White Lies and Resumes

In it’s Weekend Edition last Saturday the WSJ reported in “Résumé Trips Up New Yahoo Chief” that Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson claimed to have a Computer Science degree from tiny Stonehill College that was actually a Business Administration major.  It reported that “one of Yahoo’s largest shareholders gave the company an ultimatum that Chief Executive Scott Thompson be fired by noon on Monday or the investor ‘will consider it grounds for further action’.”

I have seen this happen first hand a few times. Two individuals were fired because they lied about having a degree. One was close but one wasn’t in the ballpark (making it through your sophmore year is not graduating). Another completed coursework in all but one course where he got into the proverbial “pissing contest” with his professor. For whatever reason they argued over a final submission and the student had had enough and bailed. But he put a BS degree on the application for my position. This particular position was for a six-month contract and I was willing to let it slide as the university had corroborated his story, but my employer had hard and fast rules. However he did it, the individual got his professor to relent and agree to graduate him. However, the drama forever tainted him with me and all who knew about it.

There is no dispute that Thompson has a BS, just that it is in Business not CS.  Still, today ComputerWorld reported “Yahoo forms committee to investigate its CEO” and the WSJ said the Yahoo board member who ran the search committee that hired Thompson is stepping down.

So the moral of the story is don’t lie on your resume. Especially in the age of Google and especially with academic credentials.