Rep. George Santos at the Republican Jewish Coalition annual leadership meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, in November.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
- Long Island congressman George Santos admitted to lying about his qualifications on his résumé.
- Recruiters said that much of Santos’ résumé was suspicious, including the careless formatting.
- They said his supposed successes, like doubling revenue for a Goldman Sachs unit, are unrealistic.
George Santos isn’t a graduate of New York University’s Stern School of Business, and he didn’t double the revenue of a Goldman Sachs division in seven months.
Presumably, if any politician in Nassau County had asked for a reference at Goldman or had scanned a list of Stern alumni, they would have realized the Long Island congressman was lying. But their relative negligence allowed the Republican to run for election and win in 2022.
Insider asked five recruiters what they would have fact-checked on Santos’ résumé had it come across their desks. The general consensus: everything.
“Trust me, people can weave a great story and résumés can be written creatively and misrepresent ‘facts,'” Kathleen Quinn Votaw, the CEO of the recruiting- and HR-consulting firm TalenTrust, wrote in an email to Insider. “Investigate every credential.”
Here’s what Votaw and other recruiters said they would have scrutinized.
Santos’ careless formatting would raise eyebrows
Hannah Mason, a professional résumé writer and former recruiter, said the careless formatting on Santos’ résumé surprised her. For example, Santos wrote that he received his MBA from “NYU New York University” instead of NYU Stern.
Not only is Santos’ capitalization sloppy and the formatting slapdash, it doesn’t match up with the applicant’s purported caliber, either, Mason said. “For someone who’s at the VP level and who’s worked for Goldman Sachs, I would expect a much higher level of polish,” she added. “This is not the kind of résumé you’d see from someone in a senior, influential role.”
His career achievements seem unrealistic
Pete Havel, a workplace consultant who previously worked as a political consultant, wrote in an email to Insider that he typically asks job candidates about the most significant accomplishments on their résumés and asks to speak with references who have worked with the candidates at previous employers.
Indeed, recruiters told Insider that it’s not uncommon for them to do “backdoor background checks” where they contact someone not listed as a reference who might know the candidate.
Santos said he worked at Goldman Sachs from January to August 2017. During that time, he said he doubled the revenue growth from $300 million to $600 million.
“He worked there for seven months, and he doubled the growth?” said Melissa Reitkopp, a career strategist and veteran recruiter, expressing incredulity. “If you ask an investment banker what’s realistic in terms of revenue growth — that doesn’t add up.”
His scant digital presence is suspicious
Havel said he generally Googles a candidate’s name and “the most search-worthy words in their résumé.” If that search turns out to be fruitless, Havel said he would “wonder what’s going on. It’s OK to ask questions.”
“Most recruiters are not going to see the résumé as the single source of truth,” Sarah Johnston, a former recruiter who now works as an executive-résumé writer, told Insider in an email.
That Santos does not appear to have much of a web presence is a red flag, according to Reitkopp. “If you don’t have a digital footprint in this day and age, something is off,” Reitkopp said.
Hiring managers may miss red flags on job applications more often than we think
“I’m hearing about major companies who aren’t checking with any references,” Havel said. How easily Santos deceived politicians exposed “the weaknesses in the process — that essentially everyone was relying on someone else to do their due diligence,” Havel added.
Reitkopp said that hiring managers need to stay vigilant, adding that people who work in business development — Santos’ self-professed speciality — tend to excel at “telling stories so they can sell.”
And that’s what Santos is good at, too, she said. “He sold a lot of people a whole pack of lies. But if someone seems too good to be true, there’s something wrong.”