So... Have you ever lied on a job application?

(40 Posts)
MrsWhirling Sat 11-May-13 19:31:10

That's it really - I don't mean blatent lie as in 'Yes, I do have exeperience on brain surgery' when in reality you have no medical experience at all!

I mean exaggerated your experience?

I'm going for a job a really, really want. I know I can perform in this role. It is in my field but atleast one managment grade above my current experience level and therefore I am finding some of the application questions difficult to evidence with examples of when I have performed the said thing to that level if that makes sense?

HomeEcoGnomist Sat 11-May-13 22:34:53

Fairylea - ok, I am going to be the one...can't believe that you actually advocate people lie, having worked in recruitment! I work in HR and detest people who lie, it wastes people's time and actually tells me a lot about a person's integrity.

I recently interviewed someone who was just about to get a job offer from me - then they revealed that they had lied about their previous salary. I have zero tolerance for that, regardless of the reason. They said they had been advised by someone to inflate the numbers because "everyone does it" and "it's expected". Well, I don't, and not in my world.

OP: there is a difference between crafting your experience to fit the profile and lying. Knock yourself out with the former, don't contemplate the latter.

MrsWhirling Sat 11-May-13 23:15:49

Ok, so if you read an application from me a (random example) an experienced and skilled Marketing Manager for the post of Head of Marketing, what sort of examples would you think were acceptable in terms of crafting rather thank lying, if that makes sense?

nooka Sat 11-May-13 23:25:03

In your position I'd be thinking about occasions when the Head of your current team delegated work to you, where you took a lead in a significant project, helped manage any difficult situations etc. Basically showing insight as to what the job entails and that you are ideally placed to step up into it.

lovefreelance Sun 12-May-13 05:13:53

Out of curiosity I googled this question to see what online experts would say in this situation, and it was a resounding 'no'! (Here's just one example: www.theladders.com/career-advice/lying-resume-how-far-stretch-truth)

However, obviously you need to somehow let the company know you are capable of this job, or at least get an interview - so maybe focus on your covering letter/email? You could be honest and say you don't have the direct experience they are asking for, but are more than capable of performing in the role and are happy to demonstrate this in an interview should they give you the opportunity.

In my experience, companies will often go for attitude (and aptitude) over experience when all else is equal. It's much easier to train the right person for the job, than it is to try and change the personality or attitude of the wrong person who just so happens to be a perfect match on experience.

I once interviewed for an amazing job - which turned out to be the big break in my career. The interviewer had somehow got the opinion (not from me) that I was experienced. I wasn't - I was completely green. I could sense the interview wasn't going well and he had no interest in me. So I gave him a passionate speech about how I knew I could do the job and was a fast learner etc etc (all true) so he offered to set me a test - probably to get rid of me as much as anything else ;). Long story short, I aced the test, got the job and earned bags of awards for my work.

Sooo (trying to stop this going on too long!) my suggestion is to somehow convey to the employer that you have the attitude and potential for the job and try to convince them to hire you (eg could you sign up for courses on the management skills you need and put this in your CV/cover letter?).

Much better to get genuinely hired for who you really are, than exaggerate and always be waiting to be caught out! Good luck!!!

Fairylea Sun 12-May-13 06:53:46

No is going to advocate lying in the real world. I wouldn't have said do it if you openly asked me when I worked in recruitment. I'm just saying it now because it's anonymous here (!) And because people do it all the time, they just don't get caught. Well a lot of people don't.

I remember once on the apprentice one of the winners - I think it was a guy called lee? - told a bit of a whopper on his cv which they uncovered and Alan sugar still hired him anyway. He said most people exaggerate and a lot of people lie. It's very very common.

Fairylea Sun 12-May-13 06:57:30

Sorry my spelling etc was awful in that last post! I've been up with ds since 5am.

Ruffello Sun 12-May-13 07:10:39

I've started to shave a few years off my employment dates to make me appear younger - I'm convinced I've been overlooked in the past because of age.

NatashaBee Sun 12-May-13 07:15:36

If the companies I've worked for discovered a discrepancy in job title, they would revoke your job offer unless you could prove it was a genuine error. I definitely wouldn't lie about that or anything else. However, I don't think it would be an issue to upsell yourself when you describe what your previous and current roles involved. Make sure you mention things like stepping in to cover for your manager, even if only for a single meeting or when they were off for the day, leading project teams or initiatives, mentoring lower grade staff (that one can cover a lot of things, even just training new staff on your systems), planning and implementing process improvements (again, can cover pretty much anything) and don't forget 'teambuilding' if you've ever organised a night out or gone for coffee with your colleagues grin

Fairylea Sun 12-May-13 07:37:33

Ruffello - you're right, and it does work. I do people's cv's for them (more of a hobby now as i enjoy it) and one woman was 62 and returning to work for financial necessity after 20 years out of work. When I saw her initial cv she had a very long list of jobs and extensive work history which made it obvious how old she was. Sad but true employers don't tend to even interview older applicants. I shaved a lot of it off and tweaked it for her and she now has a job 4 days a week earning above minimum wage. She is very happy and told me recently she received a very good review at work.

Ruffello Sun 12-May-13 07:58:21

Wow - well done Fairylea. She obviously made a great impression at her interview, but she needed to get her foot in the door first, right?

Fairylea Sun 12-May-13 08:05:21

Yes definitely.

She had looked after her mother through terminal illness and she saw this as a negative thing to put on her cv and had more or less written one line about it but I showed her how to expand it to actually sell such a difficult and emotional experience to an employer (organising her mothers care teams, making sure medication was administered on time and to strict instructions, ensuring the paperwork relating to her mother's will was correctly filed and ordered etc etc.. all sounds a bit cold perhaps but it helped to show she still had a business mind).

lovefreelance Sun 12-May-13 10:48:42

Fariylea, I think as women we tend to overlook or undersell just that - the skills and experiences we gain in everyday life outside work. And sometimes with enforced or voluntary time out of our career raising children (or on your friend's case caring for her mother) we can see it as 'dead time' that detracts from our work achievements.

But instead we can look at all the things we do on an everyday basis and apply them to a work setting to demonstrate that we still have key work skills, and have maybe even acquired a few more! I always count my experience outside a normal work environment when telling clients what I am capable of doing.

mrs2cats Mon 13-May-13 13:31:31

Sorry to hijack thread.
Fairylea, how do you tweak a CV to disguise the age? I put down employment dates and it's also fairly obvious from my qualifications what my age is (O levels, degree etc).

Also, is it OK to omit qualifications if they're not relevant to the position or if you think you'll look overqualified? Wondering in particular about application forms where you sign that everything is correct. Some application forms state 'relevant qualifications', others ask for education history.

Fairylea Mon 13-May-13 14:20:53

Basically don't go back too far. Use your last 3 jobs and put the dates or last three relevant jobs and dont put dates. If you don't put the dates on then simply say how long you worked there for.... ie "stock controller for mumsnet ltd, 5 year period".

It might still be obvious you're a bit older but it's not the same as putting a year which makes it very obvious.

Definitely omit qualifications if they aren't relevant. And if you have o levels etc I would still put them on but I'd put them atthe end of the cv rather than at the beginning as hopefully they will be wowed by relevant experience etc l first.

mrs2cats Mon 13-May-13 14:31:01

Thanks Fairylea. That's been very helpful.

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