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July 13, 2015

The many audacious lies in David Hoffmann's resume

Update July 13, 2015: we've added another quote from the DHR team. We note that David Hoffmann's LinkedIn profile still contains these lies. We are astonished that someone who went on the front foot with his PR machine to get on the record about the importance of accurate resumes can sleep well at night continuing to tell so many lies. For example, his profile lists him as "Chairman of the Board of Directors" of the "Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis" from 2009 until today but he left the Board in 2009 and only created his LinkedIn profile in 2014. This is truly jawdropping.

Update February 27, 2015: Within 72 hours of our original post, DHR International ceased to be Chairman of DHR. DHR removed David Hoffmann's entire profile from the DHR International web site! At least we know that DHR International and Geoff Hoffmann are reading this blog. 

When Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson was caught being misleading with his resume in 2012, DHR International Chairman, David Hoffmann, (always one for self-promotion) could not wait to be quoted on the topic. See, for example, the Tribune. His son, Geoff Hoffmann, and other senior DHR International leaders were quoted on this topic in Smart MoneyReutersAssociated PressBloomberg and Business Insider. That's what happens when you have a large internal and external PR team - they look for others' misfortunes as your opportunity.

From the Tribune:
A little GPA padding. A slight fib on a job title. A clerical error on dates. What might seem like innocuous tweaks or typos on a resume can compound themselves, creating a mess for the individual and company
“As tempting as those things are to do, it will always come back to haunt you,” said David Hoffmann, chairman and chief executive of Chicago-based executive search firm DHR International. “There is no room for embellishment.”
"The consequences are unbelievably significant,” Hoffmann said, noting that companies often allow candidates to explain discrepancies. “If any of these (explanations) are a red flag, their candidacy goes away immediately because the available talent pool is pretty significant today. If they're not going to tell the truth about that, what else will they lie about?” 
Expect a domino effect that can impact the company’s reputation, too, Hoffmann said. In addition to hurting a company’s stock price, embarrassing resume revelations can hurt recruitment and fundraising efforts
Hoffman’s firm comes across about two embellished resumes a year, and it places about 1,000 candidates annually.
So, does David Hoffmann practice what he preaches?

According to David Hoffmann's profile on the DHR International website (until the profile was removed on February 27, 2015 due to the original version of this post), he was at that point currently serving on a number of boards. Note: the link to his profile is the version that DHR International removed on February 27, 2015 - the link here is from December 2014 on the Internet Archive).

"Mr. Hoffmann serves on the Board of Directors of the Olin School of Business National Council at Washington University, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Foundation, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Regional Business Council, DHR International, JobPlex, Inc., Edgewood Holdings, Inc., and the Contemporary Art Museum."
This was a fresh web site built in 2014. So, was the profile accurate?

The answer is "no". We call this "Hoffmannitis".

Olin School of Business National Council at Washington University: yes; along with about 80 other members but it is not a "Board of Directors", just an advisory council.

Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Foundation: a Google search reveals no such organization.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company: no; was he ever on it?

The Regional Business Council: no; was he ever on it?

DHR International: yes, but he owns 100% of this.

JobPlex, Inc.: yes, but he owns 100% of this.

Edgewood Holdings, Inc.: no;  was he ever on it?

Contemporary Art Museum: no, he was on this for a very, very short time in 2009.

So, of the six non-owned Boards he claimed to serve on as at February 25, 2015, David Hoffmann was only on one and it's not actually a Board but an advisory council! 

Will this "room for embellishment ... come back to haunt you"?

Will "the consequences [be] unbelievably significant"?

"If [you're] not going to tell the truth about that, what else will [you] lie about?"

Do you "expect a domino effect that can impact [DHR International's] reputation, too"?

Will this "hurt recruitment and fundraising efforts"?

Was this one of DHR's "two embellished resumes" this year?

What will David Hoffmann's team think of this?

Well, his son,  Geoff Hoffmann, quoted in Smart Money:
And since the use of executive search firms is standard for higher-level positions, most applicants can’t realistically expect to get away with it, says Geoff Hoffmann of DHR International, an executive search firm based in Chicago. “It’s very uncommon for a search firm to miss such a basic detail,” he says.
Geoff, does David Hoffmann "realistically expect to get away with it"? How could DHR International "miss such a basic detail"?

Former DHR International Board Member, Gayle Mattson, quoted by Reuters:
"It's pretty clear that there was information that slipped through Yahoo's fingertips and someone has to be held accountable," said Gayle Mattson, an executive vice president for executive search firm DHR International.
Well, is it equally "pretty clear that there was information that slipped through [DHR's] fingertips and someone has to be held accountable"?

David Hoffmann's former Head of Research was quoted as saying in Business Insider:
"If we have to rescind an offer, it’s mostly because of the education," said Marissa Martin, DHR International’s vice president of global research, adding that it is more difficult for recruiters to check degrees overseas than in the U.S. "They lie about completing their undergraduate degree. At the entry level, people lie about their GPAs all the time, but most places don't care about that stuff."
Did Geoff Hoffmann rescind his father's Chairmanship? The fact that David Hoffmann stood down as Chairman of DHR within three days of our original post suggests this. Is this quote from Marissa Martin also a clue that David Hoffmann has lied about his education?


  1. Wow! Good investigative work.

    At least one of three things will happen now:

    1. David Hoffmann will try to get Google to take this site down again. I can't see how, but he has an army of expensive attorneys.

    2. His profile will be rewritten in a day or two.

    3. Nothing will change. David Hoffmann has been doing this for years and will see nothing wrong with it. When I used to work for him, his email signature trumpeted he was "Named one of the World's Most Influential Recruiters". yes, his team of PR advisers got him onto this list once in maybe 2008 and he has been milking it ever since,

    1. Thanks for the feedback. Glad you enjoyed the post.

      Well, you were wrong when you predict one of three things would happen. A 4th thing happened: DHR International REMOVED David Hoffmann's entire profile rather than rewriting it. Presumably, a more accurate version will hit the website next week.

  2. This is not just embarrassing for DHR International, it goes to ethics. How can someone be all over the press telling people they need to be honest and at the same time being highly inaccurate on their own website. It is incredible!

    My guess is that David Hoffmann's bio won't reappear on the site, but they will create a whole new section.

    Btw his LinkedIn profile still has the same lies. It was only created recently.

  3. I disagree with the previous poster in terms of what will happen. I think DHR International will repost Hoffmann Sr's profile, but they don't want to make it look like it was taken down as a result of this blog.

  4. DHR is a house of cards and lies. Always has been and you don't know it until you leave there... I'm embarrassed to say I ever worked there. Disgusting behavior... and for David Hoffmann to publicly chastise Brian Sullivan in the NY Post is hilarious. What a hypocrite! I've witnessed abhorrent behavior inside of DHR. Disgusting. How has he amassed so much wealth? By screwing over the people who helped build the company. Don't know of anyone who's made more enemies.

  5. Very amusing surprised Kevin Dugan New York post hasn't written about these lies and DHR more broadly would be way better tabloid reading and perhaps more truth ?!

  6. This remains one of the best posts on this blog.

    The fact that Hoffmann lied for so long and continues to do so on his LinkedIn profile, yet publicly chastised others for doing so, shows what a hypocrite and scoundrel he is.

  7. That's good to see this feature and information.