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Lie on an application?

I have been out of work for over a year and I quit my last position due to recieving bad paychecks.  Everyone at the company was getting bad paychecks.  Anyway, should I list this company on my application or my resume?  If I do then what should I put for my reason for termination, I usually put "Recieved Bad Paychecks"  and that they shouldn't contact the employer because when I asked him for a reference he basically wouldn't agree to give me or anyone else a good reference nor a bad reference, basically the guy's a jerk.  When I happen to get an interview and they ask why I left my previous position should I tell the truth or should I lie?

In a bad situation
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Never ever lie.

Application Specialist
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

I second the never ever lie. Tell the truth, noone can blame you for leaving a company that gives out bad pay checks.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

According to research done in the UK, two thirds of all applicants in the West Midlands lied on their applications...

Lying on your application means they can fire you at any time withour any other reason - should they find out, that is.

Mr Jack
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

So what would you say if asked about the time period you worked for them?

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

The sad reality is that the awfulness of unpaid pay rubs off on you, even though you were the victim. It's better to say you didn't see any future with them or something like that.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Why lie? What do you have to cover up? That you received bounced checks?

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

If I received bad paychecks I would probably say something along the lines of

I was working with X and Y and my reason for leaving was that it was a turbulent working environment. This turbulence led to a unhealthy working environment. The problems upper management had reflected downwards in the company, and limited my ability to perform a good job. When I couldnt provide good quality work to our customers I decided to leave the company.

Depending on the reaction I would get from the interviewer I may or may not tell that I recieved bad pay checks. Some people dont like when you bad mouth previous employers.

Lying and sugarcoating is different :-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Definitely tell them why you left - having your paycheck bounce multiple times is a perfectly acceptable reason to leave a job! It also explains why you don't want them to contact your old employer: If he regularly bounced your pay checks, it's pretty clear that he can't be trusted to give a truthful reference!

Michael Kohne
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

A bounced paycheck is an issue of FACT, not an opinion with potential for bias like "management was incompetent".  So you should plainly state the fact.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Don't lie.

You can tell them that you enjoyed the work, (if you did), and that you did xyz.

Reasons for leaving: They gave me dud cheques. I think it is a perfectly valid reason. You could also point out why you think any reference from the ex employer would be unduly negative.

If the new employer is half competent, and they have half a brain, it would be very easy to verify this. It is unlikely that yours are the only cheques that were bounced by your ex employer. Credit reference agencies would have records of this.

In fact, you could be enterprising and get a copy of such a report yourself.  Save them the time, and the effort, and in a sense, verify your story.

If a potential employer gave me your story, and could  prove it, then I am more inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt....

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

If you don't want to go into details, something like "I had to leave because the company was having financial difficulties" will generally get the point across.

Beth Linker
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

My approach with references where employer was a creep has always been to make sure I have sympathetic coworkers upon leaving and use one of them as a reference.

I've often used supervisors, tech leads, etc. as references, not always the guy on top. Furthermore, they could corroborate your story about the situation.

Immature Programmer.
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

"...Anyway, should I list this company on my application or my resume? "

How long did you work there? If it was only for a month or two you might not need to include this employer on resume. It all depends on how much prior experience you have under your belt.

Anyway, I would probably list this company on my resume and any employment application I was required to fill out. When you get to the question "Why did you leave?" you simply put down "Quit". If a potential employer wants to know why you quit they will ask you in a interview. When/if this happens simply tell the truth - you don't work for free.

One Programmer's Opinion
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

If I were in your situation, I would most definitely tell the truth but I agree with Patrik that how you tell the truth can make a difference.  Compare these two statements:

I left because my paycheque bounced.

The company was having on-going financial difficulties.  For several weeks in a row they did not meet their payroll.  It became apparent that the company was not going to right itself.

The first sounds like a knee-jerk reaction. The second shows more awareness of the company's situation and some reflection regarding your reaction.

Billy Boy
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Billy Boy:
Good answer there. Typically you don't badmouth previous employers, but you don't lie for them either. Not receiving money for your work is a very legitimate reason for leaving a company.

How you present it on an application is different. It is easier to describe this in an interview. I don't know why an application form would want those reasons; typically 'why did you leve that job' is an interview question (which you are well equipped to answer).

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

use a coworker as a reference. the reference does not have to be your boss. besides what are you trying to cover up in this situatio anyway? you had a job that gave you bad checks and you quit.

Tom Vu
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

I'll probably reveal my American-ness by saying my first reaction would be to sue him.  Check w/ Dept. of Labor and/or a lawyer, but I remember reading something like you'd at least get a couple months of pay out of it.

FWIW, I wouldn't lie on the application either.  If you explained it honestly, I'd accept it, although I might check your story.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Well, I guess I've been doing what people are saying, telling the truth.  Though it hasn't gotten me anywhere.  I have the bounced checks as proof.  I guess I have to use language like Billy Boy uses so I don't sound harsh.

How would you check my story?  Do you think people contact my previous employer even though I mark down that I don't want them to?

In a bad situation
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

If the person hiring you considers "They wouldn't pay me" unreasonable, do you really want to work for him or her?

Bounced checks are a perfectly reasonable reason to leave a company, and if I heard "I left because my paycheck bounced" from an interviewee, I'd be completely sympathetic.

Brent P. Newhall
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Who puts reason for termination on a resume?

I'd be a little careful about how much you discuss the bounced checks if they do come up. I wouldn't have so much sympathy as I would think the employee worked for a bad company, had poor management, didn't manage a debtor well, etc. How many checks bounced before you decided to leave? More than 1??

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Why do some of you think he shouldn't discuss the paycheck issue???

That's not bad-mouthing, that's not whining. That's just stated the obvious reason for leaving.

