I am currently employed by company ABC to be vendor employee for XYZ. During my interview process, I listed company XYZ as my employer with a false job title on my initial electronic application and resume in order to increase my chance getting job interviews using XYZ's brand name. I would just briefly mention that in my interviews to the interviewing hiring manager. HR didn't know since I have never gotten on the call with them for them to verify my background. If offered a position, what I provided in the background check is different from my initial electronic application and resume, would that hurt my chance getting the job?

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    Do you get job offers after interviews in which you admit to lying on your application and resume? – Patricia Shanahan Sep 20 '16 at 2:59
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    Lying on paper is still lying. – Philip Kendall Sep 20 '16 at 5:49
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    Here's the problem. The interviewer knows you are willing, under some circumstances, to make deliberately false statements to gain an advantage. You have come clean about an easily checkable fact. How does the interviewer know the truth of less easily checkable statements you have made in the application, the resume, or the interview? – Patricia Shanahan Sep 20 '16 at 6:30
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    " I listed company XYZ as my employer with a false job title" - so you lied. "would that hurt my chance getting the job?" - of course! – WorkerDrone Sep 20 '16 at 11:35
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    If someone told me he falsified a resume to improve his chances of getting an interview, the decision not to hire would be made at that point. A company that would continue with the hiring process after that interview is likely a company that would expect unethical behavior as a matter of course. – HLGEM Sep 20 '16 at 22:14

Lying -- and not making this clear, especially given the false job title, can be considered lying -- will almost certainly mean you don't get the job.

If you're very lucky they'll give you a chance to explain yourself. But this is a very bad basis on which to start a business relationship.

Next time, don't try to get clever. You may say that you were working on an assignment to a Big Name Company, and you can say what kinds of work you were doing for them (subject to non-disclosure agreements), but if they are not your employer don't say they are -- because they will say they aren't.

  • I am actually honest in the actual interviews to tell hiring manager that I work for company ABC as a consultant to Company XYZ. I was just trying to trick the application system to get past electronic screening. Maybe I need to relax... – LookingForAnAnswer Sep 20 '16 at 2:46
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    It's likely that whoever tries to verify your employment will only have the resume to work from, not a transcript of the interview. They will only know to call XYZ, who will say they've never heard of you. If you are extremely lucky they will then ask the interviewing manager, or ask you, why this happened. If you aren't, they'll just toss you into the discard pile. Next time don't try to trick the system. "The object of the game is to be as honest as the law allows." – keshlam Sep 20 '16 at 2:49
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    "Actually honest in the actual interviews" but still lying on paper. Why not just list company ABC as your employer and stating in the description you were a consultant for XYZ (but on behalf of ABC)? That way you're speaking the truth and still showing you were executing tasks for XYZ. – Luchadora Sep 20 '16 at 9:25
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    @LookingForAnAnswer - trying to trick the application system by lying was a mistake. – WorkerDrone Sep 20 '16 at 13:01
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    " I was just trying to trick the application system to get past electronic screening." I wouldn't hire you. – user41891 Sep 20 '16 at 13:52

You can be fired years later after being hired for this kind of lying if it is found out. What you did was seriously wrong and no reputable company will hire someone if they find out.

You can't salvage the problem at places where you have already lied. The background check will fail. So your best bet is to remove yourself from consideration for those jobs. This is the absolute best thing you can do to salvage your reputation. Once you fail that background check, then people in your industry will know you are a liar and the word will get out to their other friends in the industry. Again, what you have done is seriously wrong, you cannot salvage the situation now at those companies.

Then fix you resume so that you lie about nothing. Not fudging dates, not giving yourself a title that HR at that company will not recognize and certainly not lying about who your employer actually was. No fake educational credentials either.

If you worked as a consultant for one company and were assigned to another more famous company handle it in your resume something like:

Jan 2016-Sept 2016 - Senior Dev at XYZ Corp. Worked onsite at ABC Corp and duties included....


I'd like to start out by saying I'm an ethical person. I don't personally condone unethical behavior.

Lying for personal gain is almost always considered unethical. If you want to have a good reputation professionally, you simply must be able to ethically justify every decision you've made. I can not imagine a scenario where you could ethically justify the decision to lie, which will definitely hurt your chances of getting a job assuming you're going to work for ethical people.

However, not all people are ethical. Some people have no qualms about hiring someone who is willing to breach ethics to achieve a desired result. They may see this as a good quality - especially since they can use this to gain an edge on competitors. But there's a catch: they have to always have the appearance of having a high ethical standard. If you could do something unethical that has little to no chance of coming back to you, they would expect you to use that. But if you do something unethical that is trivially easy to debunk, they'd see you as a liability, not an asset.

So let's review the possible situations

  • If the people trying to hire you are ethical
    • Then they will find your behavior unethical and this will hurt (kill?) your chances.
  • If the people trying to hire you are unethical
    • Then they will find your behavior reckless and this will hurt (kill?) your chances.
  • If the people trying to hire you never find out
    • Then you got away with it, but do you really want to work for someone that didn't catch something so easy? How many other frauds are you working with there?

Either way, I'd start preparing a new resume straight away and start applying yourself in a more ethical manner going forward.

  • Or if the people who are hiring are unethical, they will like that you are too and hire you and then ask you do do illegal and unethical things. – HLGEM Mar 9 '17 at 16:57

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