Suspicious-looking employer

The six lies that employers will most often tell you

Written by Peter Harris
Posted on June 22, 2015

We recently received some media coverage for telling Canadians that they are lying about the wrong things in their resumes. What many people found interesting was the fact that Workopolis would suggest people should tell any lies at all on the job hunt. But that’s how the game is played. [See: The most common lies in Canadian resumes (and what you should actually lie about instead).]

And the fact is, most potential employers are going to lie to you at various stages of the recruitment process too. Employers commonly tell you as many white lies as necessary to protect themselves legally or simply to avoid awkwardness. Here are some of the falsehoods you’re almost certain to hear while on the job hunt.

Six lies that employers will tell you:

    The salary for the position depends on experience (or is non-negotiable). While it is probably true that the hiring manager has been given a budget for a role – salaries are almost always negotiable. And leaving out regulations in unionized environments, salaries aren’t actually based on ‘experience.’ They’re based on how much the employer wants to hire you. If a company thinks that you will be a great asset to their team, and can bring in great value, they’ll negotiate a much higher pay rate in order to bring you on board. This is based on your accomplishments and market value, not your number of years on the job.

    We’ll keep you in mind for future positions. Intentions might be good, but unless the person hired over you implodes quickly, this employer isn’t likely to go sifting through the resumes of candidates they didn’t choose last time for their next availability. If you’ve applied to a company and a year later you see a new job that you’re interested in posted, apply again. Don’t count on someone finding your resume ‘on file’ for the job.

    We’ve found a more qualified candidate. Actually, the most-qualified candidate rarely gets hired. What more likely happened is that the company found another applicant who they felt was a better fit with the team. Hiring managers chose people that they like and who they think that they will enjoy working with the most.

    You seem like a great fit, we just have a few more candidates to speak with still. While this sounds promising, I wouldn’t recommend calling off your job search in order to stay home and wait by the phone. Keep looking until you’ve signed a contract. This is just as likely to mean that the employer wasn’t blown away by your candidacy, but they want to keep you on the hook in case a stronger applicant doesn’t turn up. You’re Plan B.

    We’ll make a final decision once we’ve spoken with your references. The employer will in fact be checking your references at this point before making you a firm offer. What they don’t say is that they will also be asking around their networks to see if anyone knows someone who has worked with you in the past. They’ll be Googling you, and they’ll be checking your social media profiles. Red flags in any of these can derail your chances.

    We’ll be in touch shortly. They might be in touch shortly. They may be planning to, but hiring often takes longer than employers think. Budgets need to be approved and are often tweaked or cut with little or no notice. Stakeholders have to approve new headcounts. 44% of candidates say that they never heard back from the employer at all after their most recent interview. Which is just rude.

Employers are going to be taking some liberties with the truth when communicating with you, Which is why we recommended that candidates equally gloss over the truth to put a positive spin on their stories. On both sides, it’s politics. It’s Public Relations. See Business Insider’s coverage of our recommended lies to tell on the job hunt.

See also:
The most common lies in Canadian resumes (and what you should actually lie about instead)
The Pinocchio effect: How to spot a liar
Five job interview secrets that employers don’t tell candidates
Warning signs that you’re about to lose your job


Peter Harris
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