Can I answer a question with a question?
Would it be appropriate for a company to conceal certain elements of a job description because they didn’t want to talk about it in the interview or thought it might make them look bad?
No? That would be terrible, you say? Why would it be okay for candidates then?
Job interviews are trust building exercises. Trust must be built on truth. Both parties must pledge allegiance to truth and let the chips land where they may. Anything else is a farce and all bets are off.
How will the company find out?
Trust me, the world is a small place. Your industry is much much smaller.
Let me tell you what happens when companies discover jobs are missing from a resume.
Questions are raised.
What is this person hiding? How do we know we can trust what else is being said? What else is not being said? Is there something going on with this person that made them unfit there that will make them unfit here? What really happened?
These are good questions for any manager worth their salt to ask. Essential, responsible questions! No one in their right mind should hire while overlooking chronological gaps or short stints. Bad hires are expensive and painful for everyone! Everything means something.
For some companies it is a simple no-questions-asked deal killer.
BUT, as a candidate, you must understand that everything doesn’t have to mean something negative.
Being transparent about past mistakes and lessons learned contributes incredible relationship building authenticity to an interview.
A self-secure retrospective conversation about what was learned, mistakes to avoid, and how ownership was taken can be profoundly valuable to see how someone handles making a bad call or being on the losing end of a bad hire.
These are not failures, they are inflection points. Want to know someone? Find out what they do with their inflection points. It’s not like they won’t make mistakes if they work for you! How do they respond? Shame? Fear? Defensiveness? Ownership? Accountability? Humility? Remember, everything means something.
What about companies who wholesale screen out short-tenured candidates regardless of circumstance?
That’s their right. They have their reasons. They may avoid certain problems with this strategy and they may invite others. If they miss out on you, their loss. Move on. Life is too short to take it personally.
Interviewers, go easy on candidates. Don’t add to their fear complex.
Short stints are just data points. Your job is to understand how those data points connect, not to assume how they connect. Yes, short stints are a yellow flag, but they can point to a heroic story or a demonstration of exactly why you should hire this person.
Don’t jump to assumptions, you know what they do.