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Edward Snowden: No Degree, Lied on His Resume, Promptly Hired for 122K a year...

Lost in all the noise about background checks disadvantaging entire sectors of society is the fact that background checks are still essential to knock the zombies out of your hiring process.

Need proof?  Ladies and Gentleman, I give you.. Edward Snowden!!

That's right, the guy who leaked all the stuff that made us question our privacy on Google, Facebook, our cell phones, etc (click for the overview, I'm assuming you have the general drift...).

As it turns out, Booz Allen Hamilton (who provides a LOT of contractors to the NSA and the Federal Government as a whole) found some issues with Snowden's resume, but what the hell? They offered him anyway.  More from the South China Morning Post:

"Hiring screeners at Booz Allen Hamilton, a contractor for the National Security Agency, found possible discrepancies in a résumé submitted by Edward Snowden, but the company still employed him, a source with detailed knowledge of the matter said.  It is unclear precisely which element of Snowden's résumé caused personnel officials at Booz Allen Hamilton to raise questions about his background. Also unclear is how he satisfied their concerns."

According to sources familiar with the matter, Snowden, a high school dropout who later passed the high school equivalency test known as the GED, stated on his résumé earlier this year that he attended computer-related classes at Johns Hopkins University, a Tokyo campus of the University of Maryland and the University of Liverpool in Britain.

According to the sources, the résumé stated that Snowden "estimated" he would receive a master's degree in computer security from Liverpool some time this year.

Some of the educational information listed on the résumé did not check out precisely, said the sources. Despite that, Booz Allen Hamilton hired him at an annual salary of US$122,000 as a contractor for the NSA in Hawaii. Snowden had been on the job there for about four weeks when he travelled to Hong Kong last month and leaked the US government secrets that made him known around the world."

Nice, right?  Here's where it gets fun.  I checked out Snowden's LinkedIn profile (you can too by clicking here) and guess what?  He's a former Security Guard for the NSA.  I'm sure the logic went like this:

"We'll, he did check bags for zip drives at the NSA earlier in the decade, and wouldn't he have helped someone leak secrets then if he was going to do it?  Let's go ahead and hire him."

Which is why you need a zero tolerance policy against fabrication on resumes in the hiring process.

Edward freaking Snowden. They had what they needed to say no to his employment.  Now his LinkedIn profile lists "Russian Federation" as his home country.  Nice. (Note - might be a fake account, not sure.  Info checks out good enough to share)

LinkedIn screenshots from Snowden below.  Don't believe the hype that you need to be nice on background checks.  We have lost our minds in rationalizing this kind of stuff.

Screen Shot 2013-06-30 at 11.52.36 AM

Screen Shot 2013-06-30 at 11.59.20 AM



I love the source. South China Morning Post. LOL for 100 reasons.

Rory C. Trotter Jr

Thanks for sharing this, Kris.

When I first got started in HR (as a recruiter) a candidate that management *really* wanted had a red flag come up on his background check.

It turns out he'd lied about completing a certification on his resume. He'd taken some classes, but never finished it.

I brought it to the attention of the hiring manager, who wanted to proceed with the hire. No one else in HR wanted to push back, so we moved forward.

The candidate was terminated a few months later because he was unable to perform the job duties and responsibilities he advertised on his resume.

It turns out that the certification wasn't the only thing he'd lied about.

I say all that to say that I 100% agree with you here. Discrepancies on a background check matter. If someone will lie on a resume then other aspects about their overall integrity come into question as well.

Keep writing.



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