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“Watch What People Do, Not What They Say”

Why we Believe “Fake News” and “Alternative Facts”

We have been hearing and seeing in the news many comments and concerns about “Fake News.” & “Alternative Facts.” Many people believe that Donald Trump won the presidential election in part because of “Fake news” stories about Hillary Clinton.

If you have been in the employment business for any length of time, “Fake News” & “Alternative Facts” are old hat.  We call them resumes.

Busted Prominent Executives, Chefs and Educators

Scott Thompson, the former CEO of Yahoo lied on his resume about his education when he stated that he had a computer science degree from Stonehill College when he didn’t have one. BUSTED

British chef Robert Irving was fired from his own show on the Food Network’s Dinner Impossible when it was uncovered that he lied about making the Wedding Cake for Kate Middleton and Prince William when all he did was help pick the fruit used in the cake. BUSTED

Marilee Jones was at MIT for 28 years before the university realized that she never received the degrees she stated on her resume. In fact, Jones never received any college degrees.  When caught she said “did not have the courage to correct [her] resume when [she] applied for [her] current job or at any time since.” BUSTED

The Trouble with Resumes

The firm Hire Right released some interesting statistics that show how rampant resume fraud is in the United States. The numbers show that 80 percent of all resumes are misleading. 20 percent state fraudulent degrees. 30 percent show altered employment dates. 40 percent have inflated salary claims. 30 percent have inaccurate job descriptions. 25 percent listed companies that no longer exist. 27 percent gave falsified references; and these are only the people that got caught!

Alternative Facts

Had a client who obtained some disturbing information from and integrity survey as well as information that the candidate was answering questions in an inconsistent manner. The Client couldn’t believe that it was true, because the client knew the candidate’s family. The survey had to be wrong.

I suggested that the client talk to the candidate and share the client’s concerns. The client did so and the candidate had some well thought out reasons and excuses for the survey results that the client accepted and hired the candidate.

Three months later the candidate was terminated because of the reasons indicated on the integrity survey as well as other performance issues that were discovered but ignored in the selection process.

Watch What People Do, Not What They Say

“Fake News” or “Alternative Facts” succeed in politics and employment because people pay more attention to what people say rather then watching what they do. Very often hiring managers get caught up in the candidates marketing message rather than the factors necessary for effective job performance.

We are emotional beings. We like to believe that we make decisions based on facts. Research suggests that just the opposite occurs. We’ll use “alternative facts” or “fake news” to justify our decisions, a bad idea; in politics and in employment.


About the Author:

John McHugh is a hiring and talent management consultant who specializes in helping companies match the right person to the right situation the first time by using best practice assessment tools and hiring strategies.