Fibbing your way to the top

Mattthew Reeves on pasties, hashtags and lies

At the company where I work, we had a graduate applicant this week explain that he understood he was less experienced than we'd requested but gave some justification as to why he should get to the next round of assessment anyway. My boss went out on a limb, and let him through.

And you can take things a step further. Rather than trying to justify your lack of experience, you can always just lie.

You don't have to be outlandish - don't tell me, for instance, that your name is Archibald Gregg, heir to the golden-brown, flaky pastry throne. Try one of the more common fibs: saying you've founded your own business.

I work for a small company that makes software for banks. Because we're small, we get many young tykes thinking we're a "startup".

Just so there's no confusion, I use the term "startup" in a condescending tone. This isn't the 1950s, so starting a business no longer requires the permission of your bank manager or the Home Secretary.

You can start a company for £15, and you can pay at home by PayPal. And if it's conceivable to afford a thing purely out of profit earned from auctioning used toys, that thing is not impressive.

That's why any time an application reads "co-founded a startup in their bedroom with their college friend", alarm bells ring for me.

These people are usually idiots who believe there are secrets to business, and think that starting one outside of an office is unusual.

They are unmanned drones fuelled by The Verge-supplied Kool-Aid. They've read so many Mashable blogs that they think anyone who can afford to attend and then drop out of a $60,000 a year Ivy League school is somehow worth looking up to.

They get weak at the knees each time they hear about someone working in "stealth mode from a Palo Alto garage", who is probably actively failing at being stealthy. Do you know how much a house with a garage costs in the second-most expensive city in the US?

For me, this kind of person is not someone who can retweet inspirational hashtags about Steve Jobs. Nor is this what constitutes changing the world. Have a micro-blog on me: "you are #wrong".

So to return to our applicant, this chap royally ballsed it up. "If you don't have anything good to say, then don't say anything at all and go out and get some real experience in a real business" is what I'd say to anyone I interview who's left the mustard decidedly un-cut.