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Man Shares Clever Trick To Explain Gaps In Your Resume — 'The System Was Never Built For Us'

Photo: @wellilaughed / TikTok
Podcaster saying to say you signed an NDA to explain gaps in your resume

A podcaster and TikToker has made quite a few waves online with his equal parts clever and dishonest method for managing the dreaded moment in job interviews when you explain gaps in your resume.

There's often no good answer to this question, so podcaster Grant Thomas's solution involves answering the question by simply... well, refusing to answer the question.

Thomas shared his trick for explaining gaps in your resume.

When asked by recruiters to explain gaps in your resume, say you signed an NDA and can't speak about the topic.

For the record, recruiters and HR experts like Madeline Mann, seen below, recommend simply explaining resume gaps directly on your resume so that you never end up being asked this awkward question in the first place. This, along with offering an explanation during interviews yourself even if you aren't asked, Mann says, will alleviate the suspicions that often arise in hiring managers' minds when they see gaps in employment.

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However, if you've been around the corporate world long enough you know that for a lot of hiring managers, even up-front honesty won't be enough to assuage their suspicions about resume gaps. 

Ask anyone who's had an unconventional career — most hiring managers are instantly wary of any deviation from the regular, tidy, linear resume norm, even in this era where the number of people working multiple jobs simultaneously has hit an all-time high amid inflation and recession worries.

So Thomas, who along with his co-host Maia Warner creates the podcast "Well I Laughed," says to simply fight fire with fire by telling a lie in your job interview that shuts the conversation down entirely. 

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According to Thomas, lying in an interview is justifiable.

Thomas says that because the job search system is rigged against average people, they should do whatever they need to in order to navigate it — including lying.

"If anyone's like, 'Can you explain this gap in your resume?' You know what you have to say, right?" Thomas asked Warner in their TikTok on the matter. "Say no, I cannot. I signed an NDA." Warner's reaction is probably indicative of most people's response — a wide-eyed, awestruck jaw drop. 

   

   

Of course, Thomas's suggestion may seem diabolical, but his reasoning for his recommendation is pretty hard to argue with. "The system was never built for us," he told Warner, "so stop working for it, okay? Lie. I don't know what else to tell you."

"Man has a point," Warner responded, and the data agrees. New recruiting technologies, post-pandemic procedure changes, automation, and recruiting staff shortages have resulted in a hiring process that has become chillingly impersonal while also taking longer than ever before, recently hitting an all-time high of 44 days.

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Meanwhile, there are indications that problems like unconscious bias and discrimination in hiring are also getting worse, even as many companies vow to refocus on diversity in hiring. A recent survey by recruiting firm Greenhouse, for example, found that not only is the practice of hiring managers "ghosting" candidates becoming rampant, but Black job seekers are 25% more likely to be ghosted than others.

Thomas says in a situation like this, you need to do whatever you can to keep from getting shoved to the back of the line. "The system was never built for us," he said. "Lie...Put your three best friends as your references. You can Google Docs edit a paystub... You signed an NDA, so no, you cannot talk about that time."

Photo: TikTok

He then summed up his proposal with a reference to some classic internet memes and a simple truth. "Be gay, do crime, charge phone, eat hot chip, okay? None of this is permanent." Translation—do what you gotta do, it ultimately doesn't matter.

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Recruiters and even lawyers said that this tactic could work.

However, this is a very risky way to explain gaps in your resume and could even land you in legal trouble.

As you might guess, Thomas's proposal made quite a few waves on TikTok, but even those who you'd expect to be firmly against it were... well, not entirely unconvinced it wouldn't work. Still, they recommended against it. One recruiter said that while Thomas's answer was "one way around" the resume gap question, it was setting yourself up to get caught in a lie. 

Even a lawyer on Tiktok agreed it would probably work, saying Thomas' take was "super f--kin' accurate." But, she added that job seekers should "beware" that if they claim they signed an NDA, an employer has a right to ask for a "redacted version of the NDA" that removes any secret information. Obviously, if there's no NDA... well, the jig is up.

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But according to another recruiter on TikTok, that isn't even the most likely outcome from Thomas's trick, which she called "harmful." She pointed out that while the resume gap issue is a "stupid-a-s" interview question that is "nobody's business," even a cursory round of verification of your employment history or a simple background check would easily reveal you were lying about an NDA.

   

   

She recommends instead using a resume gap as an opportunity to discuss how you kept your skills and training current during your employment gap.

Of course, many employers don't bother with background checks and employment verification, and in a job-search environment as infuriatingly difficult as our current one? Well, running a scam may be a bad idea in the end, but the impulse is certainly understandable.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.