Elephants Never Forget | Manage Interviewers' Perceptions—They're Permanent

Every single career interview, the details, the results, and the interviewers' opinions, are all recorded for posterity. The minutiae of your claims a...
Thursday, 20 April 2017

Every single career interview, the details, the results, and the interviewers' opinions, are all recorded for posterity. The minutiae of your claims are organized, collated, and sorted.  Every discrepancy, such as saying you worked at IBM from 1996 to 2005, and another résumé claims it was from 1995 to 2007, is noted. Companies combine data in The Cloud about you John Smith, and you Jane Jones, to spot inconsistencies.

Once upon a time people could drift endlessly across the country, working a job for a week, a month, or a year. They could get hired, using a pseudonym, with no background or credential check, and avoid taxes or paper-trails. They could vanish as they pleased and pop up elsewhere with a completely new identity. The world has changed because now information is right at our fingertips. The expression "permanent record" is literally true.

Did you claim a degree or diploma that you have not actually earned? Are you claiming a certification that is no longer valid, that you never completed, or that you never qualified for?

Did you not show up for an interview that you'd agreed to, with no explanation, because you got a job offer? Did you have a temper tantrum in an interview because they weren't willing to accommodate a request? Did you walk out before your interview commenced because it didn't start on time?

Our History Follows Us

If you're a recent graduate, you possess a very short, relatively clean history. Make sure you protect it. Maintain your personal integrity and be honest; always be civil and polite; and, to help you imagine how important it is, think about what reporters are going to find out about you when you decide to run for political office in 20 years.

If you have already made a couple of blunders, see if you can find a way to put them in a better light. Without lying (which will only make matters worse), explain that you left prior to the interview because they had fallen behind schedule and you had other appointments to keep, not because you were annoyed that they were not respecting your time.

There is another practical advantage to telling the truth consistently: You don't have to remember what you said, and to whom you said it!  Does it really take a genius to realize that:

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters. —Albert Einstein

Of course not!  It's like the parable about the golfer that would never take a "gimme"; who relentlessly counted every stroke; who recorded every penalty; who was absolutely beyond reproach.  One day when playing alone the golfer got a hole-in-one, and when that duffer walked into the clubhouse and announced it, everyone knew it was the truth, even when no one else saw it.

You're Lucky

On a gross scale the Internet is still fairly new; in many ways we're still learning to use it and to exploit its capabilities. It's only recently that we've begun to digitize all the old written records and amalgamate data from disparate sources. This is the so-called Big Data—and the ability to analyze it will quite literally allow us to predict the future—but we don't need all of it.

Granted, there might be some odd tidbits about you held in some obscure location, but the choice to consolidate all that old data may be deemed to be too expensive. Knowing about previous job applicants will probably be deemed as too low-value to bother with.  

The Takeaway

So, even if you've made some mistakes in the past, there's a pretty good likelihood that you'll be starting off with a clean slate. But make no mistake… Everything you do from now on will be recorded; people and HR will know if you are untrustworthy, unreliable, untruthful, and just about every other "un-" you can think of.

On the flip side of the coin, they're going to know the good things you've done; they'll be able to see the value you've contributed.  Things you may not have thought about, such as your community standing, your volunteer work, or maybe even your charitable contributions will be available to them.

We generally don't think about things in these terms, but in the information age there are going to be far fewer secrets. Try to keep yours relatively uninteresting, and keep your public profile beyond reproach.  

Your Dallas IT recruiter will help you do your best to follow the conventions. You'll be urged to give plenty of notice if you need to cancel or time-shift an interview; to send a "thank you" note after an interview, even if you've decided you are not interested in the position; to be polite to the receptionist, and everyone you meet, because the interviewer will almost certainly solicit their opinions of you.

It takes very little effort to "do things right.”  It does, however, require that you pause for a moment in your busy schedule and remember to do them. And, considering the consequences vs. the amount of effort required, it should be obvious which course you should follow.

Read 3606 times Last modified on Thursday, 20 April 2017