Is Honesty The Best Policy?

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Have you ever lied in an interview or at work? The answer is probably. Basic human instinct is survival… therefore, exaggerating, omitting and embellishing the truth are often used to cut ahead of the rest in order to get hired or promoted. In an ideal world in which career progression were easy, honesty would of course be the best policy. But with youth unemployment at 22.8%[i] in France and promotions harder to come by, how much do you need to lie to survive in the recruitment process or is honesty really the best policy?

 

The CV

 

The first impression an employer gets from a candidate is their CV… it’s sink or swim!  It is not surprising that 53% of CVs contain falsehoods to survive this stage[ii].  These falsehoods may consist of made-up experiences or skills and even stretching dates of employment, resulting in a more employable and impressive candidate. But beware… whitewashing the truth on your CV rather than merely embroidering it is becoming more dangerous. There has been a recent rise in pre-employment screenings caused by the high demand for jobs; now candidates that have lied are being found out in the first round.

 

The Interview

 

The second impression that an employer gets in the recruitment stage comes from the interview. Candidates will primarily be asked about their CV and if they have not been honest they risk getting caught in their own web of lies and botching their interview.  Some questions, however, may require the candidate to exclude information and facts. Common interview advice is to avoid any negativity towards previous jobs. If asked “Why did you leave your previous job?” an honest reply such as “because I hated my boss…” is not an appropriate answer. Omission of the truth can often be essential in order to keep within the professional boundaries of an interview and to ensure a good impression is made.

 

The Workplace

 

Once in the workplace, careful attention must be paid. Lies are regularly used as a safety net to avoid punishment having made an error. Excuses such as “My alarm clock didn’t go off this morning” should be left in the playground as an apology is more effective in these menial cases. In more serious cases lying to cover up fatal errors or to put yourself ahead of anyone else is more treacherous. This can result in chronic lies causing paranoia and insecurities within the workplace until the truth eventually comes out. In fact, 15% of employees in today’s businesses have been caught lying while at work[iii]. Once found out as a liar the employee’s relationships and reputation will be permanently damaged and they risk losing their job.

Most bosses will be appreciative when told the truth rather than a cover up. Honesty is viewed as courageous whereas dishonesty is cowardice. Statistically, employees who told fewer lies had better relationships and smoother interactions within the workplace[iv]. An honest employee’s credibility and integrity speaks for itself, giving that person increased opportunities since the honest employee has proven themselves.  Furthermore, the peace of mind associated with a moral outlook in the office will result in higher productivity and happiness.

The Answer

In conclusion, there is far more to lose than gain from lying. When applying for a job it is understandable to want to present yourself in the most flattering light, especially in the current market. However, honesty is also highly valued and appreciated in the workplace and can be counted on as the best policy. The advice to give would be: Do not have a reason to be dishonest in the first place. Prove yourself to be a great candidate and employee on your own merit rather than lie and risk your reputation and job.

 

 Alternatively, lie your way to the top… just don’t get caught!

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What to do while you are unemployed.

We are all aware of increased levels of unemployment thanks to the current economic climate. A further issue that those currently unemployed have to deal with is the fact that periods of unemployment currently tend to last longer than before. Job seekers often worry therefore that large gaps between jobs will look unimpressive on their CV and that employers will be consequently less likely to hire them. Is this really something that could hinder your progress in the job search? What should you be doing while you are unemployed to increase your marketability?

According to a recent survey, 40% of current job seekers have been out of work for more than six months. Many of us worry that such long gaps will hinder our chances of landing a job. The same survey suggests that this is not an issue however, stating that most employers are sympathetic to gaps on candidate CVs. This is the case particularly in the current climate, with 85% of employers stating that they are now more understanding of job gaps post-recession. This is not an excuse to sit back and rest on your laurels, however. Agreed, you can’t job hunt constantly – being on the hunt eight hours a day, seven days a week would drive you mad – but this time is valuable and can be used to benefit you and your job search in a broader sense. Filling these gaps with activities and experience that broaden and develop your skill set will encourage employers to look past your gap in employment and to focus on your increased suitability for the role.

So the general consensus is; don’t sit around waiting for the perfect job to fall into your lap, as the chances are it won’t! Skills can be lost if they are not utilised, so find temporary or volunteer work through which you can develop them. This shows employers that you enjoy using your skills, are raring to go and have made the most of your time. Similarly, taking a class is useful to broaden your skills. This could be your perfect opportunity to develop a relevant new skill, learn a new language or try something out that you have never had time for before. Taking a class shows employers that you are serious about what you do. Not only that, but it is good mental stimulation and gives focus, while helping to keep spirits up.

A period of unemployment is understandably a great time to network. Taking a class or doing temporary or voluntary work relevant to your field is a perfect way to do just that. As well as making new connections, you will be showing others what you can do and getting yourself known; far better than falling off the radar and sitting at home refreshing Monster! Another way to network is writing a blog. As well as helping you to network without seeming desperate, a blog will give you motivation to stay up to date with current issues relevant to your sector.

The overall goal for anybody looking for a job is to be marketable. Developing relevant skills and increasing your experience ensures just that, so a period of unemployment is the ideal time to come closer to this goal. Use your time wisely and it may well lead you to just the job you’ve been looking for.

Good Luck!