Some people lie on their resumes. When they get caught (and they frequently do get caught), they have squandered whatever opportunity they might have had with that company. What is not as widely known is the fact that employers also lie when talking to candidates for employment. In an outcome that some cynics might point to as proof that life isn’t fair, they don’t get punished for it.
People who work for staffing companies and technical recruiters are all too familiar with the fibs being told by employers to prospects. Here are four of the most notorious lies that we have identified.
"We’ll keep your resume on file for future opportunities."
Although this phrase might give the novice job seeker some level of comfort, it shouldn’t. This “file” of which the employer speaks is often a monstrously large database containing the resumes of other rejected candidates. It’s rarely the “go-to” point when the company identifies a need for another employee. Instead, those companies will be more likely to place an ad online for the position.
If you hear this line during your search, don’t give up hope, though. This is where you need to put on your networking hat and be sure to stay in touch with the contacts you made at that company. Consider these ideas:
- Keep the business cards that you were given.
- Follow up with the hiring manager. Be sure to thank them for your time, even though you weren't chosen.
- Always say "thank you".
- Consider connecting with the hiring manager on LinkedIn. This one's tricky, though; you have to be careful with how you request the connection.
- Offer a gentle nudge every few months to let the company know you're still interested in a position with them.
"Salary is commensurate with experience."
The simple fact of the matter is that more often than not, the company has already established a salary range for the position that is available. If you get asked about your salary requirements, then you’re basically being tested to see if your ideal salary is in that range. That is why, after you answer that question, you’ll frequently hear the employer representative say, “And that’s right in line with what we’re offering.”
What is your desired salary?' The unwritten rule when it comes to salary is this: whoever proposes a number first loses. When you interview, you should never feel pressured to answer this question. Simply let your interviewer know that the most important thing to you is how well you fit the position."
- Travis Bradberry, American Author
You should always be prepared for a question about salary requirements. Be sure that you have researched the position in that geographic area well enough to know a competitive salary range. Shoot for the upper end of that range. You don’t want to sell yourself short. Also, don’t forget to evaluate benefits in addition to raw monetary compensation. Some companies might pay less, but offer fantastic benefits.
"You will definitely hear from us, one way or another."
"We'll be in touch." Take that statement with about twenty pounds of salt. If another candidate gets selected, it’s likely that you’ll never hear from that company again. Some people just don’t have the time to talk to all the people that were rejected.
If you hear that line, you should politely ask for a deadline in return. Ask a question like: “That’s great, when can I expect to hear from you?” That way, if you don’t hear from either the employer representative or your recruiter, then you know that things are probably not going your way.
Another important thing to do in this case is to send a follow-up immediately after the interview. Send a handwritten Thank You note and drop it in the mail either the day of or the day after you meet with them. It wouldn't hurt to include a quick summary of why you think you fit the job role, either.
"We’re still interviewing candidates."
Sometimes this statement is actually true. In those cases, you might be a backup plan for the company, just in case the other candidate opted to select another position.
However, sometimes it’s a fib. It’s often just a line that employers use when they’re looking for someone who is a “better fit” than you.
If you hear that line, look at it as an opportunity to toot your own horn. Ask the employer questions like, “Are there any concerns that you have about my professional history?” or make a statement like “I’d love to demonstrate more about how I’m a great fit for this position.” Remember, you are always marketing yourself during the interview process.
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