Schafer: Lying to get a job is a sign of the times

  • Article by: LEE SCHAFER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 4, 2014 - 8:09 PM

Scroll through a discussion of long-term unemployment on the social news website Reddit and you’re likely to see a suggestion to lie to get a job.

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rayk1800Feb. 4, 1411:55 PM

Embellishing or lying on the resume isn't new. That's why the interview is important to find the facts. If the interviewer isn't knowledgeable, false statements can go unfounded. A good resume that fits the job might get an interview, but people don't get the job for many reasons. It's not just about can they do the work, how are they going to fit the environment, are they a leader or follower? No employer does the company justice by hiring or contracting someone based on a profile. Too high level.

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transplantedFeb. 5, 14 7:04 AM

And let's don't overlook the lying done by the prospective employer, too, to the candidates. Promises of follow-up that almost never occurs, misrepresentation of the hours or travel involved, as well as the reality of the situation you're stepping into, in some cases. And please don't send your Junior HR people to conduct screening interviews - they don't know how to evaluate talent or ask the right questions to even reveal who the most talented and qualified applicants are.

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mrlevityFeb. 5, 14 7:29 AM

"And let's don't overlook the lying done by the prospective employer, too, to the candidates." --- Or the lying done by the employer to their customers. Half of business success is being able to lie well. There's usually several companies offering more or less the same service and the business goes to the one who embellishes and/or misrepresents the best. And, of course, we could extend this line of thought much further in life. By all means, lie. You'll fit right in.

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plizzoFeb. 5, 14 7:42 AM

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The actual unemployment rate is 11.3% adding back all the millions of unemployed workers who lost jobs since 2009 and dropped out of the workforce (500,000 dropped out of the workforce in Dec. 2013 alone). So people will do or say ANYTHING to land a job. I have NEVER been a fan of the interview process. To be judged on poise, your mannerisms and quality of clothing has no bearing on one's ability to do the job. The problem is that if you start skills testing job candidates, you run into the potential for lawsuits because of "cultural bias". You can thank the Democratic Party for that, too. The best way for an employer to evaluate a candidate is to hire them as a temp for a period of time. Try before you buy.

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swmnguyFeb. 5, 14 9:12 AM

I've never gotten a job through an interview process. Every job I've gotten, I went and talked to the person who was directly responsible for getting the work done, who needed the help, who would be managing me. Yes, I have only worked for smaller companies, until I became self-employed 10 years ago. Once, after I was hired, I was asked to provide a resume for the company's files.

I have an older sister, however, who has always worked for larger companies as a senior paralegal. She's now 51 and can't find a job. She's been replaced in her last two positions by someone about 25, willing to do the work for less than half the money. She keeps getting nibbles here and there, but no job in 9 months. I don't think she'll ever get another job like she's had before.

I keep telling her she needs to stop looking for a "job," and instead focus on what her skills are and who needs them, and go talk to those people. Get some cheap business cards and go door-to-door to every small business within 20 miles, offering to go through their contracts and policies to find hidden gaps and landmines, on a strictly hourly, no-strings basis. I bet if she knocked on 100 doors, she'd get 3 "yes" responses, and then when she found a potentially business-threatening problem and showed them how to fix it, the business-owners would tell everyone they knew and within a few months she'd be too busy working to look for a job.

But she's still got it in her head that trusting her family's survival to some corporate chain of command represents "security," the evidence of her experience to the contrary. As the race to the bottom intensifies, the employer-employee relationship becomes even more toxic and falsely paternalistic, infantilizing employees and exalting employers. Especially in the corporate management model, it's an extremely unhealthy situation. As the article shows, it's turning people into liars just to survive.

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msimsiFeb. 5, 14 9:29 AM

Many (most? HR departments use length of unemployment as a screen for resumes. If you are unemployed for more than x months, your networking, your skills and your presentation don't matter. Your resume will be dumped. In the face of a hiring process that stupidly rigid, can anyone be surprised that lying would be the result?

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maximusdayusFeb. 5, 14 9:57 AM

I would never lie on a job application, because chances are good that you will be discovered, and either not hired or booted out with shame later. I understand why people would do it, though, because frankly many employers use illegal means of sifting through potential hires. Discrimination against older people is illegal, yet they do it routinely, and it is nearly impossible to prove that they did it. Job applicants should be judged only on the merits of their qualifications and skills, not on their age, yet employers do it all the time and are, as far as I know, never prosecuted for it. Shame on them!

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swmnguyFeb. 5, 1410:53 AM

I know a few people who work in corporate HR. They don't know anything about the jobs they are filling, for the most part. They are given a formula to use to select interviewees, and then and only then do the actual managers who need to get work done and will be supervising the new hires get involved. By that time, the vast majority of applicants have been screened out. So a 24 year-old with a year's work experience and a degree will beat out someone who has done the exact job for a decade, or someone who has done the pre-requisite job for a decade and is ready to move up.

Corporate HR is a formula for mediocrity. As we see all around us.

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starbyteFeb. 5, 1411:52 AM

When I hired a candidate that I discovered had lied on his resume and during the interview, I sent him to classes to get the skills that he was lacking. When he wouldn't practice and learn the stuff he had said that he already knew, I fired him. Years later in another position I came across his resume as a potential candidate. He was on his second interview and I called up the hiring manager and shared my experience. They canceled the second interview. If you lie and get a chance to recover, make EVERY EFFORT to do so. Don't be 'that guy'.

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timetofaceitFeb. 5, 14 1:22 PM

Why would you have to lie to get a job in these robust "Forward" economic times?

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