With my sincere appreciation to Joey F. George, Professor & the John D. DeVries Endowed Chair in Business, Iowa State University for today's guest post contribution:
Research shows that deception is a common part of everyday communication. In fact, up to one-third of our daily communication may be dishonest. This dishonesty is also a standard part of looking for a job. Anywhere from 40% to 70% of résumés contain untrue information. While being dishonest may actually help people find jobs, the results are predictable when these dishonest people are caught. Many are publicly exposed and then fired, or they resign after the resulting scandal. Some of the best known cases include George O’Leary, who was fired in 2001 after one week as the football coach at Notre Dame, once his deceptive résumé came to light. In 2007, Marilee Jones, the Dean of Admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, resigned when fictitious degrees on her résumé were revealed. More recently, in 2011, Tom Williams, the football coach at Yale, was fired for an inaccurate résumé.
Aside from getting caught, and the moral and religious issues that come with deception, there are other reasons for keeping a job search honest. In our research, we are searching for ways to improve our ability to detect deception. Using a training program based on educating people about cues to deception, we have increased their ability to detect dishonesty. We have learned that certain combinations of communication media and interview tactics can lead to improved deception detection. We have also discovered that, in interviews of dishonest people that were conducted online, interviewers using email noticed things that telephone interviewers did not. These things the email interviewers noticed led them to believe the people they interviewed were not very credible. Our research, and that of other prominent scholars, has shown it is easier to detect deception in people who lack credence than in people who seem credible.
The bottom line is that dishonesty in a job search is risky. If caught, the consequences can be severe, both during the search process and after starting the job. Researchers are continually trying to find ways to better detect deception, especially in the search process. Both employees and employers want to avoid the embarrassment and costs associated with hiring a dishonest person.