Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: honesty

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to honesty.

Quick Poll Results: How Many IT Contractors Lie on Their Resume?

We’ve been in the IT staffing industry for over 20 years now and if there’s one thing we can be certain of, it’s that most IT contractors are ethical and uphold high standards of honesty. An area we’ve seen some professionals slip, it’s when trying to sell themselves for a job where they don’t have the complete experience.

Whether or not we received honest answers is uncertain, but last month’s contractor quick poll asked independent contractors if they ever lied on their resume, or even stretched the truth a bit. The results are below and very promising for our industry. While a few admit that they may have stretched the truth a bit, nobody responded that they have completely made up experience.

Quick Poll Results: Have you ever lied on your resume?

Contractor Quick Poll: Have you ever lied on your resume?

It’s not uncommon for recruiters to notice certain inconsistencies in independent contractors’ experience. In a few extreme cases, we interview candidates only to learn that they have no clue what they’re talking about and clearly made up experience to get their foot in the door. More commonly, though, after comparing different versions of resumes or asking a few detailed questions, we learn that a contractor may have stretched the truth a bit in order to qualify.

While we never encourage these actions and know that lies always get uncovered eventually, we thought we’d take the opportunity of this month’s anonymous contractor quick poll to learn how many people lie or stretch the truth on their resume.

Liar, Liar…

Morley Surcon By Morley Surcon,
Vice-President, Western Canada at Eagle

Liar Liar

Shocking news — people lie!

There are many, many sources on the web showing how prodigiously people fib on their resumes and social profiles.  One such article suggests that over half of resumes and job applications contain falsehoods.  Misrepresentations can range from job titles and dates of employment to out-right lying about where one has worked and the education that they have… and everything in between.

In a slower economy, where there are more applicants than jobs, staffing agencies have witnessed a greater “stretching of the truth” by some independent contractors.  For example, something that our company has been calling “resume blurring” becomes much more common.  This is less of an outright lie, but more of a stretching of the truth.  Resume blurring comes into play when people re-write their resumes to broaden the types of roles for which they might be a fit.  For example, an IT contractor who has been a Project Manager might now have a resume that appears that they’ve got a lot more Business Analysis experience than they really do, or vice versa.  As the two roles work so closely hand-in-hand, it is often difficult for clients and employers to weed out the candidates that kind of know the job versus the ones that have actually been doing the job and are experts at it.

Other times the deceptions are even more blatant.  We have seen instances where contractors actually “buy” resumes and other people take phone interviews for them to win them the job.  We’ve even had someone complete a skype interview for another person!  (That’s a harder one to pull off)  Regardless of what the falsifications are, it comes down to the fact that there needs to be a much deeper level of due diligence completed by recruiters.  Honest contractors deserve a fair shake and the only way this is going to happen is through deeper background and reference vetting.

Again, when the economy offers fewer jobs than there are qualified applicants, companies often feel that they don’t need the services of employment agencies as they can gather more than enough resumes on their own.  But given the propensity of some people to embellish or outright lie on resumes/applications, this is the time when they really need a good staffing agency partner the most.  At Eagle, over our 20 years in business, we have come to know a large percentage of the independent contractors in the market. We’ve tracked their careers and we have relationships with many that span years.  We know these technology professionals, we know what they do and have done, we know that they are the “real deal” and we share this information with our clients.  And for contractors that are new to us, we complete a series of interviews, background vetting and reference checks before sharing their information with our clients; in this way, we get to know them and ensure they are what they claim to be.

For the reasons listed in the paragraph above, honest and professional contractors should make it a point to build strong relationships with their recruiter partners as we can be the voice of reason helping you to compete with the desperate people (or outright charlatans) in the market.

Have you witnessed any new or innovative ways that some people try to fool their way into jobs?  I encourage you to share your stories below!



Gaps Between IT Gigs on Your Resume

Frances McCart By Frances McCart,
Vice-President, Business Development at Eagle

How to Overcome Them and Land Your Next Contract or Job

Gaps in Employment - How to Overcome Them and Land Your Next Contract or JobOne of the most common questions I get asked by contractors is how to explain gaps in employment?  My first response is to tell them to be honest with the information on their resume.  I often find both contract and permanent candidates tend to hide the fact they have had gaps in employment, thinking it is often better to gloss over the gaps with vague dates of employment.  In speaking with candidates, I tell them that one of the first red flags a recruiter sees in a resume is either a lack of dates tied to work, grouping of work under one title (ie Consulting) or a resume that is functional skilled base with no reference back to dates.

When a recruiter receives a resume, the first thing they do is look for a continuous stream of employment.  If there are gaps, and there is no explanation on the resume as to what occurred during that time period, it is left up to the recruiter to fill in the story — and this is not a good thing.  People often say they do not want to state what the reason is for the gap and rather explain the gaps in their employment history in an interview.  This strategy often does not work as gaps in a resume can prevent candidates from even making it through to the first interview.

The best way to handle gaps on one’s resume is to fill in the story and not to hide the facts.  Be upfront and honest about why there are gaps:

  1. Explain the reason for the gap. Don’t hide the reason why but own your story. In today’s workplace, clients understand more than ever that there are many reasons for non-continuous work.  From the economy, to personal growth to ailing parents — all of these factors impact ones’ work life.
  2. Keep the explanation brief.
  3. If you left a job voluntarily, don’t be afraid to explain why (i.e. pursue higher education, change of career, etc.)
  4. Match the story on one your resume with the one on social media. Any inconsistencies will lead to not being considered for opportunities.  Recruiters often compare information, especially employment dates, from a resume vs linkedin.
  5. Be accurate with the date between contracts/employment. Often, candidates find it tempting to add months onto the start of employment and to the termination of employment, trying to lessen the time off.  Many clients ask agencies for verification of employment dates.  If the dates confirmed do not match those on the resume or the social media profile, a candidate’s offer can be withdrawn.
  6. Emphasize the positives of a break in employment (i.e. new certifications, volunteer experience, etc…)
  7. If you were let go from a previous employment, be prepared to explain it during an interview and to be positive about the past situation. Being negative about a previous employer is often a turnoff to a potential new employer.

Honesty is always the best policy.