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Another kind of inflation rising in 2024: Resume Inflation

When we think about inflation, we usually consider the rising costs of groceries, gas, and other living expenses. But in 2024, there’s another inflation on the rise: resume inflation.

The backdrop

Resume inflation includes embellishing work history, inventing degrees, or adding honors to educational backgrounds on both resumes and LinkedIn profiles. These fabrications might sound easy to catch in a basic background check, but verifying this information often requires deeper research, allowing many to slip through the cracks.

Case in point

One of the more widely-known cases of resume inflation is George Santos:

  • Santos falsely claimed a bachelor’s degree from Baruch College and employment at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.
  • Santos also claimed that he graduated in the top one percent of his class at Baruch, and earned an MBA at NYU, as well as held senior roles at Goldman Sachs.
  • But representatives at all institutions did not have a record of Santos, and he ultimately admitted that he had never graduated from any institution of higher learning, nor was he employed by Citigroup or Goldman Sachs.  

Why it matters

Santos’ case is a stark reminder of how resume inflation can mislead employers and misrepresent an individual’s qualifications. A thorough background check would have uncovered Santos’ lies through the use of direct verifications with universities and employers.  It would have also identified more modest discrepancies, like differences in tenure dates and job titles.

What we’re seeing

At Gryphon, our thorough background checks regularly identify resume inflation:

  • In one recent case, we discovered that a CEO of a major corporation had lied about receiving both an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and a graduate degree from Harvard Business School. We used databases and communicated directly with the universities to verify that the CEO had indeed lied about his education.
  • In another instance, an individual claimed to have received a master’s degree from a Brazilian university on their LinkedIn profile. Our research, which included direct contact with the school, revealed that the individual had not completed the required dissertation and, therefore, had not been awarded the degree.
  • We also had a case wherein an individual reported on their LinkedIn profile that they had graduated from NYU and Harvard Business School, but we were unable to verify either degree after extensive research and communication with both universities. The individual later removed the education history from their LinkedIn profile, after we had saved a copy of their previous profile that contained the fabrications.

The bottom line

When considering new hires, investment opportunities, or partnerships, organizations rely on Gryphon for deep, actionable intelligence to make confident and informed decisions. Ensuring the accuracy of resumes is a vital part of this process, protecting companies from potential risks associated with resume inflation.


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