These People Completely Lied On Their Job Applications And Paid The Price

September 30, 2019

One of the worst times in my life? Trying to find a job fresh out of college, right around the time of the market crash. The people who were hiring had more than a few reservations about hiring a communications major with no job experience outside of retail work. And even those glowing recommendations from past professors were a tough sell. If your resume is lacking, it’s tough to find ways to stand out when the competition is tight.

It’s not the best practice in the world, but in desperate times, people tell a few resume lies to make themselves look more impressive. Maybe they fudge the information about their skills, figuring they can learn everything upon accepting the position. Or perhaps they claim to work at a job much longer than they truly did. And if there were any questionable firings? Those dismissals might not make the list.

Of course, these resume lies can often backfire. It’s tough to tell whether or not a future employer will fact-check a resume or ask telling interview questions before offering you the job. Also, if you say you exaggerate about being proficient in Microsoft Excel, and the job requires actual Excel know-how, you’re signing yourself up for unnecessary work stress. You may not even make it past your three month probation period.

Here are a few people who told what they thought were innocent resume lies.

And they quickly came to regret their decisions.

1. The Guitar Master

Redditor /u/Hoffur noted:
I put a trivial lie on my resume. I took guitar lessons for 2-3 years, starting when I was like 6 years old. When interviewing for my current job in 1997, I had on my resume that I played guitar.

But here’s the kicker…

I hadn’t actually played guitar in over 15 years.

Someone should have told them childhood skills don’t count.

One guy that interviewed me was very much into guitar and started asking me questions about it. I worked very hard to change the subject, which thankfully he went with.

2. The Faux Animator

From Redditor /u/heekma:

I graduated with a degree in Journalism, but while taking video editing classes I became interested in After Effects and animation in general, so I learned After Effects on the side.

One of the first jobs I applied for was a 3D animator position. I figured if I could learn After Effects I could learn a 3D application…

But they figured wrong.

They asked me if I knew 3d Studio Max, to which I replied, “Oh sure. I’m not an expert, but I took a few classes in college.”

I had never seen or even heard of that application before. If you’re not familiar with applications like 3d Studio or Maya (which I also later learned) they are so vast, deep and complex that it easily takes five to ten years to use them with competence, and even more than that to even begin to master the software (which is next to impossible),

“And that’s not counting the render engines, scripting and supplemental applications needed along the way.”

For nearly a year, after everyone went home from work I would stay until nearly midnight going through tutorials. I would come in on the weekends for 8-10 hours per day.

3. Language Barrier

From Redditor /u/rhymes_with_chicken:

I said I spoke Spanish. They never asked about the fluently part in the interview. They asked how long I had been speaking and I said since 7th grade (which is technically true because that’s when I took my first class). And, then I had kitchen jobs all through high school and university.

What did they really speak, though?

So, I spoke really good Kitchen Spanish – which is to say I could order food and tell the cooks how to prepare it, and generally insult their brothers and sexually proposition their sisters, even if not strictly gramatically correctly.

And the truth soon came out.

So, I got hired. We were a graphic design house in the early 90s in Texas and we had a single Mexican account…

As you might imagine, this poster had to scramble when it came to “talk” to the Spanish-speaking client.

4. A Hot-Dog Miscalculation

From Redditor /u/childishinquiry:

I applied for the college program at Disney and you get a catch-all phone interview for every department you express interest in. I expressed interest in almost everything, cause I was like, increases my chances, right?

If only we could have told them…

And I acted like I was this badass that could handle anything in the phone interview. I was assigned to the hot dog restaurant on Main Street. And no, I could not handle anything.

For some reason, we’re not surprised.

5. The Guy Who Couldn’t Stop Faking It

From Redditor /u/UnexplainedIncome:

I served on a jury where the defendant was a government engineer. Turned out his whole resume was a fraud. The university he claimed to have graduated from didn’t exist. The investigator talked about how its web page was fake, the address listed on it was someone’s house, and some evidence… suggested the defendant had made the site. The defendant said something about how he couldn’t register an .edu as an individual… Yeah, I checked later, the site was a .org. The guy was basically just a fountain of lies.

He wasn’t completely unwise, though.

The thing is, his supervisor, who hired him, had never investigated anything in his resume before hiring him. Apparently, despite having no training in anything related to the job, he was actually good at the job.

And that’s a shock.

The dude was on trial for something completely unrelated to his job. None of this would have come out if he hadn’t lied about something else and been caught.

He couldn’t leave well enough alone.

