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Don't Lie To Me!

March 25, 2009
by Tim Tolan
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Telling a lie to your golfing buddy (unless it’s Bernie Madoff bragging about his golfing scores) is one thing. Telling a lie on an interview sort of changes the game – big time! Whether you decide to lie on your resume – or at the final interview the end game is always the same. Eventually you will get caught or at minimum you will have to keep up the lying game just to keep your story straight. Just ask the former coach of Notre Dame who was terminated after 5 days for lying on his resume. Not good.

Many of us have career experiences in our past that may be ugly and hairy. Being candid early in the process and making sure your resume is an accurate portrayal of who you are and what you have accomplished is…well, let’s just say it says a lot about who you really are. Honesty is the best policy and it is always best to put your cards on the table early in the process. Your little secrets (and your lying eyes) may not be a big deal to you – but you could blow your foot off during the final stages of the interview if you decide to drop the bomb at the end. OUCH!

A good search consultant should also be a good listener and he or she - while paid a fee by the client has a vested interest in presenting highly qualified candidates that meet and exceed the position profile. And Ethics matter - trust me. If you have experienced an issue during your career that you feel needs to be disclosed, let your search consultant know early on. If it is a big enough issue – they will tell you so.
If they tell you to lie about it or hide it – leave their office immediately. Run!

Honesty is the best policy. If you are not honest – anything can happen.

And I mean anything!

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Comments

Great stuff Joe! Thanks for sharing the clip. Playing the lying game is simply not a good plan. Love the reference to your wife not knowing you were a sports fan for a year Anthony! That's priceless!

Thanks Anthony. Great point.

When I was dating, I ate like a bird. Now, that bird is a vulture!

Tim. Of course, I totally agree. My feeling is that being honest up front allows you to craft the telling of any unfortunate tale, so you can be honest, while softening the blow, or telling your side of the story. If they discover it on the back end, or if you reveal it as a sheepish aside, they will always have more questions than you have good answers. Good spinmisters know they need to get out in front of a bad story, so should good job candidates. Thanks for the advice.

Gentlemen:

I am shocked at what I'm hearing. Thank God we women never change after saying, "I do." :D

G.

While this goes true for work relationships, it can be the wrong approach for personal ones. When courting, it's best to let your quirks appear slowly and stategically, lest you scare off the object of your affection. My wife often says, "For the first year, I didn't even know you liked sports."

Of course you didn't my dear. :)

Tim,
I totally agree as well. In fact, I think this is a special case of a more general rule "take risks early in your relationships, confronting the essential truths." It's generally disarming as you point out. Building relationships through disclosure is, by far, the most efficient way to do so.

For those with the time and inclination to hear more on this topic, I recommend this Morrie Shechtman video.  He starts off with accountability is fundamentally about creating relationships.  So, Tim, your guidance is very much on target.  The opposite of creating relationships, of course, is avoidance (the lie being an extreme, unforgivable form).

Morrie Shechtman

Anthony:
That's it in a nut shell. Early on - you have the advantage to tell your side of the story. If you wait until the end of the process and something comes out - you automatically go into a defensive posture - which is not where you want to be.
Bad news early can be good news — bad news late is usually really bad news...

Tim Tolan

Senior Partner, Sanford Rose Associates Healthcare IT Practice

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http://sanfordrose.net/thetolangroup/

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