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No boss knows everything there is to know about their employees. It’s impossible – unless of course, your boss doubles as a secret agent on the weekend. Writer Anna Goode explains.
So what is a boss allowed to know about you anyway? Can they ask if you’ve been ever been fired? They sure can. Can they ask if you’ve ever been arrested? How about whether or not you’ve been blacklisted.
In short, yes, no, and yes. So how do you handle these and other “hot seat questions” if they ever come up? Here are a few pointers to get you started.
Have you ever been fired or blacklisted?
If the answer is yes, always keep your explanation positive and truthful. Don’t bad mouth your past employer or blame them for the firing or blacklisting. That will just paint you in a bad light. Instead, take accountability for what happened; show how you’ve grown from that experience and how you’ll apply that growth to your current role.
Talk about how you made amends for the blacklisting. For example, maybe you invited an old employer that you have bad blood with to lunch to discuss what happened and how you could learn from it.
Have you ever been arrested?
According to the Canada Human Resources Centre, you can only legally be asked about specific arrests related to the job you’re applying for. For example, it would be legal to ask someone if they’ve ever been arrested for theft if they are applying to be a security officer at a mall.
In the end, being honest and straightforward about your professional background is always best.
A boss can also legally ask you at any time to complete a Criminal Record and Vulnerable Sector check.
Do you have a diploma/degree?
A boss has every right to ask for proof of your education credentials. After all, you said you had them on paper so you need to be able to back them up with copies of your transcripts directly from the school(s) or institution(s) you graduated from. Otherwise, you risk being charged with resume fraud.
Have you ever been kicked out/dropped out of school?
Again, honesty is best. If you are asked this question by your boss, tell the truth. Life happens and any understanding boss will get that. Maybe you dropped out of school for financial or family reasons. Maybe post-secondary just wasn’t for you.
Explaining how you handled the situation and what has come as a result of it is better than avoiding the question altogether.
Are you a social media disaster or have you received negative press?
Like being fired, it’s better to be truthful. After all, the truth is only a quick Google search away. If there are things on your social media that you don’t even want you mother to see, or you’ve had some bad press, better that you explain it first then have your boss draw his/her own conclusions.
In the end, being honest and straightforward about your professional background is always best. No one is perfect and we’ve all made mistakes in the past. Learn from them and move on. You’ll be a better employee for it and who knows, it may even bode well at performance review time.
Anna Black is a mother of two and an experienced freelance writer/editor. As the Owner/Operator of Goode Grammar, she works closely with her clients to create compelling and persuasive content for blogs, websites, and more. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.
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