… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

Bad Advice

Sometimes on the drive in to work I listen to a local radio station. Such an antiquated concept I know, what in this age of iPods, Pandora, and Satellite Radio but hey I only live 4 miles away and it’s nice to try something different. Funny how something that used to be a primary form of entertainment has now been regulated to something novel and old school, but I digress.

The other morning I tuned in to hear the DJ’s trying to solicit feedback from listeners on tips for landing your dream job. Naturally, my ears perked up. Who doesn’t want to hear about people who found their dream job and how they got it? Don’t we all want that too? So imagine my surprise when one caller offered this piece of advice: Lie.

Yup, lie. Lie on your resume, set up fake references, lie in the interview. Lie, lie, lie. 10 years ago she lied about everything to get a job and it worked! She’s still in that job too and clearly doesn’t regret what she did at all. In fact, she said in these tough economic times it’s more important to do things like that.

Sigh. Look, I’m not some naive HR pro who thinks that people are 100% honest with me, all the time. Who is? And people often get away with and benefit from deceit, even on this magnitude. The world is unfair.

But in the last 10 years the world has also changed quite a bit. Background checks, Google, skills testing, and more are now commonplace parts of the recruiting process. The world is smaller, better connected, and more transparent. I’m not saying lying doesn’t still happen of course, but things aren’t as easy as they once were. And even if you get hired, what happens when they expect you to start doing all those things that you promised you could do? Lying on an application is grounds for immediate termination at most companies. Good luck explaining that to future employers, though I guess you could lie about that too.

And let’s not forget the morality of the situation. How questionable is her integrity that she thinks what she did was perfectly reasonable, much less be willing to brag about it on air? That is not the type of person I want working for me or any company I support. Haven’t we had enough examples recently of how this kind of attitude has brought down whole companies and even economies? It’s the same sort of thing.

I’ve been hit by this economy too. I’ve been laid off, suffered through months of unemployment, and could very easily end up in that situation again. Times are tough right now. But this kind of self-centered, anything-goes-as-long-as-I-get-what-I-want kind of behavior isn’t the solution. And if/when, it comes back to bite you in the ass it will be that much harder to recover from.

But in the end, you are ultimately the one who has to decide what is or is not acceptable. Is it only bad advice if you choose to take it?

9 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 chris :

    Nice. I often wonder how people get jobs that they are not qualified for, and the lie is a key part of it. The bad news is, with so many folks lying on their resume it’s became the new “celebrity sex tape” it’s expected and no one cares. 🙁

  • 2 Shauna :

    Chris – It’s the “no one cares” part that makes my brain hurt. People SHOULD care. But then I think of all the broken companies that still manage to function year after year and realize that some companies and people succeed in spite of themselves. Sigh.

  • 3 Jason :

    Well said. The frustrating part is how common lying on resumes and job applications is — not so much about qualifications, but more so regarding skills (excellent written communication skills, for example).

    My previous position was one in which I did the bulk of the hiring for a small nonprofit (one that helped young ex-offenders assimilate into the workforce, ironically). Probably 90% of the resumes touted “excellent” communication skills — yet maybe 15% of my hires actually possessed them. Unfortunately I’d usually find out after the fact. Rarely would those folks that misrepresented their skill sets last long.

    Point being — lying about skills and aptitude is rarely a good thing. While it might secure a short term win, the chances of it leading towards long-term success like the caller stated in the blog post are slim indeed.

  • 4 John Hunter :

    You are right. It is a shame some people have such a bad ethical sense and so little concern for others that they would contemplate such actions. For those that insist on acting unethically we can hope that they are caught and others don’t suffer as a result of their inconsiderate actions.

    If you want something, pursue it honestly. Put in the effort.

  • 5 Shauna :

    Jason – I agree, it does seem self-destructive in the long run.

    John – “Pursue it honestly” very well put, thanks. 🙂

  • 6 Althea :

    Lying won’t work today in my opinion, background checks in social networks and some google search can make some difference in hiring these kind of people.

  • 7 Stuart :

    It is getting harder though, isn’t it? To lie? With your LinkedIn profile out there in the public eye (not to mention the now obligatory Google search), it’s kind of dumb now, don’t you think?

    Shauna, today’s comic (http://onefte.com/2011/10/16/where-have-all-the-good-people-gone/) was inspired by this post (and credited).

    Thanks for the idea! 🙂

  • 8 Shauna :

    Stuart – Aww! I ‘m totally blushing over that! So awesome, thanks!

  • 9 Shauna :

    Althea – Yeah, you gotta love the google 🙂