Posted by: Wendy Schuchart
Have you been following the sordid tale of Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson’s resumé killers? In an effort to secure seats on Yahoo’s board, Third Point founder Daniel Loeb’s corporate investigators were digging for any dirt they could find on the CEO. They found a reference to a double degree on Thompson’s resumé indicating that he had earned accounting and computer science degrees from Stonehill College in Massachusetts. With more digging, they learned that not only did Thompson’s academic record not include a computing degree, but also that Stonehill had offered only a single intro-to-computing class while Thompson was attending.
Loeb has since called for Thompson’s dismissal, while Thompson claims that he never falsified his resumé because he didn’t actually submit one to Yahoo. I would believe this story, but it turns out that Thompson’s been claiming a computer science degree for a while now. One thing they teach you in computer science is that the Internet never forgets. Just ask David Edmonson, former CEO of RadioShack, who claimed he had two college degrees when he actually had none. Or you can talk to former Bausch & Lomb CEO Ronald Zarrella, who claimed he had an MBA from New York University but only took a few classes as a night student. And then there’s the former CFO of Veritas Software, Kenneth Lonchar, who lied about having an MBA from Stanford. At least Thompson really does have an accounting degree.
Over half of resumés received by HR contain at least one lie, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Only 35% of HR professionals actually verify a job candidate’s degree, according to the same survey. This morality play serves as a good reminder that falsifying academic credentials — or anything, really — is the deadliest of resumé killers. Not only can it severely harm your professional reputation, but — in the case of Veritas Software, at least — it can severely impact the company’s stock price.
Speaking of resumé killers, would you fire an employee if you found out that he had falsified his credentials? The comments are anxious to start a discussion.