In my last blog, we discussed three ways job-seekers ruin their own employment potential by making adjustments to the truth when completing job applications. The “Sample Platter, Educational Round Up” and “Excluding Employment Gaps,” were described in Lies by Omission, Permission & More, (Part 1). Today we will discuss three additional traps you should avoid when completing applications.
More often than not, most of us wish we made more money during some or all previously held positions. After all, we’re only human. If you ever feel the need to adjust your previous salaries, (up or down for that matter) consider yourself permanently out of the running for this particular opportunity or any other if you’ve done this type of adjusting before.
Downsizing Criminal Backgrounds
Unless your background is clean, don’t rush into completing this area without reading the entire question. When asked, “Have you ever had a misdemeanor or felony,” know that “ever” means from birth to present, with no exceptions. However, when asked “Have you had a felony or misdemeanor within the last five to seven years,”a clearly defined timeframe has been designated. Respond appropriately with yes or no. Also add, “Will discuss in Person” and be willing to do just that with full disclosure in person with the employer. Explain how you learned from the experience and that you are highly unlikely to repeat that mistake in the future.
Top professional references have a definite hierarchy. First round draft picks traditionally includes former managers, supervisors, team leaders or whomever you took directions from. Use someone familiar with your knowledge, skills, abilities and performance. If these references are for any reason unattainable consider a person in the Human Resources department who can verify your credentials. The next professional level may include a colleague who can easily speak to your job specific skills on a personal level. However, please don’t ask a friend to switch identities and pretend to be your manager in order to meet qualifications. You would have then succeeded in destroying reputations of two people.
“But, my situation is unique…”
Of course it is! There isn’t a Workforce Solutions training facilitator among us who hasn’t heard this phrase voiced by well-intentioned job seekers who choose to give themselves “permission” to tweak applications to match employer expectations. Yes, you and your integrity are indeed unique; stay true to the former while preserving the latter!
HR has the ability to run complete background checks including: citizenship, employment, education, financial, salary and criminal. The internet (a simple Google search), and specialized HR software are prime resources. When faced with suspicious applications employers simply move on to the next candidate. And because so many job-seekers resort to “truth shifting” it makes it extremely hard for honest candidates to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, up-front trust then becomes a rare and precious commodity. And, in the end we all lose.
Frieda Carmouche is a member of the Regional Facilitator team specializing in training, educating and assisting students, job seekers, employers and career center staff throughout the Gulf Coast region, regardless of abilities. She obtained her BFA in Graphic Communications and minored in Psychology from The University of Houston. Frieda, a native Houstonian with a love of training and development, and has been employed by Workforce Solutions for over 10 years.