Let's pretend this job never happened...
September 25, 2013 4:21 PM   Subscribe

Do I have to disclose a job that I only worked at for one day on employment applications?

I recently got a job at a major office supply retail company. It was very sudden, and they were pretty much desperate to get new hires on because they were preparing to close the store down in a few months. Despite having no retail experience, I was pretty much thrown into a busy shift with barely any training and not so much as a tour of the store, and I was given attitude when I wasn't keeping up. It was truly unpleasant and I knew there was no way it was going to work out without me being incredibly miserable, so I decided to quit after finishing my first day. The manager wasn't necessarily pleased with the decision, but we didn't part on hostile terms.

I haven't been paid yet. I actually have had another job interview since then, and I listed this job on the application for the sake of honesty. The HR lady interviewing me said that her "HR advice" was to not list that job on there, since no one would be able to find out. I'm inclined to go with what she says, because I really don't want to list it on applications. But I thought I would see if anyone else had a different opinion. And just to be clear, I am NOT talking about listing it on my résumé, I already know not to do that.

Is there any good reason for me to list this job on a long-form application? Can any kind of employer background check discover this information, by looking at W-2 history or anything else? And finally, would employers actually be likely to care about this even if they did discover down the line that I omitted this information? Ideally looking for answers with credibility, possibly from people who work in HR or employment law. Thanks!
posted by cosmicbeast to Work & Money (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As a person who hires people, having a one day job on your resume is far worse than not including it. I would omit this and not think twice about it.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 4:24 PM on September 25, 2013 [21 favorites]

I am also a person who hires people, and I agree that you should not list it anywhere.
posted by rhapsodie at 4:25 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Typically your employment history is more to find out what your job experience and timeline has been like, rather than to have a complete record of everything ever. I can't think of any reason to mention a one day gig unless you did something so spectacularly wonderful on that day that you just have to share.* Otherwise it invites the hirer to paint their own picture, which probably won't be in your favor. Leave it off.

* - "I showed up and made a phone call to a rich friend who then bought the company out for a bajillion dollars that afternoon, followed that up with a few drinks with my colleagues and retired rich" ...?
posted by rouftop at 4:27 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Resumes are not and can not be your complete life history. You shouldn't lie, but feel free to leave anything off that you don't think will help you get the job you want.
posted by aubilenon at 4:29 PM on September 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

I use the phrase "relevant work experience" and then I decide what is relevant.
posted by srboisvert at 4:33 PM on September 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

Yes, leave it off your resume. It has zero benefit and could hurt your chances. It is not relevant to your future career.

Background checks are generally criminal background checks (and/or credit checks depending on the type of job.) These shouldn't bring up this one-day job. However, if it ever did come up or someone found out - which I don't know how they would, you can just say, "Oh yeah, it wasn't relevant work and I wasn't a good fit for the retail environment/the business was liquidating so I decided to look for stable work." (Or something similar.)
posted by Crystalinne at 4:35 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I just wanted to clarify before too many people start saying the same thing: I wouldn't even consider listing this job on a résumé. I am talking specifically about long-form applications (internal documents used only by the company), where they essentially tell you you have to include every job you ever worked.
posted by cosmicbeast at 4:36 PM on September 25, 2013

I would not even include it on that either.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 4:37 PM on September 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

They haven't paid you. Essentially, you volunteered there for a day.
posted by DoubleLune at 4:46 PM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I would still leave it off. Those forms are really intimidating, but they're not magically requiring nothing but the truth from you. I've never glossed over job history on one of those, but recounting the "all addresses of the past 5 years" was pretty painful when it covered a college dorm, 2 summer internships, both my parents' addresses, and post-graduate apartments in 3 different states. You gloss over some stuff. It's okay. Feel no guilt.

To the best of my knowledge, it's not legal for an HR department to get copies of your tax history that would turn up the fact that this employer existed. According to these faqs it's not illegal for them to ask you for a copy, but you're not required to give them one and they're not able to get it on their own unless you sign a consent form.
posted by aimedwander at 4:48 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I studied HR in graduate school, though am not current an HR rep or a lawyer. In the US, if you do not list this job, the likelihood of it ever coming up ever again is only slightly higher than zero. Unless you are applying for a government job, something with clearances, or something in the financial sector, no one is going to pull your W2s. That single paycheck, if you even get one, may not even be reported on a W2; the company may opt to pay you out of their discretionary fund (if they pay you at all) and not report it to the IRS.

You need not dedicate any more brainpower to this topic.
posted by juniperesque at 4:48 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

If I listed every job I'd ever had on applications or my resume I'd be writing a large book, and that's ignoring the ones I've forgotten.

So another vote for no.
posted by deadwax at 4:51 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I wouldn't disclose this on anything less than a government security background check form.

If anyone were to check up on such a job, though, Staples DepotMax would only confirm that you were employed there, the length of your employment, and maybe your title. Doing any more is much less lawsuit-proof for them.

The only people who keep central databases on your employment history are revenue agencies, state and federal. Unless your potential future employers will have access to tax records (and the ability to use them for verifying employment, legally or not), they'd literally have to bumble into the information.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:07 PM on September 25, 2013

I work for state government and echoing all the above - excepting a security background check - you never worked there.
posted by mkim at 5:23 PM on September 25, 2013

You also asked, Can any kind of employer background check discover this information, by looking at W-2 history or anything else?

No, nobody is going to have access to your W-2 history but the IRS (and probably the NSA). If you ever go for a US government security clearance, disclose the one-day job. Otherwise, don't.
posted by beagle at 5:58 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Definitely not. Saying this as a corporate recruiter. It would serve no purpose.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:03 PM on September 25, 2013

Yeah, the only reason I'd include it would be if you were going for a Top Secret clearance or they were doing something similar where they'd really dig into your background.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 6:36 PM on September 25, 2013

Good advice above, and I will add: if you ever apply for work with any company that is part of the same corporation as Major Office Supply Retail Company, Inc (say, owned by the same parent company), your one-day history will come up. In that very specific case, absolutely list it on the long-form application.
posted by marmago at 6:38 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

There's no Permanent File.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:24 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Despite having no retail experience, I was pretty much thrown into a busy shift with barely any training and not so much as a tour of the store, and I was given attitude when I wasn't keeping up.

It sounds like you're kind of new to the whole job thing, so can I offer one more piece of advice? If for some reason you ever have to discuss this one-day job in an interview (although I *really* can't imagine why you'd ever bring it up) you should not go into this level of detail about why you were unhappy with the job. Some hiring managers might think "wow, this person seems to expect an extraordinary level of hand-holding, he/she is not worth the trouble."
posted by acidic at 7:38 PM on September 25, 2013

Response by poster: Alright, this is a very clear message I'm getting here! Thanks for your responses.
posted by cosmicbeast at 8:18 PM on September 25, 2013

Just a data point.

A friend of mine recently applied for a CNA job.

They wanted a full listing of ALL jobs going back 10 years. She left off two, a gas station and grocery store job from when she was 17/18, right at the 10 year mark.

Obviously a bs high school job had nothing to do with this new job.

Somehow they found out (and I'd like to know how!) and quizzed her on this "obviously intentional oversight". She was caught a little flat footed by this call, but she said pretty much what I said, It was 10 years ago and totally not related. They decided to retract the job offer.

My advice to you is to not list it on your resume. But have an answer ready for the off chance someone calls you on it.
posted by PlutoniumX at 7:39 AM on September 26, 2013

For reference, I've seen people omit entire months-long employment situations from their records. It can be odd, but they have their reasons. A one-day job barely even qualifies as such.
posted by werty at 11:37 AM on September 26, 2013

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