We were told Santa Claus existed. We were told the Easter Bunny existed. We were told our dog went to live on a ‘farm’ where he would be happier. And we believed them, unquestioningly, until we learned otherwise. We didn’t hold it against our parents for lying to us; we may have gotten upset, but we got over it. So a couple little white lies were told, big deal! Or is it?
In a recent conversation on LinkedIn, one participant posed a question, the gist of which could be construed as a little white lie. The issue at hand was that an applicant lied about their current employment status and it was only discovered after the offer letter was sent. Apparently even the references of the supposed current employer went along with the ruse to help her gain employment.
Little White Lie or major offense? According to the application, all information should be provided or it could result in rejection of application, termination, etc. The candidate clearly lied on her application. Do we need to consider the motivation behind it? Maybe. Do we need to have another conversation about it? Maybe. Do we need to sit her down and explain that because she lied, we now have a concern regarding trust, integrity and honesty? Maybe. Are we spending a lot of extra time on a candidate who misrepresented themselves? Definitely. Is it worth it? You tell me.
People say HR lies to employees all the time. How many times have we all heard, ‘No, there won’t be any more layoffs’, ‘It’s not a major issue, we’ll address it’, or ‘I’m sure this won’t be held against you’? When, in fact, just the opposite happens. But we continue to believe HR, because they are the ‘Human’ side to the company. If we can’t trust the Human side, who can we trust?
Should the same sort of forgiveness be extended to candidates? Depends on how you look at it. If you consider lying about current employment status to be a little white lie, you may forgive. If you consider it to be a major offense, you probably won’t.
Times are still tough, not just here in Detroit, but all over the country. Desperate times call for desperate measures, some say. If you have to compromise your integrity is it worth it? Won’t you forever be known as ‘the one who lied’? Is that the legacy you want to leave, even just through the interview process?
That’s up to you. It’s YOUR integrity in question. The truth will eventually come out. Where does that leave you then? Probably unemployed again, this time with a bit of a true blemish. Unless you decide to lie again…..
Wouldn’t it be easier, and more beneficial in the long run, to just be honest from the start? Tell me the truth and you’ll have an advocate for life. Lie to me and it’s over. Your choice.