HR Strange But True!
September 05, 2008

Your Weirdest Résumé Lies

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about a survey that identified 10 of the most bizarre lies on résumés. We wanted to see if you and other readers have encountered even stranger stretches of the truth in the hiring process. Here's a look at the best responses.

Institutional Knowledge

"When I was phone screening a candidate for an hourly manufacturing position, he claimed he was a 'cook' at the Department of Corrections. I had to ask him several times if he was incarcerated, but he always sidestepped the question. I finally had to ask if he was able to leave the facility anytime he wanted or if he was required to return to a cell at the end of his shift before he admitted to being jailed! The same candidate also had the nerve to claim he had no convictions on his record." -- A reader who wished to remain anonymous

Three Applicants, One Social Security Number

"Hiring for a fast food restaurant in the late 1980s, we had three young men apply at the same time. My first assistant manager made the time to at least chat with the group of three as they visited the restaurant to turn in their applications. In a few minutes of chatting, he ended the pleasantries, as he found himself explaining to them that they could NOT all have the same social security number. That's right, three applications, delivered at the same time, one Social Security number among them." -- Anonymous

Oui, Je Parle Espagnol

"I was recruiting a bilingual (Spanish) candidate for a call center. The candidate stated that he was quite proficient in Spanish, having learned to speak the language after spending a great deal of time in Mexico. We brought him in to interview with me and a manager who was fluent in Spanish. She was to conduct part of the interview in Spanish to test the skills of the candidates as I do not speak the language. After she had asked a couple of questions, she stopped and looked at me kind of funny. I asked her what was wrong, and she looked at the candidate and me and stated that she didn't know what the applicant was speaking, but it wasn't Spanish. He finally admitted he didn't speak Spanish at all, but didn't think we would actually test him." -- Anonymous

We'll Put You on the Short List of Candidates

"I was hiring for a painting position and this 'gentleman' walked in with baggy shorts, an obscene T-shirt (naked couple), and flip-flops. I asked him some general questions and then painting-specific questions, which he answered. Suddenly, he stood up and said: 'What the h*** are you hiring for? It sounds like a (swear word) painting job' Yes, that is what you applied for, I said. He said, 'Well, that sucks, man--I don't do painting any more. That (another cuss word) wrecks your lungs.' He then walked in front of my desk, lost his shorts on the floor, and kept walking. I threw the shorts away. Probably should have kept them for a good laugh." -- Anonymous

That's One Way to Leave a Job

"Applicant's listed reason for leaving the last position: 'Deceased.'" -- Anonymous

Source: Our loyal and truth-finding readers >

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