Forget about Lying on Your Resume: Would You Hire a Fake Reference?

by Miranda Marquit

In tough economic times, it’s tempting to lie on a resume in order to make yourself look like a better candidate for a job. Perhaps you fudge a little on the salary paid to you in your last job, or you inflate some of your accomplishments.

Lying on your resume is rarely a good idea, though. Top executives at major companies have lied on their resumes — and then fired when the truth came out.

But some job-seekers are so desperate that they are willing to tell lies on their resumes, as long as they can justify them as small white lies. Others are taking it to the next level and actually hiring professional liars to pose as supervisors and former bosses.

fake job reference

Make sure you use a real job reference, or none at all!

Fake References for Real Jobs

According to an article on CNN Money, there are companies out there willing to pose as former supervisors and bosses to help you create a better-sounding work history.

If you’ve been out of work for a few months, some employers might be reluctant to hire you. However, if you can hire a professional to create a fictitious employer, and then act as your former “boss” to give you a good reference, you can show that you have had continuous employment.

The article states that some people hire these types of companies when they had a falling out with a boss, or when they have only had part-time or temp work and want to appear as though they have worked full-time. (These professional liars can also get you a doctor’s excuse for missing work “sick,” and provide other alibis.)

It’s an interesting twist on the job search. A lie on a resume can be figured out if the new employer does a little background research, calling on people who were on the spot. But if the lie on a resume is attached to another liar—one who is paid to corroborate the information—it might just pass muster if an employer is doing a spot check.

Would You Lie on Your Resume or Hire Someone to Lie for You?

For some people, I imagine the idea of lying on a resume, and especially hiring someone to pose as a former supervisor, is probably a step too far. It might be one thing to inflate an accomplishment a little bit on a resume; it’s another to outright lie about something and then ask someone else to lie in order to back you up.

Others, though, may see a fake job reference as a tactical consideration when it comes to positioning themselves against other job applicants. It’s a competitive job market out there, and you might feel qualified for the job, but what if there’s someone more qualified? What if you are afraid of what your former boss would say as a reference? It’s times like that when people start getting a little desperate and willing to take additional steps to ensure that they get a better chance at a job.

I don’t think that I would lie to get a job. But then, I have a career in which my body of work often speaks for itself. I work from home as a freelancer, and all anyone has to do is Google me to see what I do — and how much of it I do.

Other professions aren’t as straightforward, though. While there is an element of online search and social media browsing when it comes to hiring people, there is still very much an effort to talk to references in many cases. My husband’s references were contacted for a job he is interviewing for. Since that is the case, it’s often a good idea to make sure you have good references. And if you don’t have good references? Well, that’s when some people find hiring fake references attractive.

What do you think? Would you hire someone as a fake reference to help you get a job?

Published or updated August 14, 2013.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 krantcents

Lying and cheating has become the norm! Professional sports did not create it, instead they reflect society. This does not surprise me.


2 Troy

Never. If they find out, I’ll be in deep trouble. But then again, like krantcents said it’s becoming the norm these days.


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