Tell the Whole Story

  • Posted by: Chaloner


As we get to know our clients and candidates, we ask them to tell us about their previous interview experiences.

Hiring managers have countless tales of bad interview experiences ranging from candidates being late, not doing their research and not following up after the interview.  But the most aggravating part of the talent search process is when candidates withhold information or are not truthful.

Candidates will often share their frustrations about the process itself (or lack thereof) including clear, consistent communications throughout the process.
If you are interviewing for a job, whether it is because you need one or are interested in a very specific role, be truthful and forthcoming with the person you deem as your advocate during the process. This might be the recruiter or the hiring manager- whoever you have had the most contact with and feel most comfortable with.

Tell the whole story about your past.

Education, dates of employment, salary, job titles, experience- it is never okay to lie about of these details in person or on paper.  Even if you get through an interview, there will still be a background check and reference check. What may feel like a small embellishment is a huge red flag for someone who doesn’t know you at all. Instead of

covering up a gap in employment or adding a responsibility you didn’t actually fulfill, address the area of weakness with honesty and a positive mind to the future. As Jenny Foss of told US News,  “Your best defense is almost always a good offense.”

Tell the whole story about your search.

Be honest with the recruiter and hiring manager if you are pursuing other opportunities.

If the role is across the country and you have no intention of relocating, don’t lead them on. If something changes in your employment status during the search, keep the hiring party up to date. This transparency will not only help your contact to be a better and more informed advocate, but you want to maintain relationships with the hiring manager and recruiter in the long term regardless of how this opportunity pans out. Being duplicitous in how you conduct your search can burn bridges and damage your reputation.

Tell the whole story about the feedback.

For those of us on the other side of the table, let’s hold ourselves to the same standard by providing prompt updates and honest feedback. Even if you don’t have all the answers yet, let candidates know where the process is at and when you expect to have more information. If you have reactions you can share- be it constructive criticism or encouragement- do so.

It’s not always easy to tell the whole story right from the start. But it’s much easier than digging yourself out of a false version of the story later on.