I Call Bullshit

Last modified on April 14th, 2008

I have, over the course of my career, given a pile of interviews. One of the trends I’ve seen a lot in recent years is people who feel the need to lie or exaggerate on their resumes.

There’s nothing wrong with wording your experience in such a way to promote you a bit better, just so long as you don’t lie or stretch the truth to the point where it’s unbelievable. In fact, when I started in the realm of software development, I had basically zero real world experience in the area, and that was often looked as a complete detriment to me (even though I had been coding since I was about 15 years old). So in that case, I had to really stretch things a bit on my resume to make it look like I could handle a software engineering job. But the reality was I could back up what I wrote.

I gave an interview last year to this guy with a master’s degree who was applying for a job at our company. His resume seemed really impressive – he had a ton of journal publications, and seemed to know a lot in his field. So when I sat down with him, I began my usual binary search of his knowledge tree. First question I asked was for him to explain to me, in technical terms, what his last journal paper was about. He couldn’t do it. So I asked him to pick any paper he had written and go up to the whiteboard and describe to me what the point of the paper was. Same deal. So basically, he had either lied, or got his name on a bunch of papers he really knew nothing about.

I see that alot actually. I really don’t know how you can walk into a room knowing that you’re completely full of crap. Nobody is expected to know everything in an interview, and I give brownie points to people who simply say they are not sure when I ask them something, instead of pretending to know the answer.

Anyways, that’s enough ranting for now.