Honesty not always the best policy

Jun 24 2003 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Jobseekers should be careful about what they post on reunion website Friends Reunited because some employers are using it as a 'third reference', according to a London-based recruitment company.

The agency, Media Contacts, claims that the site dedicated to letting your old school acquaintances know what you have been doing since leaving school, has led to candidates losing job offers.

Gordon Cherrington of Media Contacts said: "People should think carefully what they say about employers - past and present - and themselves in any online public domain. Having fun and demonstrating a sense of humour is in general a good thing, though negativity in any form rarely reflects well on the writer".

The company decided to warn jobseekers about the pitfalls of advertising themselves too honestly after a number of candidates had their job offers withdrawn or were forced to quit when comments they published on the Friends Reunited website were revealed.

According to Media Contacts, an account manager for a PR company was pushed into resignation after her bosses discovered that she described her boss as a 'bitch from hell' and her employers as 'a bunch of cowboys'.

A senior sales executive was apparently sacked from his job after it was discovered that he only got his last job by 'lying through his teeth at the interview' and admitted his CV was 'a masterpiece of fiction and creative writing'.

Another example of honesty not being the best policy was when a media sales executive had a job offer withdrawn when the potential employer discovered that the applicant only planned to stay in London for a few months before embarking on a world tour.

Research by The Risk Advisory Group earlier this year found that half of CVs submitted by job applicants in 2002 contained lies or inaccuracies, a rise of 15 per cent over last 12 months.

So let's be honest here: what tricks or 'techniques' have you used - or seen - to improve your CV or Resume. Or are you one of the honest ones?

Older Comments

From my experience in recruitment (more than 10 years), I'd estimate that a good half of CVs are less-than strictly honest. Even very senior execs will shift things around and guild the lilly to suit their purposes. 'Massaging' dates seems to be the most common one.

Nick B. London

Isn’t it a shame when blatant opportunities to enhance the reputation of your organisation are missed? You must exploit talent and potential not penalise employees for showing it.

If organisations are prepared to take the trouble of trawling third party web sites to garner employee home truths, why won’t they bother to find out first hand?

Here’s an idea, ask people what they think about their working environment and encourage them to improve it?

The benefits in terms of boosted morale and confidence will far out way any negativity. Isn’t it a fact that if you encourage people to tell the truth they won’t feel the need to make snide criticisms where your customers and competitors will see them?

What should be more important than negative comments in public places is that someone should feel them. Have you investigated claims that her boss ‘was the bitch from hell’? Not to apportion blame, but to create the environment where people and ultimately your business can flourish.

The senior sales executive who admitted his CV was ‘a masterpiece of fiction and creative writing’ could have been made the most loyal of employees with just a little creative management. A civil meeting between the parties to discuss the situation and consider how his or her creative writing skills could be used to the benefit of the sales division, would have been far more insightful.

A thoughtful management strategy spreads quickly throughout your organisation and will pay dividends for years to come. You can be sure that the way that these situations are managed will be known by all in short order, and you can exploit that opportunity with ingenuity or incomprehension.

With which would you rather be associated?

René Da Costa