Mark Hoffman
Wednesday, June 18, 2003


I'm not talking about a resume.  I would never put information like this on a resume.  I am talking about on an application where it asks, "Why did you leave?" and during an interview if the question arises.

3 paychecks bounced before I had enough and decided to quit.

In a bad situation
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

On the resume you put "company ran into financial difficulties" as the reason for leaving and if they ask you at interview you explain about the bounced checks.

I can't see the problem.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

It's not a good enough reason to lie. Save all of your lying for after you've been convicted of a few dozen felonys. :-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

I'm going to be perfectly honest here. I haven't ever lied about an empyer but I did skip over one once. After a short 3 month stint that didn't work out I did not put them on my resume and told interviewers I was off at the time, working in another field. Since it was during a bad economy they didn't think much about it. Not exactly the most honest way but I'm not honest abe. I work hard and give employers 100% so I felt no wrong doing.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

The best way to spin this in an interview is to sigh, shake your head and say how much you learned.

Say that the company ran into financial difficulities.  They started bouncing paychecks.  When we asked for an explanation, management became hostile to anyone who questioned them.  I quit.

I can give you co-worker references, or copies of pre-bounce reviews, but I would rather you didn't contact management there.

Did you file a complaint?  If so, you should be able to get whatever office you filed with to give you a copy of the report, or at least a letter that they know what happened. 

Your bank should be able to write a letter stating that X checks from employer Y bounced.  Offering a letter from the bank should be enough.

Again, frame it as - you are a nice guy, and just had this horrendous learning experience.  Show that you dealt with the situation proactively.  Explain to the new employer that you are an honest person, and expect to deal with other honest people.  (And are not a bitter-grudge bearing type - you are ready to move on.)

Contrary Mary
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Remember - when you say why you left, the interviewer is going to be weighing the issue "was this really a problem with the company, or was it the candidate in front of me?" and if there's any doubt, you're probably a "no hire"

I try to stay away from blaming management EVER, because that's the easiest thing in the world to spin into "management was fine, the applicant was the problem" (think of how many times that happens to be true).

I agree with the majority here - nobody can argue with "their paychecks were bouncing" as a reason for leaving. I think it's probably the best possible reason you can give, because it's so unequivocally *wrong* for a company to write bad checks. Note - we're not even talking "they didn't pay me" but actually bouncing checks, which is borderline fraud...


Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Speaking as someone who hires and fires programmers from time to time:

Never lie, ever. Exaggerate here and there, drop a short job stint off the resume, spin negatives into positives, but never lie. Any discrepancy between fact and resume causes me to doubt every promise you have ever made.

Never tell a prospective employer not to contact a former employer.

The only time "no contact" is acceptable is when you are a current employer or have some reason to believe you will suffer financial harm if the employer discovers you are job hunting. A bad reference or unfair reference is not an acceptable reason to ask a prospective employer not to talk to a former employer.

Financial difficulties are a fine reason for leaving a former employer. But why would they slag you to a new employer? As an employer, I need to be sure that the person I am hiring wasn't the cause of the company's failure. That means I want to talk to your former employer and hear about how you tried to save the sinking ship.

If they are hysterical and vindictive, I will pick up on that. Most communities are small enough that word gets around. I'm sure I've heard about what idiots they were. Ideally, some other candidate will have disgraced themselves by trashing their name to me, and you will look like a diplomat when you shrug your shoulder, look me in the eye, and say:

"Frankly, by the time I left, the relationship had deteriorated somewhat and I'm not satisfied that we see eye to eye on what I was able to contribute and why I could not contribute more. However, please feel free to talk to them, and may I also suggest contacting X, Y, and Z who are also familiar with the situation and can provide more insight."

FWIW, I was fired from my previous job, and my former boss does not have amazingly wonderful things to say about me. That's why I secured references from my former colleagues to provide a balanced perspective. But I still had to deal with his opinions when job hunting.

If that troubles you, I encourage you to be very, very picky about selecting your next employer. When you're sitting in the interview, ask yourself how you feel about these people having so much influence over your career. If you can't stomache the thought, keep looking.


Reginald Braithwaite-Lee
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

The problem with lying is that it taxes the memory too much.

You've got a perfectly good reason for leaving. Put the employment on the resume, but simply don't give them as a reference; if you have a senior colleague there, or who was there, give him; otherwise simply give your other employers.

If they ask at the interview, say OK, but explain that their having not paid you didn't lead to the most amicable of partings.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

I don't think there's any expectation that a resume will list every job you've ever had.  Particularly if you've had a long career, you don't want a five page resume.

If leaving it off doesn't create a huge gap in your employment history, just skip it.  If an interviewer asks, be prepared to explain.

However, I don't know about skipping it on an application that asks specifically for 'x years of job history'

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

For what it is worth, if this was in the states it is a federal crime to pay employees with bad checks.

So tell the truth and call the FBI. ;)

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

I never have lied, in this case I wouldnt lie you did nothing wrong.  I am very young and still have a lot to learn but I noticed all of these jobs that require more schooling than I have How often do employers call schools or ask to see a masters degree the school i attend says that they recieve less than 5 calls per year

andrew sadrew
Sunday, March 7, 2004

I recevied a Deferred which lead to 2 years probation.I was not convicted,I recevied a Deferred and was order to pay Restitution.My attorney told me to mark no on my application (HAVE I EVER BEEN CONVICTED)i put (NO)!!Because I havent, But still It's hard for me to get a job.So what sould I put on my (APPLICATION).He also told me that this will not show up on my background and it's show on my background.Now i don't no what to put on my application because either way it goes if you put yes or no your chances are they still want hire you.

Tammy R Brown
Saturday, July 31, 2004

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