Fake resumes hack: The BS-sniffer

person delivers fake resume

Fake resumes hack: The BS-sniffer

Remember “Bob” – that Salesforce.com architect you just brought on through a staffing firm that charged you 75-80% of what Vivo and others might charge? Right. You remember Bob. So do I.

Bob’s a fraud. You may not know it yet. After all, you’re still in the thick of HR paperwork and onboarding.

Bob looked great on paper and seemed to interview well, reciting a series of examples of his work by rote memorization during the interviews he had with Vivo and later with you (after Slimy Staffing sent him your way). It’s not your fault (this time) that “Bob” is a fraud, but it is going to be your problem when you realize hiring him was a colossal waste of your time, money, and productivity.

When I saw Bob’s resume a few weeks ago, I was somewhat intrigued; his skillset and experience seemed to reflect the kind of implementation and configuration experience someone in need of a Salesforce.com architect would want. But my recruiting staff and I are BS bloodhounds. We can sniff out a fake resume in a matter of seconds. After that, all it takes is some cleverly phrased questions in a short call to yield the empty responses we expect from “Bob” before we send him packing.

Part of Vivo’s service to the companies we represent is weeding the Bobs out of the pack, not even including them for our clients’ consideration. Sometimes it’s hard sell, though, when agencies like Slimy Staffing are offering up Bob, whose resume looks a lot like Laura’s, but whom the agency can give to the employer for 20% less than I can offer Laura.

Meanwhile, “Laura” not only looks good on paper, she can speak meaningfully and anecdotally about the kind of work she’s done and how it can meet or exceed the employer’s needs. She asked questions of my recruiting staff that showed she understood the nuances of the work she’d be doing for the employer. She was so good that, by the time Bob finishes his first month at the other employer and they discovered he’s a fake, Laura will be three weeks into a Salesforce.com architect role somewhere else. Not only will the first employer lose time and money, but Vivo might have lost a deal.

So stop it, Slimy Staffing agencies. Stop wasting my time and stop wasting my clients’ time. Never mind that the legal geek in me knows that winning business by lying is an unfair business practice under California law; I simply don’t have the time or inclination to deal with liars. Neither do most employers.  Employers, next time you suspect a fake resume, your instincts are probably spot-on. Send it my way and I’ll tell you in five minutes what the candidate is going to say during their first phone interview. I’ll also tell you how much you’re going to lose if you pay less for “Bob” only to have to restart your search.

Vivo is here to help companies save time and money while meeting their immediate needs. We get people. We also get BS. We sift through that BS to become matchmakers, hooking up our clients with fully prescreened talent that can actually do the work they’re hired to do. Sure, we may have to look at 20 amazing-looking resumes to find one person that is both qualified and honest, but that’s part of our job.

And while we don’t like losing deals to jobs that go to “Bob” and friends, we don’t take it personally that an employer might mistakenly go with Slimy Agency from time to time. We’ll still be here. You’ll find us in front of the pile of BS resumes you didn’t want to have to dig through on your own.


Marilyn Weinstein is Vivo’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, responsible for overall strategy and business growth and development. Prior to starting iTalent Solutions in 2006—the successful effort which paved the way for Vivo’s launch in 2009—Marilyn was Vice President and General Counsel for AlphaSoft Services Corp., where she served on the company’s Executive Team for over seven years. She helped AlphaSoft grow from a start up to a $50 million per year, multi-office success story.