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EP 1356  I answer a question for someone about whether they can use a fake reference and get away with it

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I was asked the question:

Can I get away with using the fake reference?
I'm not going to give you the morality speech.  I will simply say that it is absolutely wrong and it is possible to get away with it, but harder than you think it is.

It's possible to get away with it. If your "reference" has been properly briefed, speaks with confidence, understands the field of work that you are in, can talk in detail, not just simply about the simple work that you've done, but about the more nuanced work that you did for your organization.  Most people can't pull that off.

This is 1 of the ways that people get caught.  These days there is LinkedIn.  Someone says that they work for your firm and they don't work there.  Lo and behold, you are exposed as a liar.

They can't speak in detail about you – – what you did and how you went about doing it. Any follow-up question other than name, rank, and serial number questions receives very thin answers and lo and behold, you are a liar.

Is that how you want to lose an opportunity? By faking it?

Let me also going one extra layer. If you have to think the reference to get the job, you're probably not qualified to do the job will probably be fired.

Do you want to put all your blood and guts into getting a job and then, because you're not really qualified, get fired?

Is it possible? Yes. Is it likely? No.

A quick story. In days of old, someone told me about how they went so far as to send someone in for their medical exam before they were hired! When it came time to do the drug test, because the real person look different and had a different handwriting than the person who is actually taking the test for them, they put a splint on the hand of this person. They got away with it, except when the person was on board, the person was fired for drug use.

Invariably, the chickens come home to roost.  You really don't want to do this but recognize, if you do, you are putting your career at risk yet again.  There is something you are not qualified for in this job and need to have a liar life for you.

Don't do it.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1300 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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