Is There a Way to Get a Job Offer and Be Honest?


I have a reputation for being productive, and I hate spending time on activities that at best only provide window dressing for my function’s work. In fact I am a lousy window dresser because I do very little to show off because I am focused on getting work accomplished and moving the organization forward.

You might think that my brand of employee would be something that a lot of employers would be seeking, but sadly I am still looking for an organization that actually wants to build workplace competencies in their team members and understands the value of a focused learning function. When I meet with people to discuss what kind of potential they have in front of them with the right training leadership, I get these scared to death looks in return.

I’ve been told that to get a job offer, I need to down play my work ethic, and to barely speak of the potential for learning beyond the job description. Once I’m in the job I can work on building out over time bigger expectations. To these recommendations, I am completely at odds with deception and downplaying the benefits of a focused approach. I’m not being true to my own work ethic by playing the part of an underperforming employee.

My opinion is that the interview process should be honest. I know, silly me, right? But shouldn’t the employer know what kind of employee they are getting before they make an offer? So if I am unable to play games with my abilities, I am faced with limited opportunities. There are fewer organizations today than even 10 years ago that understand the purpose of a training function. Many leaders land up creating limitations for the training function because they don’t realize the potential.

My dilemma is that I want to work, and yet I find it challenging to be the perfect fit without being a skill more than is thought to be necessary. The minute I start to stand out I am “over qualified” and when I go in with just enough background I run the risk of “not being as qualified as another applicant.”

Any ideas?


One thought on “Is There a Way to Get a Job Offer and Be Honest?

  1. My “favorite” phrase during the interview process is how “seasoned” I am. Just another word for “over qualified” in my opinion – typically stated by an interviewee with a couple less decades of experience. After several of those interviews – and not getting the job, an experienced recruiter advised me to limit my experience to the last 10 years, or only list the positions relevant to the one that I am interviewing on – again limited to a maximum of 10 years. Additionally, it was suggested that I have a “low ball” resume that was one page, generic, with very little detail or experience. This was to be submitted for jobs that had no future, historically low pay, or short term – the kind of job you take to pay the bills while you are still searching for the job you want and are qualified for. I am not proud to say, that in utter desperation – I took the latter advice and it worked. After a 9+ month dry spell of resumes disappearing into the “HR black hole” – using the “low ball” resume got me an interview, and a low paying job. Just enough to survive another 6+ months, while I was job hunting for the job better suited to my skills. But it was long, hard, unfulfilling, unproductive period. I hated having to daily “downplay” my knowledge and skills. When I would occasionally slip, and demonstrate more knowledge or skill, I experienced worker resentment and periodic negative comments like “why was I here” or “you are taking a job away from a hard-working person who really needs this job” or “you will just leave as soon as you find something better”, etc. The risks appear to be high no matter what direction you go.

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