How does a 35-year-old formerly aspiring K-Pop recording artist end up in a White House role that requires a top security clearance?
For Mina Chang, all it took was exaggeration and falsification of details on her resume, leveraging her social media presence, and a fake Time Magazine cover featuring, you guessed it, her!
Now, just 10 years after releasing The Holiday Album (a U.S. version of Waiting for You (K-Pop Album)), Chang is earning a six-figure salary as deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Conflict and Stability Operations. The goals of the executives who serve in this particular Department of State include three key lines of effort: assessment of political instability, security sector stabilization, and countering violent extremism in geographic regions of national interest.
Creative and Highly Qualified or Creative with Exaggerations and Lies?
Chang’s April 2019 appointment to the State Department seems to go beyond a hopeful hiring manager’s bet on an unproven job applicant with unique talents and, perhaps, undeveloped abilities for the task at hand. At press time, it remains unknown why exactly Chang was nominated and who provided the nomination for her State Department position. We do know her resume reads like that of an experienced philanthropist and diplomat rather than a pop vocalist and it took journalists at NBC News to break the truth behind Chang’s work experience.
According to Chang’s own bio on the Department of State website, she “is an alumna of the Harvard Business School [and] a graduate of the United States Army War College National Security Seminar.” In reality, Chang is an alumna of Harvard Business School. She took a seven-week long course there in 2016. As for her claim to be a “graduate” of the Army War College? That was a four-day long seminar.
Those are just two misleading tidbits of information in an extensive paragraph about Chang’s education, training, and expertise in her area of service. Claims about the accomplishments of her nonprofit called Linking the World are also now in question, as is the reason behind the fake Time Magazine cover she shared in a 2017 interview with “Global Outlook,” an educational access channel television program produced by Houston Community College.
Technology Makes It Easy to Promote Fake News
To the untrained eye, Chang seems pretty legit. Her social media accounts include photo ops with political leaders and celebrities. She makes appearances at expensive charity events and appears to be involved with big humanitarian efforts. Snapshots of her Time cover are all over the internet and her LinkedIn page sports the names of important organizations most of us regular people just don’t know much about–including how to confirm their validity of her relationships to them.
Those who understand how to use the digital tools available to us can easily manufacture images and impressive backstories and then wallpaper the internet with “proof” that they are real. But being good at personal PR isn’t the same as being good enough to fulfill a government office or do important work for your business.
ClearStar has the tools to investigate all kinds of claims your potential employees may make about themselves. Let’s do the work of ensuring your new hires are the best applicants and not the best-looking applicants.