James DeHoniesto may have considered it a small thing, just a fib really, to claim a degree in computer science from the University of Pittsburgh—he had, after all, taken classes there. But in November 2008, after the school told The Wall Street Journal that DeHoniesto had never earned a degree from Pitt, he resigned as chief information officer of Cabot Microelectronics, in Aurora, Ill.
Inaccuracies on a résumé—mistakes, embellishments, or outright lies—are shockingly common. According to Scott Viebranz of Kroll, a risk consultancy in New York City, more than 22 percent of the résumés the firm verified in 2007 for technology companies contained misrepresentations of academic credentials. And in dire economic times, ”people are more likely to fudge a little bit in an effort to get a job,” says Viebranz, who is chief sales officer in the firm’s background screening division. ”Given how tough the last half of 2008 was, I would expect our 2009 stats to reflect that.”