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The Honest Truth - Why Your Job Search Is Falling Short

Remember being a kid and trying to hide stuff from your parents? Like breaking mom’s favorite vase (and blaming your little brother). Or dinging the neighbor’s car with a line drive...tip-toeing away afterward. All the while thinking you were getting one over on your folks.

It never worked.

Your parents already knew the truth before ever asking what happened. They were giving you one final chance to redeem yourself before laying down the law. When met with honesty, they tended to be a bit more lenient. But when half-truths and lies were on tap, it was game over.

This same scenario plays out when it comes to job searches. Some candidates choose to inflate their qualifications to land a better position. As we’ll explain though, this is a strategy that you’ll want to avoid.


While you may want to embellish details during your job search, this tactic can backfire. Getting caught tarnishes your reputation and leads to missed opportunities.

Here are six vital areas where honesty impacts your chances of being hired.

1. Be Honest On Your Resume - the most common mistake out there. According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 56% of candidates were caught lying on their resumes.

Whether it's exaggerating about experience, bloating major accomplishments, or claiming education you don’t have - stretching the truth is never a good idea.

First, you WILL get caught. A quick background check will verify all that you have purported to be true. And if the employer uncovers dishonesty on your resume, forget about landing the job.

Like your parents, if the interviewer asks about a resume topic, they already know the answer. They’re just checking to see if you do.

2. Be Honest About Your Salary - both in terms of what you made before and expect going forward. While it’s tempting to “pad” your last income to boost your new salary, don’t give in to temptation.

Based on market research, your interviewer will already know what you’re making. If not, they can call your previous HR department to confirm your final salary. For competitive positions, don’t be surprised if asked for copies of old pay stubs or W-2 forms to prove your income.

It’s not worth the risk.

You can (and should) ask for the value you bring to the table. But don’t lie about what you made before as the justification for your request.

3. Be Honest About Your Knowledge and Experience - a major sore spot with employers. Surveys have shown that lying about skill sets accounts for 62% of resume errors. Making it the largest perpetrator out there.

Keep in mind that every word you speak is being analyzed during your interview. Claiming skill sets you do not have is a quick way to lose favor with those conducting the meeting.

Seasoned interviewers recognize incorrect terminology or thought patterns. Not to mention that lying and assuming you’ll just “wing it” never works out.

4. Be Honest About Other Offers You Are Considering (Including Internal Ones) - While the rationale here makes sense, the implementation usually ends up being a mess. Job search candidates sometimes keep offers close to the vest as a form of leverage. The thought being that they’ll “play” offers off one another to gain a better outcome.

Companies put a lot of time and money into recruiting new candidates. They want people who are serious about filling vacant positions and are ready to commit. Using strong-arm tactics like competing offers may quickly turn a productive meeting into wasted time.

It’s okay to have other offers. But be upfront with recruiters and potential employers about what you’re considering. When it comes to job searches and extending offers, no one likes last minute surprises.

5. Be Honest About Why You’re Looking For A New Job - and what you hope to gain from it. Some candidates hold back about why they are unhappy with their current position. In most cases, they don’t want new employers to believe that they’re complainers and may cause problems.

However, being honest usually has the opposite effect. It allows employers to know what’s important to you and if their new position will meet those needs.

After all, it’s better to know if it’s a wrong fit (for either party) before expending too much time or energy.

6. Be Honest If You’re Not Feeling The Job - but keep an open mind nonetheless. If you are not interested in a job, don’t go through the motions for no reason. Employers want people who are enthusiastic about their careers. People who make a difference in the workplace.

Not those looking for a new job that “sucks less” than their current one.  

It’s OK if you are unsure of a potential opportunity, but have the courtesy to remain present until you learn more. You may find that you love the position once you get all the details. But even if you don’t, at least you’ll know that you were open-minded about the possibility.


It’s human nature to stretch the truth sometimes. Bragging about how many pushups you can do, the price of that new dress, or your handicap in golf. While most tales are innocent, omitting facts or lying on your resume is not.

If you want to land that dream job, it’s important to start off on the right foot. Being honest about your attributes is the first step in getting there. Besides, enthusiasm and energy are two of the main qualities that employers look for. If you have those - and at least a basic skill set for the job - everything else is negotiable.

Having trouble balancing confidence and honesty during interview questions? We can help.

Together- We Succeed!
Chase & Associates

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