Integrated Security Services, Inc., New York

“Lie Degrees” Hurt New York

18 Aug

A collection of diplomas Sergio Rivas/flickr

Think you know who you’re hiring? Statistics show that without a background check, you probably know less than you think.

Would you hire someone as a lifeguard at your child’s pool party if you found out they couldn’t swim? Probably not. Well, that’s the logic behind background checks, which make sure that applicants aren’t forging their qualifications just to get a gig.

It’s an incredibly important procedure for an employer, yet some very big — and very powerful — businesses still haven’t learned how to do it right.

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs offers the most recent and mind-boggling example. The department recently fired their CFO, who was being supported with a six-figure salary, when it found that she had lied about her degree on an application.

A Six-Year-Long Case of Deception

In 2009, Lilianna Gekhtin, the ex-CFO in question, claimed that her degree from Odessa City Pedagogical College was the same as an American Bachelor’s degree. On those grounds, she was hired as a temporary associate staff analyst. Two years later, she was promoted to deputy CFO, but that promotion was accompanied by a background check by the Department of Investigation.

The review revealed that Gekhtin’s degree was actually the equivalent of a high school diploma and two years of undergraduate education. According to the New York Post, it wasn’t until July of 2013, two years into her tenure in the new role, that the head of Consumer Affairs found out, and even that didn’t stop her promotion to CFO.

It was only in 2014, after the department’s new commissioner Julie Menin bothered to actually take a closer look, that Gekhtin finally resigned.

No Harm, No Foul? Not Quite

Gekhtin’s duplicity can be carried out in any work environment, from an employer as small as a local pool to a hugely influential government body in New York City. And no matter the context, that dishonesty always matters.

Regardless of the size of your company, an employee’s lies about their past can have serious repercussions for your business. If you have to fire someone when they turn out to be unqualified, your company could spend up to $25,000 hiring and training their replacement.

What’s more, the effects that this person’s departure could have on the work environment could be devastating — the absence of just one member can disrupt the rhythm of an entire team of hardworking professionals.

Don’t Cut corners When it Comes to Security

Still think that this can’t happen to you? In a study conducted by Statistic Brain Research Institute, more than 50% of people admitted to lying on their resume — a truly alarming figure for employers everywhere.

This means more than half of the people that you interview for any given position aren’t being entirely upfront, and some deceptions could have more serious ramifications than others.

But how do you know where to look? With large organizations like the one Gekhtin worked at, an individual’s background check may be one of thousands, and important details can get easily overlooked. Even crucial information like a college degree can slip through the cracks.

Integrated Security Services specializes in uncovering even the most minute details in its security reviews. For over twenty years, Integrated has been helping high-profile companies avoid damaging lawsuits, high turnover rates, and unnecessary spending.

At Integrated, we can provide you with thorough pre-employment screening and litigation support, so don’t wait for a dishonest employee to make you take action.