Let’s say you just got fired from your job. There are some jobs you really want to have and you freeze when you fill out applications or prepare for your interviews. You are not sure what to put down about why you were fired, so perhaps a tiny white lie won’t make too much of a difference.17567008_s

After all, if you don’t tell them you were fired, then you can completely avoid the conversation. Sounds good – right?

If you talk with a professional career coach, they will advise you against telling tiny white lies because it can and probably will come back to bite you in the *#* (you know where).

I do not advise my clients to tell something that is untrue. I may advise them to leave out some details or to divert the conversation to something else. Let me tell you why telling a tiny white lie can hurt you:

  1. Your employment application is an official document and if they determine you have lied on it they will remove you from the pool of candidates.
  2. More companies are using background checks as part of their screening process. Sometimes people say more than you would like them to on the phone. There is nothing against the law for someone to say you were fired if in fact you were fired. Companies take a conservative stance when commenting or verifying terminations to keep it safe and easy for them.
  3. Your new employer will most likely use outside companies to conduct background checks with advanced software to double-check information. These third-party companies don’t know or care who you are; they are employed to confirm your information.
  4. Even after you are hired, if the company determines you told a big or tiny white lie on your employment application, they have grounds for immediate termination. No questions asked, especially if you are in a position that deals with money, sales or sensitive information. Think about it, why would an employer want to keep around someone who is untrustworthy?

Understandably, it is uncomfortable to tell an employer that you were fired. You want to present a positive case for hiring you and being fired feels like a blemish you can’t get rid of.

Remember this – people get fired all the time for many reasons.

Employers and recruiters see involuntary terminations all the time and it is up to you to tell your story in the most positive way you can. Sometimes that means owning up, sometimes it means being able to skirt the discussion. In all cases, you must do three things well:

  • Know what to say
  • What you learned from it
  • Be confident how you say it

Everyone’s story will be a little different. It may take time to figure out the right words. Don’t expect to get it right the first time. It takes practice. Eventually the words will flow and the interviewer will not take notice and move on.

If you want more information on how to craft your message, consider purchasing my eBook: What to Do After Being Fired or work with me in a mini-session.