If You Are Lying – You Will Get Caught!

Honesty and integrity – two major attributes that a candidate and a search consultant must have to begin working together. It’s an unspoken bond that is formed during the search process. Right? That’s just the way it works. Trust means your word and that’s everything. It’s who you are and represents the very fabric of your being. Integrity means doing the right thing every time regardless of the consequences. Seems fair? Right?

Well – maybe not.

I see more lies and fabrications when vetting candidates than I care to admit. Omissions or “holes” in the resume are often (by design) hiding factual knowledge a candidate wants to keep as their own little dirty secret, such as a job they once had that they would just like to forget about. Sorry. You can’t. That’s not the way it works. Nope. Not now – not ever! Period.

It makes no difference what you are trying to hide. If you falsify your resume and omit factual data about your career, sooner or later it will catch up with you. Let’s face it. That’s lying and you WILL get caught. Especially in Healthcare IT. While Healthcare IT is still a cottage industry by some standards, 2-3 degrees of separation is usually more than enough to find someone who knows someone – who knows you. And eventually someone will connect the dots. And when they do, it will be ugly. Count on it.

So if you plan to participate in the HCIT talent tsunami that will surely hit the market in high tide during the next few months you need to have a clean slate. You want to stay gainfully employed, and when you find yourself in a search and you are not sure how to declare all of the facts regarding your resume, put all of your cards on the table. And I do mean all of your cards. If you choose otherwise, eventually you will get caught and could risk possible termination, not to mention tarnishing your name in this very small industry. This could create a whole different set of really bad circumstances. Trust me, you don’t want to go there.

We’ve all made mistakes, worked for an awful organization or a toxic manager. I get that. However, you should tell it like it is, and avoid the cover-up. Usually, you can explain a bad move in your resume. Some of the best candidates I have ever placed have a mulligan somewhere in their career. It’s OK. Just don’t lie about it.

If you do – I will catch you. I promise. And if I don’t someone else will.

It’s just not worth it.

About the author


Tim Tolan

Tim Tolan is the Senior Partner of the Healthcare IT and Services Practice of Sanford Rose Associates. He has conducted searches for CEOs, presidents, senior vice presidents, vice presidents of business development, product development and sales. Tim is also the co-author of "The CEO’s Guide to Talent Acquisition – Finding Talent Your Competitors Overlook," available on Amazon.


  • Hi Tim – Great post, I love it and could not agree more! I am working on a post for next week on honesty in the performance review process. Anyway you slice it, honesty is the best (only successful) policy!

  • Joe:

    Thanks and welcome to the HITT Squad! Lying never pays and we work in a market where most fibs can come back to bite the one spouting off the tall tale. It never ceases to amaze me why people go down that track. Bad move.

  • Tim – Great article. My favorite question to ask: ‘Tell me about a project or deliverable that you were responsible for where you did not deliver. Why did it happen, what did you do about it and what did you learn from the experience?’

    I am still amazed at the number of people that respond that they have either never missed a deliverable, not even a homework assignment in grade school or if they did, it was someone else’s fault.. Beyond the obvious challenges of honesty and integrity, if I am interviewing them, how do I fill the remaining 30 to 45 minutes of the interview period…
    Add to that equation the limited degrees of separation you mentioned and you wonder if people really think it through before they speak.

    I may not be proud of the mistakes I have made, but I have learned from every failure or misstep I have made. I also know that there is no way, in this tight community, that anyone can hide from their mistakes for any length of time. Acknowledge them, learn from them and grow.

    Great work. Keep it coming.


  • Gary:

    Great question! And… you are correct that once you determine a candidate feels they have NO faults, there is not much else to discuss. Trust me (like you said) we all have made mistakes and have career warts. Sooner or later the viel will thin for these perfect candidates and the truth will come out. Thanks for your post Gary!

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