume fib sent shock waves through Wall Street. You remember Wall Street right? When investors worry about the future of a company, it means the little peasant workers should worry as well. Lies like that can cost more than a yearly CEO bonus – it can have a ripple effect that spreads across the entire company including all of its employees.
Imagine NASA not checking out credentials – to far-fetched? Okay, how about your local bank who just hired a programmer to create a system for loans and in doing so is given personal account info and other personal data? Would you worry then? Of course you would, who wouldn’t?
Apparently it’s so incredibly easy and just recently an interesting story emerged about Verizon exposing a developer who wasn’t exactly doing the job he was paid to do. The company remains unnamed and so does the developer in question; but the story goes like this:
The developer works for a US critical infrastructure company; and we should probably point out that in the US a developers salary can range in the 6-figures category; this particular developer listed over 7 programming languages on his resume. He also happens to be in his mid-40, which most would automatically assume means he is a well educated and trained developer. But, for whatever reason, whether his entire resume is a complete sham, he has been ripping off his employer for months.
It was discovered that the developer in question was “outsourcing” his job to China. His company had become suspicious after they discovered a VPN connection they couldn’t explain. So, the company contacted Verizon, and they immediately began to investigate. They discovered the connection was coming from Shenyang, China; and the login being used to access this network just happened to belong to the developer – the very same developer who sat at his desk, no doubt working very hard for his company.
They also discovered he remained logged on all day long – for many months. To make a long story short, Verizon discovered that the developers work machine was full of PDF invoices all addressed to a firm working out of China. He had been paying another company to do his job; and at only a small percentage of his very large salary.
The Verizon developer story will no doubt send some ripples of its own, but the question remains how we, especially employers will learn from this. We don’t have any more details about the developer or whether or not he just flat out lied about being an experienced programmer; but one thing is for certain, he has to be some sort of genius (or very brave) to have pulled this off.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering what our genius developer did all day, it’s pretty easy to guess – his browsing history revealed that the majority of his time was spent on Reddit, buying stuff on eBay, updating his Facebook status – no doubt informing everyone of how his job totally sucked! And, watching cat videos…cat videos? Maybe we should scratch the genius claims.