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8 ways to improve quality of life at work

Learn to separate who you are from your job

By Kate Lorenz

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Lies Can Kill Your Chances of Getting Hired

Kate Lorenz, Editor




Truth be told, most of us have told a lie, even if it was just a little one, at some point in our lives. The dog didnít really eat that homework when we were kids. And the ìrealî reason we came home two hours past our curfew was, well, our own business. It can be very tempting to fabricate a little tale now and then to defuse a situation and avoid a punishment. But letís raise the stakes a little.

Letís say thereís a plumb job on the line and you donít have ìquiteî the right qualifications. Would a little fudging on your resume be such a big deal? Hey, you know you can do the job. Or, what if youíve made a mistake somewhere in your past and ended up on the wrong side of the law? Nobody needs to know about that. After all, everyone deserves a second chance, right?

It's quite possible that white lies and the omission of blemishes on your record could cripple your future.

ìI have no use for someone who lies on their resume. Fudging virtually anything is unacceptable from a recruiterís perspective,î warns Dave Theobald, CEO of Netshare, a subscription-based career network for executives.

The big concern for companies seems to be that if you lie here, where will you stop lying? But if youíre not applying for a position as Notre Dame football coach or running for public office, will anyone find out? Chances seem to be getting better that someone will.

Companies are more and more often relying on background checks and employee screening services to keep the bad apples from getting in the door. Recent high exposure business scandals have not helped the chances of remaining undiscovered. Public companies and their employees are under a new scrutiny. ìIt has even led many companies to establish a new ëC-Levelí role: Chief Reputation Officer,î says Theobald.

Barry Nadell of InfoLink Screening Services, Inc., a nationwide provider of employment background checks and drug testing, says, ìEmployers who donít perform criminal background checks may not know the correct history of an applicant and can open themselves up to negligent hiring liability.î Add the fact that some clients are requiring search firms to carry liability insurance in case a hired candidate turns out to be ënot as advertised,í and you realize, in this day and age, a background check is likely to be more than just a formality.

So what should you do if youíve got something of this nature in your past? Or worse, yet, what if you lied about it on your resume and now your big secret is about to be uncovered?

ìTruth is the only way out,î says Roz Usheroff, business image and communication consultant.

ìExplain the circumstances, what was happening in your life at the time, what lessons youíve learned as a result.î

Beth Schoenfeldt, corporate coach and CEO of FLOinc, agrees. ìApologize and take responsibility, then explain. Ask to be judged on your current performance.î

If your boss decides to spare you the ax, your next priority is re-establishing trust in yourself. ìBe willing to put in any ësafetyí measures so your current boss feels completely safe having you in the job,î Schoenfeldt says. Usheroff concurs. ìIt will take at least six months to a year displaying consistent honorable behavior to shift perception. Knowing how you want to be perceived is the first step.î

All well and good, but if you were honest in the first place, would you have gotten the job you wanted or really needed?

Schoenfeldt offers this perspective: ìI recently had a client face a situation where she didnít have the ëcorrectí background for the job. She admitted this right away but said that she knew she could do it, told them why and said if given the chance she wouldnít let them down. This approach will save much embarrassment and many problems down the road. People get hired all the time based on enthusiasm and motivation.î

© Copyright 2005. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority
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