Getting an interview is tough. Most resumes are ignored; and when yours does get a little attention from a recruiter, you’re up against dozens—if not hundreds—of other job seekers, many of whom are lying to increase their chances of getting an interview. Given the stiff job competition, applicants should consider telling lies on their resume. After all, everyone else is doing it. (Side note to human resources, legal departments and recruiters: Put yourself in the shoes of a job seeker and hear me out before you start yelling at me.)
First, age discrimination happens, from entry level hiring to selecting the president of the United States. Second, studies conducted across Canada show that having an ethnic name reduces one’s chances of being invited for an interview. Third, there’s a tendency to overlook skills and experience and instead select candidates based on the old real estate axiom “location, location, location.”
Why not take steps to highlight the skills employers are looking for while downplaying less relevant details that could derail you as a qualified applicant from the hiring process?
Limit information you present about your age. Bonus: Your resume will fit on two pages, which is the recommended length.
Age discrimination is alive and well in Canada despite protective laws and a desire on the part of employers to hire the best person for the job. The truth is recruiters, business owners, managers and HR people look at long resumes and think: How old is this person? It’s natural so let’s just admit we all do it. Most of us will continue to give good candidates a shot, despite their age but many older applicants are discriminated against.
In order to make it to the interview stage, I recommend older workers remove education completion dates: for instance the year you received your engineering degree or completed a trades apprenticeship. Also, remove most of your early work history unless it is directly linked to the requirements of the job you are applying for and you don’t have recent experience.
If you have an ethnic name or one that will be difficult to pronounce in the market you’re applying to, give yourself a North American nickname. Don’t let someone named Bill take your place at that job interview.
Ethnic discrimination persists in Canada despite the proven benefits of diversity in the workforce. Studies at Simon Fraser University show that changing your first name improves your chances of getting called for a position, so do it! My name, Kael, is a rare name that few people know how to pronounce. I could be a man or a woman. If I were looking for a job, I’d get more invitations for interviews if I called myself John Campbell. The human resources person looking at my resume would not say to themselves: How do I pronounce this name? Maybe I should call the guy named Bill first.
In order for this to work, you better start letting your references and coworkers know about your nickname. Of course, when you are filling out your hiring paperwork or receive your job offer, provide your legal name.
Get a local phone number that forwards to your mobile phone and use a friend’s address in the city where the job is located.
The cost of relocating an employee in Canada starts at $64,000 according to the Canadian Relocation council, so it’s no surprise that recruiters will call people who are closest to the job. Few employers are willing to do a national search unless they’ve first determined there is no one locally who can do the job. Screening out candidates based on a residence outside of normal commuting distance also decreases the amount of time recruiters might have spent telling remote candidates there is no relocation, camp work, or living out allowances available. Another consideration: A hard-working recruiter may be calling you from their personal cell phone and not want to pay long distance charges.
Canada is big country (for comparison, the state of California has a larger population than all of Canada!) with limited job openings and few employers who are willing to do a national search to find the best person for the job. Your address and phone number are the first things looked at after your name, so why make it difficult to get selected for an interview? Spend a few dollars a month on a local phone number that forwards to your mobile phone and use a friend’s address if you can. Be prepared to drive to get to an interview and also to relocate at your own expense because if they don’t have a relocation policy already in place, asking for relocation or travel assistance for all but senior positions may be out of line.
In the end, I do encourage everyone to be accurate and not really lie on their resume. Provide information that makes it easier for a recruiter to give you an interview and be 100% honest when answering questions. Until human resources, recruiters and all employers reach the enlightened place where we’re truly hiring the best person who applies for the job, give yourself a leg up: Give them an easy name, don’t make them worry about when you graduated, and give them a local number to call.
Why Do Some Employers Prefer to Interview Matthew, but Not Samir?
Lying On Resumes: The Truth
The Most Common Lies in Canadian Resumes (and What You Should Actually Lie About Instead)
Age Bias and Employment Discrimination
Canadian Employee Relocation Council
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