Cooking a Résumé
Source: Photo courtesy of cloudsoup, http://www.flickr.com/photos/cloudsoup/2762796137/.
Chef Robert Irvine’s résumé was impressive. According to the St. Petersburg Times, he advertised his experience as including:
- A bachelor’s of science degree in food and nutrition from the University of Leeds.
- Royal experience working on the wedding cake for Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
- He was a knight, as in Sir Robert Irvine, Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, handpicked by the Queen.
- For several consecutive years, he’d received the Five Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences.
- He’d served as a White House chef.
The truth—when the newspaper revealed it on a splashy front-page article—wasn’t quite so overpowering:
- The claimed BS degree? According to a press officer at the University of Leeds, “We cannot find any connection in our records between Robert and the university.”
- The royal wedding cake? Well, he did help pick some of the fruit that went into it.
- The knighthood? No.
- The Five Star Diamond Award? True, but it’s not the AAA’s prestigious Five Diamond Award or Mobil’s five stars. The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences is actually a guy’s apartment in New York, and the award is granted to anyone who pays a fee.
- White House chef? Kind of. But he didn’t prepare sophisticated dishes for the president or anything like that; he cooked food for the cafeteria line, serving military workers at the White House.Ben Montgomery, “TV Chef Spiced Up His Past Exploits,” St. Petersburg Times, February 17, 2008, accessed May 17, 2011, http://www.sptimes.com/2008/02/17/Southpinellas/TV_chef_spiced_up_his.shtml.
After the truth came out, Chef Irvine was fired from his popular TV show on the Food Network, Dinner: Impossible. A few months later, however, after the scandal blew over and he’d corrected his résumé, he reapplied for his old job, was rehired, and he’s on TV today.
- When Irvine first applied for the job as TV show chef, he had to consider whether he should “embellish” his résumé, and if so, how far he should go. What ethical responsibilities should he have considered? To whom?
- The five types of positive résumé misrepresentations are
- false credentials,
- false experience,
- false chronology,
- embellished experience,
- false references.
- Negative résumé misrepresentations have also been discussed. Looking back at Irvine’s résumé adventure, can you label each of his transgressions?
- 3.Are some of the lies worse than others in the sense that they relate directly to his ability to be a successful TV chef? Are others less objectionable because they don’t relate to the job he was applying for? Why or why not?
- 4.It’s better to seek forgiveness than ask permission. In a sense, that’s what Irvine did. He lied on his résumé, got the job, did well, got caught having lied on the résumé, got fired, sought forgiveness, got it, and got back a TV show job he might never have received had he not lied in the first place. Ethically, how could you go about justifying his course of action?
- 5.The Internet site Fakeresume.com includes the following advice for job seekers: “Hiring Managers Think You’re Lying Anyway!! Yep that’s right, the majority of human resources managers assume that EVERYONE embellishes, exaggerates, puffs up and basically lies to some extent on your résumé. So if you’re being totally honest you’re being penalized because they’re going to assume that you embellished your résumé to a certain extent!”Fakeresume.com, accessed May 17, 2011, http://fakeresume.com.
Assume you believe this is true, can you make the ethical case for being honest on your résumé regardless of what hiring managers think?
- 6.Assume Fakeresume.com is right. Everyone “embellishes, exaggerates, puffs up and basically lies to some extent on their résumé.” On the basis of the obligations you hold to others (hiring managers, coworkers, other applicants) and to yourself, could you form the argument that you have an ethical responsibility to lie?
- 7.You have a friend you like and respect. You’ve spent a lot of time with him over the years in school and you know he’s very responsible, a hard worker, and smart. He’d be good at almost any entry-level type job; you’re sure of it. He comes to you and asks you to fake having been his boss for a pizza delivery business. “I just want,” he says, “someone out there who I can count on to say I’m the good, responsible type. You know, someone who’s always on time for work, that kind of thing.” Would you do it? Justify your answer.
2 pages of content, and a reference page. 7 questions