4 Reasons You Should Never Lie About Your Job References to a Prospective Employer
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If you’ve got a brilliant job application, a fantastic cover letter and you have of industry know how, it would seem logical that any potential employer will hire you. But reference checks are to be expected when you’re looking to get a job, and it’s never a good idea to fake them.
It can be tempting in today’s crappy economy to fake references, in order to beef up your application or speed your way through the recruitment process. However, resume lies of any kind are always a bad idea. If you’re still thinking that you might be able to get away with it, here’s four reasons why it just won’t work:
1. Fake references are easy to discover
First and foremost, fake references are usually easy to see though. A potential employer will do at the very least reference checks, along with social media checks and even possibly a background check. Any job seeker should be prepared for this, and not being prepared with a referee in the form of previous employers or other colleagues shows employers that you’re not serious about the new job.
Having a friend pretend to be an employer can fail on many fronts – first, LinkedIn profiles and work history will give them away, and even if they don’t have an account, any real manager would have an account, so it looks doubly suspicious. On top of that, the hiring managers may ask questions that your manager would know, but your friend doesn’t, like your sales history and figures or how well you work with a particular operating system
Alternatively, trying to fool potential employers by providing false phone numbers or emails is just as bad. First, you’ll look unprofessional when the company can’t get ahold of them, and then like an idiot when they look up contact numbers on LinkedIn or call your workplace, at which point you risk either getting a bad reference or being found out, which leads to the next point:
2. Fake references guarantee you won’t get the job if you’re found out
If honest people find out you’ve lied to them, that’s it for you. We’ve all gone through a job search, and potential employers will automatically knock you out of the process if you give a fake reference in respect to the other people applying for the job. It may also ruin other chances with future employers, as you never know where the hiring team will end up, and if all they remember about you was that you gave a fake reference, they won’t consider you next time round, either. For more information read this article on how to choose the right referee.
3. Even if your reference works, you work history or job interview may give you away
You may get lucky and get away with a fake reference if you’ve got another one that’s legit. But in today’s job market, there’s every chance that in the job interview they’ll ask you about that job or that employer that you won’t be able to answer.
Face to face interviews mean that you don’t have time to come with a back up plan, so if they ask something you can’t respond to, they’ll want to know why. Plus, the recruitment process can be brutal, especially for big companies that run assessment centres, and wouldn’t it be awkward to be in assessment centre with someone who actually works for the company you’ve pretended to is your past company?
references are typically asked for
4. Even if you get the new job, you may not have the needed skill set
Let’s say you get the job offer and accept it. Now you’re working for a new company with a new job title, having lied about past job titles being similar, backed up by someone who lied to get you the job. What happens when they ask you to do something that you can’t do? Or, when someone asks for career advice, you can’t give it? Or, even worse, when you go to a networking event, and hello, there’s your actual ex-employer, who knows full well that they didn’t give you a reference. Your new company will get a bit of a reality check, and in all probability, you’re left without a job, without a reference, and in a worst case scenario, a lawsuit that includes a serious look at your form W2.
Let’s be honest – real life isn’t Suits. Not having a reference implies a bigger problem – that you may not be qualified for the job. The old saying “honesty is the best policy” is just as true here as it is in life. It’s so easy to do a google search and have what could have been a career builder turn into a disaster.
In the long run, you’re better to list someone as a personal reference or do some volunteer work to get a work reference than to lie about it and, best case scenario, not get the job, and worst case scenario, get a criminal record.