How Often Should You Lie?

The only acceptable lie is when your Aunt Grace* asked if you enjoyed her special dish at the family reunion. Other than that, never.

  • Don’t lie on your resume.
  • Don’t lie in an interview.
  • Don’t lie in your performance review.
  • Don’t lie about why you need a day off. (You don’t necessarily have to say why you need a day off, but don’t say, “my grandmother is sick” when you really have a job interview. It’s perfectly acceptable to say, “for personal reasons.”)
  • Don’t lie about why you left your last job.
  • Don’t lie about your gaps in employment.
  • Don’t lie about your salary, your qualifications, your workload or anything else.
  • Hopefully, I’ve cleared up any confusion.

    No lying.

    *If your Aunt is named something other than “Grace” you can’t lie, ever.

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    7 thoughts on “How Often Should You Lie?

    1. I was fired from a position that I had when I lived in another state. How can I put it on an application so that it doesn’t look as bad as the word “fired” ? I’ve been writing that my position was eliminated, because *MY* position WAS eliminated! No one has questioned it and the company I worked for is one that has an automated system for employment verification that gives only dates of employment and salary.

      How wrong is it that I have been using that terminology? I’m currently working with a staffing agency and they know the whole story (boils down to me being let go due to not meeting call volume requirements of 120+ calls per day, in the collections department for a large international bank).

    2. Anonymous–

      That’s a really good question. On a resume, of course, you don’t need to write why you left any job. They’ll ask if they want to know. Then, be straight forward and tell them that you did not meet sales call goals.

      But, if you are filling in an application, you want to be careful. For most professional jobs, the application is simply a formality. They’ll make the decision to interview you based on your resume, and then the decision to hire you off your interview and background checks.

      First, know that tons of people have been fired, so it’s not as bad as it seems. Second, it looks like you’ve gotten subsequent jobs, so the farther away you are from the firing, the less it matters.

      I would write, “did not meet sales quotas” as reason for leaving. It’s the truth, but it doesn’t scream “fired!”

      But, if I were interviewing you and you wrote “my position was eliminated” and I asked you about it and you said, “I did not meet my sales quotas, so they eliminated me.” I would ask you more about your sales quotas and why you didn’t meet them. I wouldn’t count that against you.

    3. Very well then,

      HR and Marketing are the leading purveyors of hoohah in any corporation. Marketing = BS + Boilerplate (okay?) and HR is the same.

      Marketing may try to spin a product or service to make it more profitable, but at least it’s a product or service – a benefit to the consumer. HR is forced to market the company to its employees and the company is a device for enriching the shareholders. Corporate officers have a fiduciary responsibility to put the interests of shareholders before the interests of all other “stakeholders”.

      Goldman Sachs economists (not exactly Marxists) write “The most important contributor to higher profit margins over the past five years has been a decline in labor’s share of national income.” This means that shareholders in American companies make more because Americans make less. It’s really that simple.

      So HR hires people who will accept the company PR even faster than the average employee – cheerleaders and true believers. And what’s very unfair is that HR is probably the most-lied-to division of an company. Managements talk up their commitment to HR and do nothing, by and large.

      It’s nice to give advice, but it’s not at all nice to misrepresent people’s interests. We all have to compromise with the truth, nobody needs excessive frankness all the time. But it’s important not to lose sight of the truth. Corporations are not there to do anyone any favors except the shareholders (and, arguably, the customers). Wealth is not fairly distributed, nor is the potential to have wealth fairly distributed and the real data show that both these things are true.

      Tell people “hey, that’s the way it is” but don’t tell them it’s all fair and true. That’s just not the case.

    4. I don’t understand. What does the truth on your resume have to do with the distribution of wealth? Is your contention that HR is dishonest by definition?

    5. I agree with dlaw. All of hr is dishonest and designed to fire people. They have no ethics…why else would you call yourself evil hr lady?

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