When did accuracy in the resume become optional?

Dear Applicant,

Thanks for your resume and informative cover letter.  I see you’ve worked at organizations that face similar accounting and financial management issues as my client, so I know you understand the reporting and compliance challenges they face.  And I see you’ve had relatively senior jobs, with mid-level people reporting to you.  And, finally, your cover letter explains clearly why this job opening interests you.

When I sent you a brief email to acknowledge receiving your application, I asked if you were still working at Organization A (resume says “2014 to present”; cover letter says “I’m currently finance director at Organization A), and to what position your job reports. You replied within a few hours and told me: “I left Organization A in 2016, when I took a job at Organization B.  I report to the CFO.”

Well, I wasn’t expecting that.  As a search consultant, I know that resumes are sometimes inaccurate, but it’s rare that a cover letter is also wrong.  Maybe you haven’t applied for a new job since you left Organization A in 2016, and perhaps you pulled up the resume and cover letter you used then, without updating them.  Maybe you didn’t want me to know you were working at Organization B.  (Not sure why that would be; it’s a respected place.)  Maybe you didn’t want me to know about the frequency of job changes in recent years. 

I’m guessing it’s more likely that you’re careless than dishonest. But in either case, you’ve shown a lack of accuracy that isn’t good for an applicant for any job, but especially for a senior financial management job, where accuracy is so important.

I could give you a second chance, but since I’ve got a few other applicants who look promising – and, so far, have not caused me to question their ability to be accurate – we will, alas, not meet to discuss this further.  I’m sorry, and hope you understand.