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Talking Yourself up Can Cost you More than a Job!

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by Lisa Johnson

20 days ago

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There is a case before the courts at the moment which will be most interesting to those of you who may be tempted to ‘pad’ out your resume and exaggerate your experience when applying for a new job.

This case is about a guy who was employed as a salesperson based upon his resume / and assertions that he had significant relevant experience and appropriate industry contacts for the position.  As a result of his claims, the employer offered him a higher salary and paid a very impressive fee to a recruitment agency.

However, after taking the job, it is alleged, the salesperson could only convert inbound sales leads, had no connections that resulted in sales, did not demonstrate sufficient experience or technical knowledge and did not achieve targets.  So the employer dismissed him after five months.

The salesperson then lodged a general protections claim against the employer and the employer cross claimed – arguing that the salesperson had engaged in ‘misleading and deceptive, or likely to mislead’ conduct.  The employer is suing the ex-employee for $450,000 which includes the recruitment fee they paid to the recruiter and their estimation of lost sales.

Now this is still before the courts and I have no idea who is going to come out on top of this one, but to be honest, for my cautionary tale – it’s almost irrelevant because, the moral of my story is and hypothetically…be very careful if you exaggerate your resume (and there is no suggestion that that is the case here).  Because employers can absolutely take legal action against you if it turns out you cannot do the job you claimed you could.

It’s an eternal truth in recruitment that candidates (generally) talk themselves up on their resumes, and will try to do the same in an interview.  Our job is to try and ascertain the veracity of your claims, but of course, it’s entirely possible to pull the wool over ours and the employer’s eyes.

And a lot of people get away with it.  When most employers realise they have hired the wrong person and that they don’t have the skills they need to actually do the role, they quietly dismiss them and go back to market.  Then the employer has to be very careful if they are ever asked to provide a reference for the previous employee, sometimes for fear of being sued for breach of confidentiality or providing a misleading reference, they simply tell people that they do not provide references for previous employees.  And the employee is free to move back into the market, continue to provide misleading information about their experience and take a new job.

But this case shows that employers have had enough and that they are quite prepared to take you to court and sue you for large sums of cash if they feel you have behaved in a deceptive manner (allegedly).  So it’s time to stop talking yourself up and hoping you get away with it…because it may cost you a lot more than just a job!

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