White lie on CV because of desperation?

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Stolyarov Daniel
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#1
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#1
I have applied for a graduate job but since I have been unemployed for 6 months due to the mental health issues. I have decided to cover 3 months of that with "travelling". I also included in the work experience section the farm work (irrelevant work experience) that I did for a few months while travelling.

What are the chances that they will ask a reference for that job, and in that case what should I do? Should I say that it was an informal position? And will they check whether you actually travelled or not?
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Noodlzzz
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Why leave out mental health? You can't be discriminated against and it is a valid reason to be out of work...
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Stolyarov Daniel
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#3
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#3
(Original post by Noodlzzz)
Why leave out mental health? You can't be discriminated against and it is a valid reason to be out of work...
Because even though I am protected by law, I presumed that they'd rather pick a candidate without the history of mental health and with similar specifications
Last edited by Stolyarov Daniel; 3 years ago
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swelshie
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(Original post by Noodlzzz)
Why leave out mental health? You can't be discriminated against and it is a valid reason to be out of work...
Sadly in my experience it is common for employers to just see a gap (for whatever reason) as you sitting at home "playing computer games" or something like that. They assume you were too lazy to get a job when in reality it can be the most stressful period in your life you've ever experienced. Reactions are actually quite similar to what you find on here in the responses to most of the graduate unemployment threads. There is a definite stigma and lack of empathy from people in general when it comes to being unemployed but that's to be expected really. Nobody seems to factor in that there's a high number of graduates per job vacancy and that it's hard for a graduate to even secure a minimum wage job or be unemployed due to struggles with mental health. I know it's not "PC" to say this but it is seen as weakness.

(Original post by Stolyarov Daniel)
I have applied for a graduate job but since I have been unemployed for 6 months due to the mental health issues. I have decided to cover 3 months of that with "travelling". I also included in the work experience section the farm work (irrelevant work experience) that I did for a few months while travelling.

What are the chances that they will ask a reference for that job, and in that case what should I do? Should I say that it was an informal position? And will they check whether you actually travelled or not?
OP some larger companies will systematically request references from every past employer you put on your application (within X years) specifically to catch this kind of white lie so best to avoid doing this imo. A big giveaway would be if they also ask for scanned copies of your academic certificate(s) to bring to the interview/assessment centers meaning they are quite thorough in following up; they know they get people fibbing on their applications from time to time. I would be honest and when you get to interview stage they will appreciate that you are more introspective as a result? Better to "own" it and try to sell your experiences for the better.
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MarcOne
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#5
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#5
A recruitment consultant writes:
Listing travelling (or any other benign leisure or non-employment activity) should be fine, as long as you are confident you can answer general questions about it credibly, and it is not contradicted by what appears on social media. If you actually had farm work (paid or not) then of course you can list that, and presumably could get some sort of reference if needed - you can be vague about dates and duration, as long as you are not wildly deceptive (a week on a farm to cover for a six-month gap, if uncovered, would look bad). Also, it is probably viewed as more ok than you think to be unempolyed for six months these days, and as long as you can give the impression that you were active in some way during that time, employers should be understanding. Some people claim to have been looking after a relative, finishing a thesis, writing a book, or whatever - anything to suggest that while you have not been employes, you have also not been (just) 'sitting at home playing computer games'.
Unfortunately I would not recommend being open about the mental health issues; although you have legal protection, you will definitely be at risk of prejudice. The only isssue is that if you might need support or time off once employed, due to the same issues, the employer might feel less sympathetic if it came out that you had not said anything about your history. But that's probably not your priority right now.
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Stolyarov Daniel
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#6
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#6
(Original post by swelshie)
Sadly in my experience it is common for employers to just see a gap (for whatever reason) as you sitting at home "playing computer games" or something like that. They assume you were too lazy to get a job when in reality it can be the most stressful period in your life you've ever experienced. Reactions are actually quite similar to what you find on here in the responses to most of the graduate unemployment threads. There is a definite stigma and lack of empathy from people in general when it comes to being unemployed but that's to be expected really. Nobody seems to factor in that there's a high number of graduates per job vacancy and that it's hard for a graduate to even secure a minimum wage job or be unemployed due to struggles with mental health. I know it's not "PC" to say this but it is seen as weakness.


