Never lie in your job application!

By Eric He, Division Manager – Links International Shanghai

I learnt a very valuable lesson with regards to the job application process from an executive search consultant I know: candidates should never lie in their job applications! She presented one of her former candidates to a senior position at a multinational organisation. After several rounds of interviews, she found out that the candidate had not been telling the truth: he had already left the company that he claimed to still be working for, and, what’s more, he had left almost seven months before! In order to make his story more believable, he had even told the recruitment consultant that he would soon be travelling to one of the manufacturing sites and therefore needed to know the interview results as soon as possible. He hadn’t just avoided the truth; he had gone out of his way to lie about his current situation!

This is of course an extreme example. Yet, as a candidate, when going through the process of a job application, you may sometimes find yourself at a crossroads of whether or not to tell the truth in both your CV and interviews. For example:

  • Should I tell my potential employer that I am currently unemployed? I am afraid of losing this opportunity if they find out that I left my last job without another one lined up.
  • I left a company only three months after I joined; can I just delete it from my CV since it happened many years ago?
  • Can I lie about a job title from five years ago and put on my resume that it was more senior than it was?
  • Can I add more achievements to impress the interviewer, even though they aren’t true?

Let’s continue with the story that the executive search consultant shared with me. She told her client what she had discovered about the candidate who claimed to still be working at the company, despite having left months ago. After this discussion, naturally, the candidate lost his dream job before he even landed it and the consultant successfully placed another candidate in that role.

Everyone experiences different things in life; sometimes the experiences are good, and sometimes they are bad. Yet we can only learn from our experiences when we face them directly. For an employer, the most important soft skills that a candidate can display are honesty and confidence, so just be honest and confident when you are sharing an experience with your potential employer. The employer would still hire someone if they were currently unemployed, just as they would still hire someone who had a short tenure experience somewhere down the track, or if they were not yet at supervisor level five years after they started their career, provided the candidate ticked all other boxes.

What this lesson taught us is that, when applying for any role, no matter the level of seniority, as candidates, you must be careful with the decisions you make and do your best to avoid being in a passive situation. It is important to always be true to yourself and to your potential employers. This is the key to having a solid career path.

If you are looking for advice about your career, whether it’s regarding your CV, interview tips, or general career advice, please do not hesitate to contact us