Lying in any aspect of life should be avoided at all times. It gets you nowhere and damages your reputation and quite possibly your career. I am constantly amazed at how many people lie or withhold the truth when applying for a job. I have interviewed and reviewed countless applications in my career, and this is a problem I do not see ending anytime soon. What most people do not realize is that we live in the information era, and recruiters can access any piece of information if they know where to look. Every lie, big or small, will eventually catch up with you, and sometimes can cause you more harm in the end. Lying to get a job is a quick way to burn bridges. The best suggestion I can give is to tell the truth, no matter what the circumstance.
Below is a list of the 5 most common ways I see applicants trying to hide some sort of truth.
1.) Hiding a Gap in Employment by Excluding the Months of Employment on Your Resume: This is something I see all the time, and it always creates a red flag for the person reading your resume. This is very misleading because if you put 2012 – 2013, it can mean either 2 years of employment or 1 month of employment. You could have been employed December 2012 and ended that same employment January 2013, but that is hidden because of the lack of information you put on your resume. A gap in your career history is not a something that will automatically get your application thrown out, but you will need to explain why you have that gap. Was it because you were in Jail? Was it because you volunteered your time in on a mission trip in Africa? The recruiter/employer can check the dates of your previous employers, and they will find out about any gaps. It is best to explain why you have a gap in your resume, and address any concerns of the employer right up front. If you are trying to hide employment gaps, more often than not you are also trying to hide why you left an employer.
2.) Hiding Why You Left a Previous Employer, or,, Why You Were Let Go: This is a sensitive subject for many people. How do YOU explain to a new employer why you were fired from your previous employer? Should YOU disclose why you were fired from my last employer? When a new employer is checking on new employment, in most cases your previous employer is only allowed to disclose your dates of your employment and if you are re-hirable. If the answer to the re-hirable question is no, then you will need to explain why you aren’t re-hireable. Life is a learning lesson, and in a case such as this, it is best to follow up this explanation with what you learned from the situation and how you have grown from it. It is important to remember it is a small world, and you never know who may know you at the new employer.
3.) Hiding Information That May Show Up on a Background or Drug Screen: This is a pretty simple area, but still something that happens consistently. You will get asked the question; “Can you pass a background/drug test?” If you answer “yes” knowing you are not able to, then you are lying and it will automatically get your application thrown out. If you are looking to burn bridges, this is the fastest way to accomplish that. Employers spend money on these screens, and it is very important to disclose information up front. Every employer is different, and you may not automatically be disqualified because of a ding on your background. If in doubt, ask the employer.
4.) Providing a Friend as a Manager Reference: We live in a day and age where any information we want, we can find through many different sources. LinkedIn, and other social networking sites will quickly unveil this lie.
5.) Falsifing skills you have or have gained in your past employment: Never live by the mantra; “just as long as I get the job I can learn or prove anything.” This is a quick way to get fired, and lose credibility. If you state on your resume, or in an interview you have done something in the past, it very well could be expected of you to do this in your position. All employers would rather a candidates be truthful about their past experiences. If you do not have experience in a required area, explain, and give examples, of how you plan to pick up this new skill to make you successful in your position.
I am a strong believer in being honest in all aspects of your life. Think of how much better you will feel when you get a great job, and you never have to look over your shoulder because of information you were hiding. Preparation is the best way to combat anything you are unsure about. Always put a positive spin on things, and in the end it will turn out for the best. Everyone will fail, and it is important to remember this. It is how you get up after you fail that will define you.
This blog was written by someone in the recruiting community who chooses to remain anonymous.