Honesty, White Lies and Spin, Oh My! Is Honesty Really the Best Policy?
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Honesty, White Lies and Spin, Oh My! Is Honesty Really the Best Policy?

honesty in job interviewsThis article originally appeared in the Fall 2013 version of our Legallife Newsletter. Should you wish to subscribe, please click here and enter your email address.

Have you ever wondered if honesty really is the best policy during an interview? For those of you who have a spotless career record, you might want to skip this article; however, this is the perfect read for you if you’ve experienced any (or all) of the following:

  • Been fired from a previous employer
  • Have a less than stellar reference
  • A criminal record
  • Not as many qualifications or certifications as you’d like (under-qualified)
  • A skeleton in the closet you’re worried might make you look bad

First of all, we want you to know that it’s very common to have some employment baggage.  As recruiters, a large portion of our job is interviewing candidates and the biggest mistake we see when it comes to honesty is taking it from one extreme the other other.  Here are some guidelines on how to be honest during your next job interview:

Keep Your Resume Real

Do not lie on your resume. Even if your’e concerned about your lack of qualifications or certifications, a slight misrepresentation of the facts can result in disaster.  The good news is that you might get an interview.  The bad news is that the truth will most likely come out during your interview or when your references are checked. Honesty is really the best policy in this circumstance.

If you’re worried about your lack of qualifications, consider creating a functional resume which emphasizes experience.  You should also make sure your resume contains a skill section where you can highlight specific qualities that related to your desired job. Lastly, include a well written cover letter that shows the reader you’re an asset and also shows you’ve done your research when it comes to their company.

Don’t Bring it Up

This might seem like a no-brainer , but we’ve seen it happen before.  Omission is not a terrible thing if you’re not directly asked about a specific situation.  We know some people get very talkative when they’re nervous and interviews can be stressful.  The best advice we can give you is to answer the questions you’re asked and focus on why you would be a great addition to their company.

If you’re worried about your upcoming interview, here are some tips on how to stay calm:

  1. Rehearse your interview with a friend and ask for their feedback.
  2. Research common interview questions on the Internet.
  3. Remember your interviewer is a person just like you and they know you’re probably nervous.
  4. Relax!

Be Truthful About the Facts

if you’re asked a direct question (why you left your last job, etc.) and the answer is embarrassing or not positive, don’t try and embellish the facts or get out of the question.  As we mentioned above, it’s very rare to have a perfect job history.  Answer the question honestly and with a smile.  Don’t get defensive or blow the situation out of proportion either.  Most interviewers will appreciate your honesty and that can score you big points during the interview as well!

The best thing you can do during an interview is to highlight your positives. Be confident and proud of your skills and experience.  Even if you do have to talk about less than stellar experiences, impress your interviewer with your confidence and attitude.

By Samantha Collier

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About Samantha Collier

Samantha Collier is a well-respected social media specialist in the Canadian legal realm. An experienced practitioner of online social networking, Samantha also has experience working in-house in business development for a national IP firm, but has worked in marketing and client acquisition for over 13 years.

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  1. […] directly to the question, topic or idea at hand. You might be interested in our previous post about what to be truthful about during your job interview for more information on what to talk […]