Lie On The Resume? At The Interview?


It’s critically important to know the difference between an employment opportunity that is going to challenge you to develop yourself in order to succeed, and a job that is way beyond what you are capable of delivering. The irony is that many people who think they are going to pull one over on an employer by learning what they claim they already know how to do, are rather going to learn that making such a fraudulent claim is a sure way to not only lose an opportunity, but to remove themselves from future opportunities they are presently qualified for.

Let’s start with the employer. Employers have needs which they identify and share in the form of a job posting. They lay out what skills and experience they are looking for and usually identify both the critical essentials and the, ‘nice to have’ assets. Those critical ‘must haves’ aren’t negotiable. They are the bare minimum essentials; if you don’t have them, save yourself the time and effort, and please save the time of the employer.

It’s no shame if you fail to meet the critical essentials. If the job is one you really want – and I mean really want not just kind of want – then acquire whatever the key item it is that you currently lack. Yes, if you really truly believe this is your dream job do whatever it takes; go back and get that degree, your driver’s licence, the criminal pardon or the 3 years of experience someplace else. If you aren’t willing to invest yourself in getting what the employer demands, pass on it and move on. It’s not complicated; look for another job.

The worst thing you can do is want a job so badly that you mislead or outright lie about your credentials in order to get an interview, and then lie at the interview with fabricated qualifications. If you are exposed when questioned, or volunteer the truth at the interview in the hopes of being offered a job without the qualifications they’ve identified saying you lied just to get the interview, you’re likely going to find the interview terminates. What you may or may not be informed of, is that your name will be flagged and your future applications rejected out-of-hand without a moment’s thought.

The company – just about every company, doesn’t want to start a relationship with a new employee based on lies, fraudulent claims and misrepresentation. You may otherwise be a straight-shooter, trustworthy and dependable. However your first exposure to the company was this claim your background can’t support, and so not knowing you at all, they are left with the obvious assumption that if you’ll lie at the outset, you’ll lie easily again and again if hired. Who wants that kind of employee?

Here’s another way this kind of behaviour could hurt you down the road even if you are hired. When you tell a lie or stretch your qualifications, you have to remember who you told the lie to, and you’ve got to keep up that pretense. I recall several years ago meeting a fellow I had helped get a job. When asked about his status, this was what he told me:

“I lost my job after 5 years man. I told them on my resume that I had my Grade 12 diploma when I didn’t. Every Friday I went to a pub after work for a drink with one of the guys on my team and this one time I let slip that I didn’t really have my diploma. We laughed about it but then we had a falling out. So this guy went to the boss and told him and the boss came to me and asked me if it was true. 5 years man, so I figured I was safe. So I told the boss I didn’t really have it because he could ask me to produce the diploma. Next thing I knew, he’s walking me out the door, even though I was a good worker. That was a great job.”

Sad story but true. Now you might counter with that long-held belief that everybody lies on their resume. Well that’s a myth. Not everyone lies on their resume; it’s the people who do lie on their resume that spread that myth as a way of justifying their lies.

Look, the truth of the matter is that ideally we want to apply for the job we’d like most right now, here; today. However, the right thing to do is often a longer road to eventually get what you really want. So if investing yourself in getting whatever is missing means holding off on applying for that dream job for a year or two, well, then that’s what it will take. You wouldn’t want to be totally qualified and lose out to someone falsely representing themselves would you? No of course not. You’d raise the issue with the employer if it meant they got the job and you didn’t; assuming you knew.

So don’t invent jobs on your resume you’ve never had, nor employer’s you’ve never worked for who have mysteriously vanished. Don’t give yourself diplomas and degrees from schools that don’t exist anymore, or put forward names of references that oddly enough have all moved and can’t be located and verified.

Starting a relationship based on lies is never a good idea.

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One thought on “Lie On The Resume? At The Interview?

  1. I should go without saying that you don’t lie. You will be found out eventually. Even those who don’t put dates on past jobs should be careful because a lot of employers construe that as a lie of omission. As far as the belief that everybody lies on their resume goes, there are even some employers and recruiters that have seen enough applicants lie to become jaded. They end up believing that all job applicants lie to some extent. This is very unfortunate for those are honest. I read an article written by a recruiter in which she said she thought all job applicants are liars and was very condescending about the qualifications they told her they had. This is very sad.

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