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BY LAURA MORSCH, CAREERBUILDER.COM

LOTS OF PEOPLE HAVE DONE IT: FUDGE THEIR LAST SALARIES, INFLATE THEIR JOB TITLES A LITTLE, OR EVER-SO-SLIGHTLY LENGTHEN THEIR EMPLOYMENT DATES TO COVER UP THAT YEAR THEY WERE OUT OF WORK.

"SEVEN OUT OF EVERY 10 BACKGROUNDS WE SCREEN HAS SOME KIND OF EMBELLISHMENT ON THEIR R�UM�" SAYS MARCO CONFUORTO, DIRECTOR OF THE BACKGROUND INVESTIGATIONS DIVISION OF UNITED RISK PARTNERS, A COMPANY THAT PERFORMS BACKGROUND CHECKS ON JOB CANDIDATES FOR EMPLOYERS.

SOME PEOPLE WHO TELL LITTLE WHITE LIES DURING THE JOB SEARCH PROCESS DO SO TO GET AN INTERVIEW. OTHERS HOPE THEY'LL SNAG A HIGHER SALARY. AND MOST THINK THEY WON'T GET CAUGHT. THEY'RE WRONG.

PEOPLE WHO LIE ON THEIR JOB APPLICATIONS OR R�UM� OFTEN GET NAILED DURING THE BACKGROUND CHECK, CONFUORTO SAYS. IN MANY CASES, THE JOB OFFER HAS ALREADY BEEN EXTENDED, AND THEIR BACKGROUND CHECK CAUSES THE CANDIDATE TO LOSE THE JOB.

WHAT'S THE HARM?

TELLING A LITTLE LIE GIVES EMPLOYERS A TERRIBLE IMPRESSION OF YOU, EXPERTS SAY. NO MATTER HOW GOOD YOUR INTENTIONS MAY BE, FIBBING ON YOUR R�UM�IMPLIES THAT YOU'RE UNTRUSTWORTHY.

"IF A CANDIDATE IS WILLING TO STRETCH THE TRUTH ON A SINGLE FACT ON HIS OR HER R�UM� WHAT ELSE IS HE OR SHE NOT BEING TRUTHFUL ABOUT?" SAYS LONNIE PACELLI, AUTHOR OF "THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT ADVISOR: 18 MAJOR PROJECT SCREW-UPS AND HOW TO CUT THEM OFF AT THE PASS" (PRENTICE HALL). "HAVING YOUR INTEGRITY QUESTIONED BY THE INTERVIEWER IS PRETTY MUCH YOUR ONE-WAY TICKET HOME."

KATHLEEN RICH-NEW, PRESIDENT OF CLARITY WORKS! CONSULTING, SAYS EMPLOYERS SEE A LIE IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS AS A HUGE RED FLAG.

"LYING IS NOT CONFINED TO ONE AREA OF AN EMPLOYEE'S LIFE," SHE SAYS. "THE REALITY IS WE SHOW WHO WE ARE BY OUR BEHAVIOR, AND WE REPEAT OUR BEHAVIOR."

FIBBING ON YOUR R�UM�ALSO RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR COMPETENCY. "BOGUS CLAIMS WILL CAUSE A POTENTIAL EMPLOYER TO QUESTION WHETHER YOU POSSESS THE SKILLS REQUIRED TO PERFORM THE JOB," PACELLI SAYS.

LYING HURTS LATER, TOO.

SO YOUR LIE DIDN'T GET NOTICED DURING THE HIRING PROCESS? YOU'RE NOT IN THE CLEAR YET. WHEN YOU OVERSELL YOUR CAPABILITIES, EMPLOYERS EXPECT YOU TO HAVE MORE KNOWLEDGE OR EXPERIENCE THAN YOU REALLY DO.

"WHEN THE EXPECTATION LEVEL ISN'T MET, A GOOD MANAGER WILL START ASKING QUESTIONS, WHICH MAY INCLUDE RE-CHECKING REFERENCES AND EDUCATIONAL CREDENTIALS," PACELLI SAYS.

HE SAYS IF YOUR REFERENCES DON'T CHECK OUT, YOU "...COULD FACE DEMOTION, PRIVATE TERMINATION OR IF THE POSITION IS HIGH-PROFILE, A VERY PUBLIC TERMINATION WHICH FOREVER TARNISHES THE EMPLOYEE'S REPUTATION.

GOTCHA!

THESE JOB SEEKERS THOUGHT THEY WERE BEING SNEAKY... UNTIL THEY WERE CAUGHT RED-HANDED

ONE LOWER-LEVEL JANITORIAL JOB CANDIDATE'S R�UM�STATED HE WAS PART OF THE MAINTENANCE CREW FOR THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS. WHEN CONFUORTO RAN A BACKGROUND CHECK, HE DISCOVERED THE CANDIDATE HAD LEFT OUT ONE CRUCIAL DETAIL: HE WAS AN INMATECONFUORTO ALSO RECALLS CHECKING OUT ONE CANDIDATE'S GLOWING REFERENCE. IT TURNED OUT THE "REFERENCE" WAS THE CANDIDATE HIMSELF.WHEN A WOMAN APPLYING TO A STARTUP COMPANY FIBBED ABOUT BEING A MARKETING VP AT U.S. ROBOTICS, SHE GOT REALLY, REALLY UNLUCKY. HUMAN RESOURCES LEADERSHIP VETERAN LIZ RYAN WAS HELPING THE STARTUP SCREEN CANDIDATES -- AND SHE HAPPENED KNOW ALL OF THE LEADERSHIP AT U.S. ROBOTICS BECAUSE SHE WAS CURRENTLY THEIR HR EXECUTIVE.AN ABSENT-MINDED APPLICANT SENT HER R�UM�TO NRG STAFFING FIRM IN OKLAHOMA FOR THE SECOND TIME IN THREE YEARS. SHERRI STINSON SMITH, THE FIRM'S OWNER, RECOGNIZED THE APPLICANT'S NAME AND PULLED HER OLD FILE AND R�UM� DISCOVERING THE CANDIDATE HAD "UPGRADED" ALL OF THE TITLES FROM HER PREVIOUS JOBS AND FALSELY CLAIMED TO HAVE WORKED WITH SMITH'S COMPANY ON TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENTS.