Background Checks - Fudging Role within same Firm

Just had an interesting story transpire relatively recently-ish within my fam and was curious what people's take on it was. We all know that background checks go through your criminal past and work and school history, confirming you worked at the places you say you did and the dates when you did them. We also all know that as on cycle recruiting inched earlier and earlier analysts started embellishing deals and staffings on their resume out of necessity. I have a cousin of mine who took it a step further and legit changed the group we was in within the bank. Not a crazy change as far as changes go but still pretty meaningful (DCM -> LevFin). Sat on the same floor and did a couple of high yieldy cross staffings and learned enough about the Lev Fin experience & skill set, put that group on his resume, and convinced the interviewers and did well enough on the case to where he got an offer. He accepted and cleared the background check and all is seemingly well at his new fund. Obviously they didn't call actual humans in Lev Fin for a reference otherwise there would clearly be issues, but he knew he literally wasn't gonna get any single buyside look at all from DCM. I was a little freaked out by what he did at first (was told all this well after the fact) but I realized it was a (potentially major) risk he knew was taking and he got the job by doing well enough in the process and not raising any suspicions as to his role, so I just gave him props and said don't be stupid again about it and probably change the group back for the future.

But given the surprising success of this ballsy move, I'm curious how far someone could theoretically take it. It wouldn't be a crazy technical leap to take a guy on the Credit Risk Management team in middle office and claim they were in Lev Fin instead. Can you take a compliance analyst and claim they're in TMT? A TMT banker to the distressed desk? I really figured people would check which group you are in within a firm but that seems not to be the case so the sky's the limit embellishment-wise (it's more likely straight up fraud at that point, but still hilarious if they actually pass the interviews and fool everyone).

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Comments (15)

Sep 23, 2021 - 5:01am

This is an interesting scenario, all his checks came back OK because he didn't change the facts they do check. Like dates, firm name, his own name, etc. And it worked. But in finance the world really isn't that big. People know each other and change companies a lot. There is a risk he will be found out, but I don't think the likelihood of that happening is high.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Sep 23, 2021 - 5:58am

Im just a silly intern so i don't know shit.

But it is interesting to me that the group differnce didn't show up. As far as him getting found out later i really don't see this happening. it would require someone randomly having a weird feeling this individual wasn't in LevFin and doing a deep dive into their old work exp which seems highly unlikely.

Personally idk if I could live with that constant dreading feeling of possibly losing everything u have worked for up to this point. This will follow him if he tries to go to Bschool, make partner at the PE shop, etc etc. Seems like a tiring thing to do to keep up with this lie. Then again I'm an anxious fuck.. 

  • Research Analyst in HF - Other
Sep 23, 2021 - 9:38am

I agree, which is why I said to change it back for everything in the future. When applying to b school etc they don't give a shit what banking group your in vs. the current buyside role which you don't need to fudge. Basically an example of fake it till you make it.

Sep 23, 2021 - 8:02am

There's 2 types of backround checks - one the "admin one" where they will check firm, dates maybe division and that's about it and the "soft one" where they (as you konw the industry is super small) will call one of the seniors in your team to 1) confirm that you are not a moron and 2) give a heads up that you are joining them. I got asked multiple times hey do you know XXX in your bank etc. Whilst the admin background check should be fine in 99% of cases, the softer one can trip you up - so I'd be careful about it.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Sep 23, 2021 - 8:09am


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Sep 23, 2021 - 9:59am

And I'm telling you it's really not a big deal. No one is going to care even if they found out. He can just say internally dcm and lev fin were interchangeable. Or that he was a junior and was a shared resource.

You're acting like he lied about the college he went to or something.

Most Helpful
Sep 23, 2021 - 11:58am

Not surprised he pulled off changing his group, but I don't think you could get away with changing your actual title (i.e. pretending you're front office when you're not). Your title in the HR system isn't "DCM Investment Banking Analyst", it's "Investment Banking Analyst". So to your other example: If a regulatory compliance analyst listed themselves as an IB analyst I would expect the background check to spot it. Pretty sure the background check literally just asks HR to verify "Was John Doe an investment banking analyst at your firm in the investment banking division from XX/XXX to XX/XXXX." This is where that official title on your offer letter comes into play. 

  • PM in HF - Other
Sep 25, 2021 - 9:37pm

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