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.





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.

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.

Let’s Agree Not To Lie Shall We?

Perhaps you or someone you know is guilty of putting some things on their resume which are not true with clear knowledge of that fact. Such as saying for example that grade 12 is successfully completed when in fact it isn’t. There are two things wrong when you lie; 1) you lied 2) you don’t mind.

“So what?” you say. “Everybody lies.” That ironically is yet another lie. The more you lie the easier it becomes to the point where you don’t even realize the words you speak are bold-faced lies anymore. No, not everyone lies on their resume, and in fact very few do. To answer the question however you’ve asked however, I’ll tell you what.

When you lie and get caught, you place yourself in danger of being penalized for that lie, and that penalty might cause you to lose a great deal. You could be fired, fined, disciplined, held back from promotions, removed from assignments – even jailed depending on what you are lying about. I mentioned in a much earlier post about a fellow who lost his job after 5 years because he confided in a co-worker that he didn’t really have his grade 12 and then the two had a falling out. 5 years gone.

Ah but you don’t plan on getting caught. Right. You’ll be the one person who somehow will defy all the odds and turn that lie into a good paying secure job. Do you think that all those who went before you planned on getting caught at some point? They all thought that, like you, they would get away with their lie or lies.

Now sure there are stories of young men enlisting in the army who lie about their age so they can be accepted and fight for their country. These fellows are now in their 80’s or 90’s and have a good chuckle over it. You see some DO actually get away with their lie, and saying that would seem to contradict my points in the previous paragraphs. But if I didn’t acknowledge that some who tell lies get away with it, I’d be lying!

It’s not just grade 12 on a resume that people lie about. Some other examples I’ve seen include misrepresenting their name, saying they’ve gone to a certain school when they haven’t, taken courses of training they haven’t – or haven’t successfully passed. I even was in the middle of helping a young person once fine tune their resume when after about 15 minutes, they disclosed that the 6 jobs on their resume were all lies; they’d never worked before anywhere!

My problem with lying on a resume if I’m helping you out is that you’re now including me without my knowledge in your deception. So now you’ve got me unknowingly supporting your poor behaviour. In the case above, I stopped helping the person completely after trying unsuccessfully to get them to see the problem with the lie they were clearly going ahead with. I had to just walk away and that didn’t deter them in the least.

I did mark that person as a liar though. Sure I didn’t know all their circumstances, how desperate they might be for employment and money, but the one thing I do know is that they are too comfortable lying. How could I possibly come to know their circumstances anyhow? Ask them? How would I know if they were spinning another lie?

You see their reputation has been established and once established it takes time and observable behaviour to rectify that image. This of course brings us to you. I can only hope that your reputation might mean something to you and that you would like to have a good reputation with others. Your reputation is something you build with every word you speak and every action you take.

So let’s say you don’t have your grade 12 education just to work with this as a premise. On your resume, you are worried about being honest and saying you only have grade 11 because employers want grade 12 at least. Okay I agree with that. The only answer available however is not to lie and say you have it when you don’t. You could for example say…..

R. J. Barker High School Daning Board of Education            2006

By putting your education on your resume in this fashion, you neither state you have your grade 12 nor do you lie about not having it. You have simply listed the school you attended and the last year you attended. If the employer ASSUMES you have your grade 12 and grants you an interview, your resume has done its job. At the interview you would only be wise to disclose you don’t have your grade 12 if you are asked directly by the interviewer.

You see at an interview you have a chance to explain why you left school, and hopefully your ability to market your skills, maturity, HONESTY and other qualifications get your lack of grade 12 accepted. Perhaps you can even agree to obtain your missing credits in the evenings after work.

Remember that any claim you make on your resume can be checked out. An employer might just want a copy of your diploma for their files. Saying it burned in a fire won’t do if the employer really wants it tracked down.

Lying might be cool in the movies and books, but those are works of fiction. Write your own story with honesty and integrity.