No Degree, No Problem!

Guest Author: Brett Stevens

According to a recent survey, 52% of job candidates polled lied on their resume about having a college degree.

Here are 3 brief horror stories:

A new Director of Logistics and his family were actually loading the moving van provided by his new employer for relocation from California to North Carolina. The phone rang and it was the Human Resource Manager from his new company. The offer was being withdrawn. Through a routine degree verification check, the company learned the potential new employee did not have a degree. He was 3 hours short of graduating. Had the candidate been honest, the job was still his. It was an integrity issue.

Five candidates for a high level software sales job were interviewing. After the face to face interviews, the candidates were offered a “grace period” to revise their application. The company was aware of a problem with one candidate. The lead candidate changed his college degree information to “Did Not Graduate.” He was dropped from contention.

A candidate for a Vice President of Logistics position for a multi-billion/multi national company was offered the job. However, the background check could not verify the degree as listed on the resume. The stunned candidate said he could fix the problem. After one week, he called and faxed over the degree verification information. Only two blank pieces of paper came out of the fax. He said, “I must have faxed the wrong side.” The offer was rescinded the night before his start date because of the integrity issue. The company would have hired him if he had been honest about not having a degree. Offers withdrawn because of “no degree” are not because the lack of a college degree was a “deal breaker.”

The issue was that each of these high level managers misrepresented themselves on their resume and during the interview. As a search firm, we always encourage candidates to be upfront and candid about the information on the resume, including whether or not they have a college degree. Don’t try to hide it amongst several other educational courses you have taken. If you are hiring, ask the candidate directly. It’s amazing how many hiring managers “assumed” the candidate graduated. The most deceptive piece on a resume is: University of Any State, 1986-1990. Listing the years but not if they graduated. Common oversight. Most times, if the candidate has a solid background and the chemistry is strong with the organization, the company hires the person. Remember 70% of hiring is Chemistry. Degree isn’t the most important factor.

About the Author:

Brett Stevens is founder and President of The SearchLogix Group ( Brett has enjoyed remarkable success in the executive search business in the fields of Software Sales, Logistics, Supply Chain Management, Distribution, Warehousing, Transportation, Six Sigma, Technology, SEO, Affiliate Marketing, Database Marketing, eRetail and CRM. He has achieved the industry’s highest level of professional certification: Certified Senior Account Manager (CSAM). He has received numerous regional, national, and international awards through meeting the needs of his clients. He continues to achieve record breaking performance and has been nationally recognized for those results with The SearchLogix Group. Brett is a member of The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), formerly The Council of Logistics Management (CLM); The Association for Operations Management (APICS); The Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC), and The IIE (Institute of Industrial Engineers). He has been recognized in many trade and online magazines and is a notable guest speaker and most recently, Brett was recognized internationally by both the American Stroke Association (ASA) and the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) for his fundraising efforts. You can email Brett at or telephone him at 770-517-2660 x20.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

4 comments on “No Degree, No Problem!”

  1. Robert Reply

    In my field (I.T.), I’m finding it difficult to find a job that accepts candidates without a 4-year degree. It seems a 2-year degree is inferior while a Bachelor’s degree today is what a high school diploma was in the ’60s.

    I’ve thought about stretching the truth about my degree status, but after reading that, its not worth taking that chance.

  2. Sweet - aka Grace Kutney Reply

    It’s unfortunate that people are willing to gamble with their careers, and even worse – with their personal integrity. Is any job really worth destroying your professional reputation? I don’t think so!

  3. Barry Reply

    Why do candidates feel so comfortable to falsify their background – degrees, credentials, work experience, skills, etc?

    The primary reason is that most candidates know the employer will rarely check. Less than 1/3 of all my entrepreneurial clients (under $50 million in revenue) conduct a background check.

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