If he’d been able to just stop lying once he’d gotten his reasonably cushy job secured, lying on his resume would have paid off quite well for him. But I guess that’s where trust comes in. People who are gonna do this (particularly someone who’s gonna lie about something trivial, like your guy) just DON’T FUCKING STOP. If they see an opportunity for dishonesty to give them an advantage later, they’re gonna take it, and you can’t count on them having enough conscience to care if it hurts someone else.

6. An Entire Interview In Swahili

From Redditor /u/Freeiheit:

Not me, but I knew a guy in law school who claimed he was fluent in Swahili. He’d taken a year or two of it in undergrad but was by no means fluent.

So what does he do?

He applies for a position and as luck would have it the guy who conducted the interview was fluent in Swahili. And conducted the entire interview in Swahili. Needless to say he didn’t get the job.

7. The Disgraced CEO

From Redditor /u/hangry_boii:

Not me but a family-friend growing up. He had just been hired as CEO of a multi-million dollar company when it was discovered that he lied about being on the tennis team in college.

So how’d he get caught?

His college didn’t have a tennis team until 6 years after he graduated. He was immediately fired.

And why such a serious reaction?

Crazy how little that would have mattered in terms of his qualifications for the job, it was just the fact that he lied.

8. The Bartender Who Never Bartended A Day In His Life

From Redditor /u/Strobeezy:

I lied about being a bartender. Said I worked at all kinds of restaurants around Australia figuring they wouldn’t fact check me from the U.S. All jobs give you a little training to get familiar with what is going on so I just had to be focused and learn very quickly.

Focus can help you manage any job, but some things will always be out of your control.

They would ask me to make pretty basic drinks and if I didn’t have time to google it without them seeing I would just say, “How do you make yours? I want to keep the drinks consistent for the regulars”

This hack helped a bit.

They would show me and I would write it down. Eventually I was on my own on a Friday night and oh man was it tough.

9. The Guy Who Was Also His References

From Redditor /u/aghastalpacas:

Lied about previous experience. Every job needs experience now and without it you’d just have to work a while for free and I can’t pay rent in charitable contributions straight out of school.

We feel for this poster.

Luckily they didn’t do checks (even-though they said they would and I supplied a few spare numbers and created emails for them), and I’m still doing pretty well at my job.

And what job can afford not to do checks?

I mean it’s retail, it’s not like anyone’s life is on the line.

10. The Excel Wizard

From Redditor /u/sh*tz_brickz:

I worked with a guy who clearly lied about having excel experience. It was discovered in the first 10min of training when he started asking how to make very basic updates to cells.

How long did he keep the job?

He lasted 5 weeks which was 5 weeks too long.

11. The Coworker Who Made A Big Impression

From Redditor /u/fwooby_pwow:

I didn’t, but my coworker lied about how much programming experience he had. It was about two weeks before my boss caught on and fired him.

How’d this genius get caught?

Dude had spent over a week working on a project that should’ve taken him a day.

12. The French Conversationalist

From Redditor /u/Breninnog:

I put I was able to speak French in my CV at the start. Wasn’t a problem until I was interviewed by someone who spoke fluent French when I’d just barely passed it in school.

Haven’t lied on my CV since, just fluffed it.

13. The Guy Who Didn’t Realize How Hard It Is To Work As A Cook

From Redditor /u/DrHotballs:

I with a bunch of luck I had a pretty solid line cook resume in nice restaurants by the time I was halfway through college. When my brother got out of jail my junior year he moved to my college town and applied to a bunch of restaurants using that resume/experience.

But cooking for others is hardly an easy job.

He got a job at the prototypical college breakfast place. I don’t think he made it through even one weekend.

Why did the brother fail so badly?

He was “so surprised” how hard it was cooking a shitload of eggs and potatoes on those hangover/brunch days haha

14. The At-Any-Cost Raise

From Redditor /u/idoyogasometimes:

I wanted to make a career change into data science but never took the time to learn any query languages (I was going to get to it eventually). Then a data science/statistician job opened in my agency for 40% more pay than what I was making at the time.

So what did he do?

I applied for it, and wrote in my resume that I had completed some e-learning courses on various query languages – but I told myself I would do it very soon. I didn’t even think I’d get the interview and long story short I got the job without ever learning those query languages.

15. The Plane-Painter

From Redditor /u/Bmw-invader:

Straight out of high school lied about knowing how to work with aeronautic composites and how to paint planes. Got the job and they quickly found out I knew nothing about repairing airplanes.

This was a pretty bold lie, but it wasn’t all bad for him in the beginning.

So I was made a prep guy. All I did was prepare airplane parts to be painted or sometimes I would spray flame retardant material on finished parts. Was let go after a year.

16. The Obvious Lie

From Redditor /u/thebromitch:

I said I could speak Croatian cuz I know a few inappropriate phrases, and the interviewer turned out to be Croatian. It didn’t last long