OP some larger companies will systematically request references from every past employer you put on your application (within X years) specifically to catch this kind of white lie so best to avoid doing this imo. A big giveaway would be if they also ask for scanned copies of your academic certificate(s) to bring to the interview/assessment centers meaning they are quite thorough in following up; they know they get people fibbing on their applications from time to time. I would be honest and when you get to interview stage they will appreciate that you are more introspective as a result? Better to "own" it and try to sell your experiences for the better.
Since I have already listed the farm work as part of the activity undertaken during travelling abroad, could you give me any advice on how to deal with the suspicion of the HR manager? I will have a telephone interview with her this Friday and it is with the Business Management consultancy firm in London. Will they bother finding out about the small farm in the rural area abroad, which is completely unrelated to the requirements of the skills and experience of the position?
Last edited by Stolyarov Daniel; 3 years ago
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swelshie
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#7
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(Original post by Stolyarov Daniel)
Since I have already listed the farm work as part of the activity undertaken during travelling abroad, could you give me any advice on how to deal with the suspicion of the HR manager? I will have a telephone interview with her this Friday and it is with the Business Management consultancy firm in London. Will they bother finding out about the small farm in the rural area abroad, which is completely unrelated to the requirements of the skills and experience of the position?
I can't really answer that other than it depends if the companies policy is to ask for references. I've been asked to give contact details for a retail job as part of a routine online new hire portal thing but afaik they were not contacted. At multiple points in the hiring process is said that employment was based on receipt of satisfactory references. I wouldn't worry as worst case scenario is you don't get the job.
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Notoriety
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Noodlzzz)
Why leave out mental health? You can't be discriminated against and it is a valid reason to be out of work...
Do you know how hard it is to prove you were not hired because of discrimination? It is very difficult. Employers can truly do what they like, especially at smaller companies.
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ajj2000
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#9
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(Original post by Stolyarov Daniel)
I have applied for a graduate job but since I have been unemployed for 6 months due to the mental health issues. I have decided to cover 3 months of that with "travelling". I also included in the work experience section the farm work (irrelevant work experience) that I did for a few months while travelling.

What are the chances that they will ask a reference for that job, and in that case what should I do? Should I say that it was an informal position? And will they check whether you actually travelled or not?
From experience it depends. All the companies I have worked for over the last 10 years would pretty much get a background checking firm on all new employees - certainly at clerical/ graduate level. When I've been asked about time travelling I've had to send evidence (copies of passport stamps, airline confirmations etc. I guess they would request contact details for any positions listed - they do for people from other countries.

I've had proper grillings about travel a couple of times - I guess to make sure I was telling the truth - but generally no mention has been made in interviews.
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harrysbar
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#10
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(Original post by Stolyarov Daniel)
Since I have already listed the farm work as part of the activity undertaken during travelling abroad, could you give me any advice on how to deal with the suspicion of the HR manager? I will have a telephone interview with her this Friday and it is with the Business Management consultancy firm in London. Will they bother finding out about the small farm in the rural area abroad, which is completely unrelated to the requirements of the skills and experience of the position?
The HR manager won't be suspicious. I think you are worrying unnecessarily because I very much doubt anyone will bother checking some general farm work in a rural area that is not relevant to the job. Unless most of my family and friends are more criminally minded than the general population, I think "small white lies" on CVs are more common than people like to publicly acknowledge. The HR manager won't be trying to trip you up or catch you out, so as long as you haven't told any big lies that can easily be uncovered, you will be fine.
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siamsam
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#11
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#11
If it was me who was interviewing you I would be asking you about the contents of your CV, any hint that it was not 100% true would start the alarm bells ringing. I would be asking myself "what else have you lied about?" Unfortunately this would give me enough suspicion not to hire you.
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Zarek
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#12
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I would be very surprised if this hardly relevant detail is probed. Just say it was casual cash in hand employment and you don't even have an address.
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threeportdrift
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#13
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(Original post by Stolyarov Daniel)
I have applied for a graduate job but since I have been unemployed for 6 months due to the mental health issues. I have decided to cover 3 months of that with "travelling". I also included in the work experience section the farm work (irrelevant work experience) that I did for a few months while travelling.

What are the chances that they will ask a reference for that job, and in that case what should I do? Should I say that it was an informal position? And will they check whether you actually travelled or not?
You might get away with it, but it's a pretty poor strategy. First of all, you are catastrophising the impact of 6 month of job hunting. Any employer will know it takes at least 3 months to get any kind of professional job, and often more than that, so 6 months isn't extreme.

Second, why fill a CV with irrelevant material - all it does is weaken your CV. Which is worse for an employer to read, a CV with time gaps or a CV with a load of irrelevant material? Answer - a CV with irrelevant material, it gives a much weaker impression than time gaps, which often aren't even spotted.

Third, any lie you tell on your CV you have to keep up with everyone for the entire time of your employment. Your CV/application form are part of your contract in as much as the employer is entitled to rely on it as the truth. If they can show they relied on the truth of your application in order to employ you, it's sufficient for gross misconduct and grounds for immediate dismissal. That looks a lot worse on your work history than any 6 month gap!

Finally, decent employers can detect a lie, and if they have any suspicion, they will dig. So the slightest hesitation, the slightest nervous glance etc will expose you.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
You might get away with it, but it's a pretty poor strategy. First of all, you are catastrophising the impact of 6 month of job hunting. Any employer will know it takes at least 3 months to get any kind of professional job, and often more than that, so 6 months isn't extreme.

