June 18th, 2010
Job Interviews 101: On Lying and Your Personal Finances
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Is it okay to lie about your salary when being interviewed for a job?
A Daily Worth post called “A Little White Lie in Salary Negotiation,” which argued yes, it is okay to lie, sparked a heated controversy across the blogosphere and media. There were people on both sides of the argument on whether salary inflation during an interview was acceptable, from the popular personal finance blog Bargaineering to the Bucks column at the New York Times to one angry commenter who wrote, “You’re playing with fire.” Ultimately, the Daily Worth post was retracted with a note stating, “After considerable soul-searching, we have decided to retract the post, rather than jeopardize anyone’s job.”
What does this have to do with your credit? In light of this blogodrama, its wise to address the issue of personal finance and protocol in an interview, and reiterate some simple but significant points concerning the role of your credit to your potential employer.
First off, be aware that employers will check your credit report. 60% of employers run credit checks on job applicants (Society for Human Resource Management), and at the rate of unemployment, its likely to be a higher percentage now. Employers run credit checks as part of your background check, and helps employers gauge your financial stability, financial responsibility, and even assess your potential job performance. Safe to say, no lying about major negative financial actions. Unless you are applying for a financial institution or government position, employers will likely not ask you details of your financial history anyway, so don’t feel the need to bring up last month’s missed credit card payment. But if they want to verify key parts of your financial history, don’t lie. Be up front and honest; your best bet is to explain how you got into your financial situation and, more importantly, how you overcame it.
Secondly, clean up your credit report and polish your credit score. Check your credit report (AnnualCreditReport.com does it for free) for any errors or misreported credit information. Before you head out on the job hunt, dispute any credit inaccuracies on your credit report so you can clear the mistakes as soon as possible and boost your credit score. Also, actively work towards a healthier credit score by taking care to never miss a payment on bills, pay late, go over your credit limit, or mishandle your credit.
The job hunt can be terribly long-drawn and difficult, but its safe to say that any kind of lying during a job interview may very well be your ticket back to the unemployment line. In the cutthroat competition of a job market, you need to be at your personal best in your appearance, demeanor, AND your finances if you want to land that job.