By Tiffany Kirton
How many times have we heard that honestly is the best policy? I know that I heard that a lot growing up, and for a good reason–relationships are built on trust. This principle especially holds true when you are working with a recruiter on a potential job opportunity. I have seen positions fall apart at the offer phase because of a candidate’s lack of honesty about something in their background or job history.
For instance, I had a candidate who completely lied about every job on his resume. He must not have believed that we actually do conduct reference checks. The deeper I dug into his work history, I learned that not one job on his resume matched the time frame or duration he claimed. We were forced to recommend that our customer not hire him even though his qualifications were a match.
Keeping important details to yourself can also taint your candidacy for any future positions with the same staffing agency. One of my candidates applied for a consulting position which would require him to drive out to various clients. When we did a background check and asked him for his driver’s license so the employer could get a bid on his auto insurance, we discovered that he had a DUI and no license. Not only did this candidate not get the job, but I will not send him out on any more interviews because his lack of honesty put me in a bad position with my customer.
I can assure you that if there is something we should know, it will inevitably surface at some point, and it is much better if it comes from you. Sometimes, being honest about something you consider to be a weakness or flaw can actually work in your favor. It shows that you recognize a problem area and want to learn from it and move forward. Or perhaps it will not be an issue at all.
One of my candidates shared that he had committed a very minor offense, a misdemeanor, way back when he was much younger. His references and job history since then reflected a committed, stable, reliable employee. When we ran the background check, the misdemeanor did not show up on his record. I appreciated his honesty and felt good about recommending him to our customer.
Another honest candidate who had applied for an accounting position shared that her ex-husband had previously ruined her credit. Because of her candor, I felt prepared when presenting her to the client and was glad I wouldn’t be blindsided when the subject came up. It turned out not to be an issue, and she got the job.
Building trust is the key to beginning any successful relationship. No one is perfect, and telling the truth about yourself right from the start is the best way to launch a relationship with both your recruiter and your future employer. Honesty is truly the best policy.
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