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Why Being Too Honest Can Hurt Your Chances of Being Successful

Why Being Too Honest Can Hurt Your Chances of Being Successful

“Honesty is the best policy”….”Always tell the truth”…….”What I am about to say is the truth, the whole truth etc  etc”

We all know the drill, usually because it has been drummed in to us from a very early age by parents and teachers, keen to bring us up the right way and inculcate the correct values into our malleable child brains. And long may they continue, as clearly telling the truth and always being honest is surely a pretty good idea.

However in the world of recruitment, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

I talk to my candidates a lot about the importance of “making the potential employer feel loved” when you are interviewing with them.

What I mean by that is that in a market like today’s, which has an oversupply of candidates to jobs, companies enjoying the chance to be hyper-selective (because they can) and so many resumes, applications and interviews ending up achieving very little, nothing wrecks your chances like the perception that you are “slutting around”. Forgive the emotive and questionable term but it fits this situation well.

If I can use an analogy to explain my point: you are an attractive, desirable, intelligent, single (that is crucial of course) person sat in a bar. You have been talking for a little while to another attractive, desirable etc etc person. Actually to make my life easier – and my writing less clunky – let’s say you are female. Naturally you can substitute the gender and preferred sexual partner to suit yourself but I’ll keep it traditional. So where was I, oh yes, you are a single female sat in a bar talking to a handsome, charming male. Time progresses and you decide that you would be quite open to seeing the guy again in the future. At this point the guy, decides that honesty is the best policy (well brought up chap that he is) and announces…….”I am very interested in seeing you again but just so you are aware of all the facts, I am also meeting the blonde in the corner for lunch tomorrow, which will be straight after I have coffee in the morning with the red head to our left, whilst I will be finishing off my day with dinner with the tall brunette sat at the table by the garden.”

Still feeling smitten ? Still keen on Ryan Gosling’s better looking brother ? Thought not.

The simple fact of the matter is that we all want to feel wanted and perhaps more importantly, we all want to feel special – that we have been singled out from the potential ‘many’ to be the desired ‘only’.       

Most candidates, most of the time, think that declaring the interest that other employers have in hiring them will make the employer they are sat in front of the time, react thus ……”blimey, you are obviously in high demand and I would be certifiably insane if I didn’t offer you the job immediately and smash my salary budget if that is what it takes to get you !”

As with the bar analogy above, it very rarely works that way. When you are interviewing, your words, actions and questions must show that you are focusing specifically on this job, with this manager, with this company and in this market sector. Therein lies the path to a successful job search and quite possibly romantic harmony as well !

(NB. If things work out well, I’ll expect an invite to the wedding).

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