Who’s Managing Your Organization?


If the name George Santos doesn’t ring a bell, then you’ve been in a sleep to match that of Rip Van Winkle or literally shutting out all of the news.

For those who fall into one of these categories, George Santos is a recent member of the House of Representatives from New York who was elected in the mid-term elections.



As it turns out, in order to get elected the story he told voters about his life is a complete and total lie.

Not content to lie about his employment history, he lied about his education, religion, family background, sexual orientation, criminal history, charity work, and yes, possibly even his name.

Yet, neither political party did enough of a background check to find any of this, and today, he remains an elected member of Congress.



Given that this is a business blog, you’re saying to yourself: What does that have to do with my business? He’s a politician. Politicians lie! What’s the big deal?

The big deal is that while Congressman Santos is the latest political liar, people lie in business and that can affect companies large and small.

It turns out that Brian Williams, a respected NBC news anchor, told the lie for twelve years about being forced down by RPG fire while on a helicopter in Iraq.

When the truth of the fabrication came to light, Mr. Williams lost his network anchor position and NBC lost the number 1 network news position.



In another case, right out of the TV show, Suits, Brian Valery became an attorney for the law firm Anderson, Kill & Olick, claiming to having passed the bar despite having never even been to law school.

After representing 50 clients and charging over $300 per hour, Andersen, Kill and Olick was forced to negotiate settlements with those falsely represented. Valery lost his job and was sentenced to five years’ probation for impersonating a lawyer.

Mr. David Edmondson lied about two degrees on his resume to secure the position as CEO of Radio Shack. He claimed to have two degrees from Pacific Coast Baptist College. Neither degree was true, and he was asked to resign.

Ronald Zarrella served as CEO of Bausch & Lomb for eleven months when it was discovered that he did not have the MBA from New York University that was on his resume. Despite the news sending the shares of the company down in heavy trading, the company stood by their CEO based on his proven management skills. Lucky!

Other people who have lied about their backgrounds have held titles such as CEO of Yahoo, Dean of Admissions at MIT, CFO of Veritas Software, President of IBM’s Lotus Development Corp.

For those working outside the political world, the ramification for resume lies is often swift and absolute, labor experts say. An article in the Chicago Tribune outlines some interesting facts.



Most companies have some type of policy that says falsification of documentation is grounds for termination.

And yet, according to a survey conducted by StandOut CV in the Fall of 2022, more than 50% of Americans have fattened up their resumes at least once, with most lying about previous work experience, skills, college degree and personal details.

Yet the experts often disagree on the impact of falsehoods on both the candidate and the ability to do the job.

A former recruiter says that most falsehoods are really “embellishments” such as adding the word “proficient” to a skill on a resume where the applicant is not. And this type of subtlety is why many companies fail to notice.

Typically, most people don’t lie about where they went to school or what degree they have.



Those are bigger than a white lie and they understand the liability behind that. Another expert states: “It would surprise me that people would do that now because it is so easy to Google somebody or run a background check and find these things out.”

For most employers taking candidates at face value is second nature. With multiple, urgent roles to fill, tons of resumes to go through, and dozens of interviews to schedule, you don’t always have the time to dig into a candidate’s background as thoroughly as you would like.

Most of the time, this isn’t a problem–the majority of candidates are honest, upstanding people just trying to find the right opportunity.

But occasionally, you will find a bad actor who chooses to exaggerate or even flat-out lie about their experience in order to get the job they want. If hired, the consequences can be disastrous.

Replacing an employee, especially a senior employee, even if they’ve only been there for a short amount of time–is time-consuming, expensive, and tedious, not to mention embarrassing.



So, the next time you have an interview with a candidate that seems too good to be true, make it a priority to check for these signs that a candidate is lying or exaggerating.

1. Their answers are vague or unrelated.
2. Their body language gives them away.
3. They lean too heavily on group accomplishments.
4. They get defensive.
5. Their background and skills don’t pass the sniff test.

Despite the urgency of the hiring process in today’s environment, it’s important to go through the hiring process with deliberation. Above all, check references and check the references of references.

Check social media, all social media, not just Google.

Be prepared to give skills tests and for creative positions such as advertising and promotion ask for and discuss past work portfolios.

Remember, George Santos is only one of 541 members of Congress. But your next hire could have a major impact on your company. Take the time and choose well.

Revitalization Partners specializes in improving the operational and financial results of companies and providing hands-on expertise in virtually every circumstance, with a focus on small and mid-market organizations. Whether your requirement is Interim Management, a Business Assessment, Revitalization and Reengineering, a State Receivership or Bankruptcy Support, we focus on giving you the best resolution in the fastest time with the highest possible return.

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Over the years, through our many assignments, the Principals of Revitalization Partners frequently said to ourselves: “One day, we should write a book about our work and how we can help companies through our experiences.” This is that book and we hope that you find words of value to you and your business.

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