Do You Ever Lie in Your Resume?

an interviewer asking a question to the interviewee

I was re-watching the famous sitcom Friends the other day, the episode wherein Phoebe attempts to teach Joey French to beef up his resume. 

Not only did he not speak French at all, he did not have any sense of what the French language sounded like. 

Je m’appelle to him was the same as blu-dee-blaa

Given how pathetic he was at it, it was not surprising that the casting agent saw right through the deficiency leading to Joey failing the audition.

Funny as the episode was, I had an eerie, unsettling feeling after watching it, which was immediately replaced by curiosity.

How many resumes out there would be padded like Joey’s? What proportion?

Some fascinating survey results came up as part of my internet search. Reference check companies found that almost 78% of the candidates applying for jobs had either lied in their application process or wouldn’t mind lying on their resume to land a job.

There was quite a spectrum to the lies, too – misrepresenting education, GPA, test scores, level of expertise in a language or a technology, and omitting a particular employer, to name a few.

It’s not easy for my little brain to process abstract concepts, so I made it personal. I assumed the role of such a candidate. I state I know french, but in reality, I am a level zero. 

For convenience, let’s assume the same proficiency level as Joey. Let’s assume, seeing my French experience; I get shortlisted for an interview/audition – which is in two days. 

It doesn’t take Einstein to figure out that it’s near impossible for me at this stage even to pretend that the situation can be salvaged – unless salvation means coming clean at the interview that I don’t actually have that skill.

Interviewer: Hi, I am a bla bla bla bla bla….

Me (wholly distracted, thinking): Oh my god! She is gonna ask me about my French language proficiency.

Interviewer: Tell me about yourself.

Me (thinking, I should come clean! Come clean you idiot, now now now): Hi, I am me. I am sorry, I don’t know any French. Sorry, I missed the question; what was your question again?

That is worse than a dream of being naked in front of a fully packed Wembley stadium. 

R.E.S.P.E.C.T for Joey! He had the balls to spit lies and then follow through with them. Although, his ignorance might have beefed up his courage there. Who knows!? 

In all that random searching and reading, I came across this quote by Stanley J Randall – a Canadian businessman turned politician:

“The closest to perfection a person ever comes is when he fills out a job application form.​”

Even the employer ought to know that noone is perfect.

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