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Being Truthful: Stephen E. Seckler Explains the Importance of Honesty During Job Interviews

Lawyers understand the importance of being truthful.  However, in some situations, it is not always clear how many or precisely which truthful statements we ought to make.  An example of such a problematic setting is an employment interview.  When we are interviewing for a new legal job, just how much information must we disclose?

Stephen E. Seckler, the managing director of the Boston Office of BCG Attorney Search, a national legal recruiting firm, offers some guidance in this article in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.  Seckler notes that a job candidate must tell the truth about material facts, and that candidates "also have an obligation not to mislead an interviewer through omission."  At the same time, he explains, telling the truth does not necessarily mean mentioning all the unfavorable details of every situation.

Seckler emphasizes the importance of preparing thoroughly for interviews, anticipating the interviewer's questions, and choosing the right words to explain difficult situations truthfully, while avoiding excessive elaboration that can weaken a candidate's chances of being hired.  He also explains that some situations call for providing the "whole truth," in order to prevent the interviewer from drawing negative inferences about the information a candidate fails to mention.

Often, the appropriate answer to an interviewer's question depends on the nature of the question itself and the context in which it is being asked.  Seckler's helpful article provides several examples of how to assess questions and determine the amount of information to disclose.  He offers suggestions for even the most difficult problems involving matters like substance abuse, personality conflicts, poor performance reviews, and preferences for relocation and job responsibilities.  Following his recommendations will help the lawyer seeking employment to provide enough information to be truthful, without offering excessive, unnecessary, and possibly disadvantageous details.

By Steve Imparl, guest blogger

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