Lying In Job Interviews? Oh, Oh…


There are those who will lie in job interviews of course; they’ll claim to have diploma’s and degrees, work experiences and skills that they clearly don’t. With little that bothers their conscious, they justify their deceit by believing that everybody lies in job interviews. They bank on being able to con their way into a job and then learn it quickly without the boss finding out what they don’t know, and possibly endangering everyone around them by hurting the company’s reputation.

These folks are unlikely to change their minds; lying after all has probably become easier to do and actually worked in the past for them so why change? Therefore, I will not waste time here reaching out to them requesting they stop. I can only hope that they do not endanger their life or the lives of those they work with by making false claims and hoping to wing it on the job if hired.

Unfortunately, these same people may be passing on such advice to others who are just starting to go through interviews.. Hearing advice and suggestions from these people whom they would otherwise implicitly trust could get them into trouble. Not only could they physically hurt themselves or others, do damage to a company’s reputation and tarnish their image with customers, the person themselves if revealed is going to have a black stain on their reputation. Forget ever working for a company that keeps files and application records.

Establishing a relationship built on deceit, half-truths and outright lies isn’t fair to yourself. After all, if you lie in the job interview you’ll have to carry that lie with you moving forward and remember the lies you’ve told and to whom. You may or may not be surprised to learn that some lies are big enough that you can be fired on the spot if the truth comes out not just a few days into the job but years later. Claim to have that degree that somehow went up with the house in flames 10 year’s ago – as did the school it was issued from – and then reveal 3 years later you made all that up and you’re out on your ear.

The best advice to receive is advice that stands the test of time. Telling the truth is by this definition good advice. When you build a reputation for being honest, your word becomes your bond; people come to trust and believe you and by association, believe IN you. That is something you build up over time, can lose in an instance and may have a longer time rebuilding than you’d imagine.

For most people, it’s more a question of not being truthful or not but rather, how much do I reveal? So for example, if you had a health concern 3 years ago that prevented you from working and now that it’s completely taken care of your declared fit and able to work again, should you or shouldn’t you reveal the original health condition? Should you be a single parent of two darling little ones, should you reveal this or keep your children and marital status to yourself? Yes it’s one thing to lie and another to voluntarily reveal information that could be harmful to your employment for the sake of being completely open and transparent.

Now I wouldn’t suggest revealing one’s single parent status nor having children as this could hurt your chances in most situations. An employer hears, ‘time off’ for not just your illnesses, but also theirs, and in addition anytime the caregiver can’t watch them, they get in trouble at school etc. etc. etc. However, having said this, there are some situations where the employer values applicants with children and they actually give an edge to applicants with little ones. An on-site childcare centre for employees would be a big tip-off that this information wouldn’t be damaging to your chances.

I would caution against voluntarily revealing a criminal record; even a charge you were ultimately cleared of as well. Now if they ask you have to come clean because they will likely want that clean criminal record check in the end, so lying in the interview won’t get you the job anyhow. But volunteer such information if you’re not asked directly? Keep that to yourself. Same goes with any addiction issues be they alcohol or drugs.

The ideal candidate for many employers is squeaky clean. You know, a clear criminal record, no addictions, academically qualified, having the experience level they’ve requested in the job postings and the licences in good standing that go along with the job. Every time you voluntarily show something that you are hoping the employer can work around or see beyond, you risk the one that they can’t. Look, it’s not that they are judgemental, it’s more a question of protecting their good name, maintaining high quality production, safeguarding their reputation, keeping their insurance costs low etc. All of these play into their policies.

Many employers do make allowances for hiring workers that need accommodations. If you see this in an ad, you have an open invitation to share your special needs or disability if you prefer, as the employer is receptive to making some adjustments provided you’re qualified to do the work advertised.

To close, keep it real but think carefully about what you reveal and conceal. Honesty is the best policy but that doesn’t mean the interview is a confessional.

 

 

 

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Reacting To Your Own Mistakes


When you mess up, fess up.

As children, many of us were told by our parents and the other adults in our lives that we would make mistakes; and when we did so the thing to do was admit them and learn from them. Unfortunately not everybody heard this advice and a few more heard it but ignored it.

It’s important that you get this message now whether from reading this first-hand or perhaps someone who cares about you will have brought this to your attention and told you to read. Either way, good thing you’re reading now.

The first thing you need to understand is that messing up and making a mistake is something we all do; even the best of us. Yes, it’s true. Now some mistakes are bigger than others, and the fallout from those mistakes varies a great deal but making errors isn’t limited to just some of us. As you mature, you learn that it’s not the mistakes made that those around us typically judge us by but how we both learn from them and take responsibility for them.

Remember when you were a little kid and you’d do something that would annoy your parents like colouring the walls with crayons. Whether you knew it was wrong or not you could tell quickly it was a bad thing when you’d hear your mom cry out, “Ah! Who’s been doodling on the walls?” Instantly your defence mechanisms would kick in and in an effort of self-preservation you’d say, “Not me!” Despite the fact you were an only child and the crayons themselves surrounded you on the floor, you’d somehow look to shift the blame to someone; anyone else. You could be forgiven for colouring where you shouldn’t but not for lying about it and attempting to ditch the responsibility.

As a growing teenager, you probably made all kinds of screw ups in what many refer to as the awkward years. Whether it was doing things you shouldn’t, or not doing things you should have, those years were full of blundering along and not always fessing up when things went wrong. The unexplained scratch on the family car, the broken window by the driveway where the hockey net sat, the muddy footprints in the hallway; all done and denied as being done by you.

