Background Check Flags Educational Discrepancy on Wal-Mart Executive's Resume

By Michael Klazema on 9/22/2014

Need a reason to never lie on your resume? Look no further than a high-ranking Wal-Mart executive, who recently resigned from his position after a background check discovered that some of the information he had provided on his resume was inaccurate.

For the executive who resigned from his roles as Wal-Mart's Vice President in early September, the discrepancy came in the form of an academic fib. Based on the resume, he had graduated from the University of Delaware in 1996, with a Bachelor of Arts degree. A recent background check, however, determined that he had never graduated from the school, and therefore did not have a college degree at all.

He managed to last eight years with Wal-Mart and climb the company ladder significantly without the information about his false academic past coming out. However, when the 40-year-old executive was promoted in February of this year, it lead Wal-Mart to do a more extensive background check into his past than had been run before. These more detailed background checks are required for higher-up executive positions within the Wal-Mart corporation.

According to the investigation, hedid attend the University of Delaware but ultimately left the school without completing his academic studies or clearing all of the requirements necessary for graduation. Despite the incomplete degree, though, he was able to find high-profile jobs that given his recent resignation from Wal-Mart probably required a Bachelor's degree to apply. Before joining Wal-Mart in 2006, for instance, he had also worked with the Altria Group, a significant tobacco company.

In his letter of resignation, he did not bring up the academic discrepancies or the background check that found them, as his reason for departure. Instead, he merely wrote that he had loved his time at Wal-Mart, but was looking forward to new adventures.

Still, his story and the fact that it has reached national media is positive proof that lying on job applications or resumes is a mistake. Even if an initial employment background check doesn't uncover your untruthfulness, there is always a chance that it can still be revealed down the road by a repeat background check, and such discoveries can lose you your job and impact you negatively for years to come. It is far better to be upfront about the skills and credentials you do have, as well as the ones you lack. Employers almost always value honesty above all else, and while they might consider hiring someone without the impressive degree or job title you are thinking about adding, they will absolutely not hire a liar.


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