Second, why fill a CV with irrelevant material - all it does is weaken your CV. Which is worse for an employer to read, a CV with time gaps or a CV with a load of irrelevant material? Answer - a CV with irrelevant material, it gives a much weaker impression than time gaps, which often aren't even spotted.

Third, any lie you tell on your CV you have to keep up with everyone for the entire time of your employment. Your CV/application form are part of your contract in as much as the employer is entitled to rely on it as the truth. If they can show they relied on the truth of your application in order to employ you, it's sufficient for gross misconduct and grounds for immediate dismissal. That looks a lot worse on your work history than any 6 month gap!

Finally, decent employers can detect a lie, and if they have any suspicion, they will dig. So the slightest hesitation, the slightest nervous glance etc will expose you.
Just don't give the "slightest nervous glance" and you'll be fine
Last edited by harrysbar; 3 years ago
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swelshie
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(Original post by ajj2000)
From experience it depends. All the companies I have worked for over the last 10 years would pretty much get a background checking firm on all new employees - certainly at clerical/ graduate level. When I've been asked about time travelling I've had to send evidence (copies of passport stamps, airline confirmations etc. I guess they would request contact details for any positions listed - they do for people from other countries.

I've had proper grillings about travel a couple of times - I guess to make sure I was telling the truth - but generally no mention has been made in interviews.
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Stolyarov Daniel
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#16
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(Original post by swelshie)
I can't really answer that other than it depends if the companies policy is to ask for references. I've been asked to give contact details for a retail job as part of a routine online new hire portal thing but afaik they were not contacted. At multiple points in the hiring process is said that employment was based on receipt of satisfactory references. I wouldn't worry as worst case scenario is you don't get the job.
At which company you were required to give contact details?
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MayoJack
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#17
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#17
Honestly just leave a gap. If they ask you about it say that you had 'personal health issues that are now resolved'. That should answer any question they have about it, be perfectly fine, and they won't probe any further as it would be EXTREMELY unproffesional.
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Stolyarov Daniel
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#18
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(Original post by harrysbar)
The HR manager won't be suspicious. I think you are worrying unnecessarily because I very much doubt anyone will bother checking some general farm work in a rural area that is not relevant to the job. Unless most of my family and friends are more criminally minded than the general population, I think "small white lies" on CVs are more common than people like to publicly acknowledge. The HR manager won't be trying to trip you up or catch you out, so as long as you haven't told any big lies that can easily be uncovered, you will be fine.
Do you consider my case to be a big lie that is easy to be uncovered?
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Stolyarov Daniel)
Do you consider my case to be a big lie that is easy to be uncovered?
Not at all
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swelshie
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#20
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(Original post by Stolyarov Daniel)
At which company you were required to give contact details?
It was for a £21k a year job with a big multinational pharmaceutical company. It seems to have outsourced its background checks through CareerCheck for all new hires. Basically after I got the job I was a emailed a link to fill out a form with all my history (I answered it all honestly with my 18 month employment gap, + travel to other countries and it was fine).

looks like this:

"Please ensure that you have:
Given details of all employment, education or benefits received during the past five years
If you have been employed via an agency you have given details of the agency who employed you
If there are gaps, in excess of 14 days, not covered by employment, education or receipt of benefits you have told us what you were doing
CONSENT MANDATE
CareerCheck Ltd/CareerCheck Professional Ltd (CareerCheck) has been commissioned by your employer to complete your background checks.
How the information you have provided will be used:
We may share your personal and sensitive information for the purposes of ensuring correct identification of you as an individual when seeking references or corroborating data you have provided.
Your personal information may be shared with any of the following, dependent upon the level of checks your employer has requested:
· Your current employer
· Your previous employers
· Information in the public domain
· Driving licence
· Educational and training establishments you have attended
· Local and central government departments for the purposes of confirming receipt of benefits
· With individuals for the purposes of obtaining personal or professional references
· Cireco Ltd for the purposes of checking Civil Recovery data
· Experian plc for the purposes of checking passport details, electoral registers and sanctions listings.
· ConsumerCheck for the purposes of checking for County Court Judgments/Bankruptcies and insolvencies
· DBS, Disclosure Scotland or Access Ni or Responsible Organisation for the purposes of Criminal Record Checks. Please note any certificates received will be passed to your employer.
[company] and/or their nominated agent CareerCheck Ltd, may conduct a full search to check my work and unemployment history for the last five years that may involve contacting former employers, Benefits Office (s) where I received unemployment benefit and/or National Insurance Records Office and I hereby confirm that by signing this application form I give my consent to [company] and/or CareerCheck Ltd making enquiries regarding all periods of unemployment (if applicable)."

Hence I would be careful about lying as I didn't know they would do this^ before I applied.
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