Now the funny thing about mistakes is that the more we deny making them, the less it becomes about the error in the first place and the more it becomes about our inability to accept responsibility and be accountable. Being accountable is one trait that employers value highly. If you make mistakes – and you will – take responsibility for reporting it and learning from it so it’s less likely to happen again. If you fail to take responsibility for your errors, you’re a bigger problem for the employer to deal with as now they have to not only show you where you went wrong, but now they wonder about your honesty; and your character and reputation suffer as a result. In other words, you’re compounding the issue.

Here’s the thing about confessing to mistakes. If you say right up front, “That’s my fault and I’m sorry about that”, it makes it hard for others to make a big deal out of your error; you’ve taken the wind right out of their sails. They may have actually wanted you to argue about things, defend yourself until they eventual proved you wrong and won some argument, and here you’ve taken all that joy away from them by immediately apologizing. Do it really well, and anyone who lashes out at you over the initially error may later apologize to you for their reaction to your mistake!

Of course the bigger the error the harder it is for some to take responsibility. However, the bigger the mistake, the more a person’s character is revealed in how they react to their mistake and accept or decline the accountability.

Some mistakes we make are innocent ones because we truly didn’t know better. We made a decision based on the information we had at the time and it turned out to be the wrong one if we’d known about company practices, policies and procedures. Oh well, we know now. Other mistakes however are where we should have known better; in fact we did. Our moral compass screamed that what we were about to do was wrong but we did it anyway, hoping not to get caught in the process. We’re seldom that smart however, so sooner or later the mistake is noted, the search is on for the culprit and we only make things worse by initially denying any knowledge of the situation. Later, we’ll end up apologizing for both the mistake and the denial.

It may seem the harder thing to do, but the best advice you can get is to take ownership for your actions. WHEN not IF you mess up, stand up and fess up. Often you’ll gain a lot of respect from your co-workers and management for what happens after the mistake.

So whether it’s, “Who took my pen?”, “Who gave out my home number to a customer?” or “Who left the shop door unlocked last night?” be accountable for your actions. It may not always work out in your favour I admit. A boss might say they admire your honesty but they’ll have to discipline you or even let you go if it’s serious. But you’ll still have your integrity intact.

A Look At What Honesty Means


On many resumes or imbedded somewhere in a cover letter, I’ll often see a person indicate that they are honest when communicating their qualifications. (Is honesty not really more of an attribute than a qualification in the first place?) So I thought it time to look at this word, “honesty” and pick it apart a little.

Rather than start off with some dictionary description, I’m going to relate rather what I’ve gleamed over the years through talking with employers, hearing stories from workers – some by the way who have been entirely devious and dishonest if truth be told – and finally from my own musings.

Well one thing about being honest is that you’ll be upfront and tell the truth when dealing with your employer. So right off the bat, think of all those days you may wake up and just not feel like going in to work for some reason. You know, it’s -31 degrees, cold and dark; little Johnny is in a school play at 11:00a.m. right in the middle of your work day, you had a big night out last evening and are feeling it as you rise. So will you be one of the people who gets up and gets going or one of the people who calls in ill when really you’re not?

Employers need to feel you can be counted on to be present and do the job you were hired to do. When you are absent, it’s not as simple as just paying someone else in your place and therefore not costing the employer any money. Oh no. The employer has to scramble and use time to find your replacement. They may need to call around to a few people before finding someone to come in at all in your stead. The person replacing you might be on time or maybe a tad late due to when they get the call and can get in. Then your co-workers have to adjust and slow their work to accommodate your replacement, do the usual introductions and chit-chat etc. all of which take time. If no replacement is coming, existing workers have to take on more, spread out duties which impede on overall performance.

Theft is another issue for employers that they actually have to calculate into their projections. Sadly true, some employees don’t see the big deal in stealing pens, scotch tape, paper, staplers, even furniture! “No big deal, they can afford it.” Actually, this theft results in higher costs for consumers, tighter budgets, perhaps less pay for employees even. The number one item employees steal? Toilet paper. Yep, toilet paper. I don’t know about you, but the toilet paper in my workplace isn’t the kind I’d want, but there it is, the number one item of choice to steal.

And some things employees steal aren’t immediately detected because they appear invisible at first. No security guard scanning employees as they leave at the end of a shift is going to catch someone darting home with information and ideas in their head. Many employees have to sign documents saying that the information they come into contact with (intellectual property) will not be shared or divulged outside the workplace to anyone. If this weren’t the case, by now we’d all know how they get that creamy centre inside a Cadbury bar!

Honesty and integrity go hand-in-hand for many people. When you have integrity, you do the right thing even when no one is watching. You put in an ‘honest days work’, you go home having given it all you’ve got. From time-to-time, I suppose it’s not unreasonable for someone to not be at their very best on a given day. Too many distractions in one’s personal life, a sleepless night for unknown reasons etc. can contribute to a person not performing up to their usual standard. While this is understandable, no employee would be willing to accept lower pay on that day for work performed. “Now see here Johnson, we caught you dogging it today, so we’re only paying you 78% of your salary”. Who would say okay to that?

Honesty therefore has to do with being able, willing and prepared to perform work at the level determined by the employer. Exceed that level of production and you stand out. Perform the work expected of you and you become reliable and build a reputation for putting in an honest days work. Fall below the standard set by an employer and you either your best isn’t good enough and you’ll be released, or you may be given a chance to improve if the employer knows you’re capable through observation of your past performance.

Holding yourself accountable however; being honest with yourself, this is the most important kind of honesty you can tout as an attribute to be desired. What is your personal standard of work? Do you strive to just do the minimum or be your best? Who in the organization do you measure yourself with, if anyone at all?

At the end of a shift or a day, you are probably the only one who really knows if you gave it 100% or not. If you do give it your best on a daily basis, you can look yourself in the mirror and defend your record of performance and effort expended. If on the other hand you know you aren’t giving it 100%, why aren’t you putting in an honest effort on a regular basis? That question might be worth exploring.