Lying to Job Candidates Is a Very Bad Idea!

“Lying is rarely a good idea because there are always consequences when the truth is revealed.” Jeannette Seibly

Did you know 40% of hiring managers lie to job candidates? (ERE Daily)

When you consider that many believe lying is acceptable, little white lies, unintended lies, and even whoppers don’t seem like a big deal.

Lies can occur:

  • During the interview when you fail to use a well-designed selection system
  • When relying on outdated job descriptions to describe work responsibilities
  • When making job offers and failing to include promises or deny having made them

Examples include:

  • Plan on a one-hour interview, but it lasts for 2-hours
  • We have a two-week holiday break in December, but the expectation is that you’ll work during that time
  • Remote working is touted, but you need to live within a limited distance from the office
  • Your health insurance starts on day 1, after a waiting period
  • We provide career pathing, failing to mention it’s a goal, but not a priority
  • We’ll decide in one week, but fail to communicate when no decision has been made

Why does lying hurt your company, business, and reputation? You lied!

Applicants today are looking for bosses and companies they can trust!

Yes, I understand 90% of resumes contain inaccuracies, embellishments, and flat-out lies!

But you need to take the high road! Why?

Lies have consequences, even though there is a false belief that lying is acceptable.

The reason? It’s called integrity … and you cannot control integrity or manipulate it. Eventually, somebody will tell the truth or the lie will be discovered. Then, job candidates and employees will leave, costing you customers (current and future), reputation, top talent, and EEO claims of discrimination!

Example (this is based on a true story and fictionalized): Michelle interviewed for a position as a purchasing agent. The interviewer and hiring boss lied, saying they would have a job offer extended to her in two weeks. The two weeks came and went without any word from them, nor did they return Michelle’s calls.

In the meantime, Michelle accepted a job offer to be a Purchasing Manager at another company. 

In her new role, Michelle was responsible for vetting potential suppliers. She informed the company who lied to her about the job offer that her new employer would not be purchasing their products and services. When they asked why? “You lied. How can I trust you to deliver these orders on time and within budget?

How to Stop Lying!

First, create and follow a well-designed strategic selection system for hiring, job transferring, or offering job promotions. Ensure all hiring managers are trained annually on how to use the system and hold them accountable. Using a selection system reduces the need to lie, embellish the truth, or make promises that cannot be fulfilled. You will see your retention increase and your ability to attract top talent!

Talk Straight. When you make promises during the interview, be sure you have the authority to do so. Write them down and store in an electronic file. Include these promises in job offer letters to ensure everyone is on the same page. Promising to think about honoring the promise in the future spells disaster.

Communicate the Truth. Tell the truth about what the job candidates can expect, especially regarding any known or potential changes.

Example: Do NOT hire a manager (or higher-level boss) to clean up a team or department. The new boss may not agree with your assessment, or the company’s, on who to fire or keep! (Some are more concerned about being liked than cleaning up issues.) Make your team and department changes first! Remember, any new boss hired to “clean up a team or department” will not become a long-term employee since other employees will hold it against them.

Transparency is a Good Thing. If there are factions, limited budget dollars, cultural challenges, and/or mediocre quality issues, share them with the job candidate. After all, you want the person you hire to resolve the problems, not make them worse or be complacent.

Respect Starts with You! Yes, many job candidates lie or embellish their credentials. But two wrongs don’t make a right! That’s why you use a strategic job fit system to weed them out! But if you’ve been honest with them about work hours, job expectations, and growth potential, that’s respect!

©Jeannette Seibly 2023 All Rights Reserved

Jeannette Seibly is a champion for bosses and teams delivering intended results. Does your company or department have a persistent problem? Jeannette’s depth of experience and wisdom guides clients to achieve intended dynamic results consistently! Contact Jeannette for a confidential discussion.

A note from Jeannette about why lying to job candidates is a bad idea: How do you feel when someone lies to you? While you may believe it’s not a big deal, you stop trusting them! The same is true when you lie to job candidates. Please read about overcoming the need to lie during the selection process; this will improve your ability to attract and retain top talent. Contact me for a confidential conversation about becoming an employer of choice! 

The coach is in! Are you ready to build your confidence and success as a boss? A great boss uses an experienced executive coach as a sounding board. I have extensive experience and wisdom guiding bosses and leaders to hire, coach, and manage their teams. Along the way, they achieve unprecedented results. Contact me to learn more about my in-depth, one-on-one, customized coaching programs. Remember, your ability to lead depends on your effectiveness in hiring, coaching, and managing your teams, onsite and remote.

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