I Don't Get by With a Little Help From My Friends

Survey Reveals Who Gives the Worst Career Advice: Friends and Parents Top the List

Toronto, ON (May 2, 2017) – Think twice before taking career advice from your BFF. In a recent survey from staffing firm Accountemps, the majority (70 per cent) of Canadian workers said they’ve received bad career advice. Friends and parents topped the list as the most likely to provide questionable guidance (22 per cent respectively), followed by educators, including professors or teachers (16 per cent).

Following is a sampling of the worst career advice* workers surveyed said they’d received and the person who provided it:

  • “It’s okay to lie on your resume, they never read it anyway.” – Friend
  • “You’ll need to sacrifice your passions to pursue a successful career.” – Friend
  • “Leave some work unfinished from time-to-time.” – Friend
  • “Don’t negotiate for a higher starting salary. Just take whatever they give you.” – Parent
  • “If your boss is bad, suck it up.” - Parent
  • “Computers are a fad. They’ll never replace human labour.” – Educator
  • “Don’t be too confident about your abilities.” – Career counsellor
  • “Take your time with your work. There’s always more coming, why rush?” – Colleague
  • “Don’t make friends at work.” – Mentor
  • “Just stick with the status quo.” – Boss

*Some verbatim responses were edited for clarity.

Workers who had received bad career advice were asked, “Who provided it to you?” Their responses*:





Educator (professor/teacher)


Career counsellor






Sibling or other family member










*Total does not equal 100 per cent due to rounding.

“Regardless of years of experience, professionals often turn to those they trust for guidance about their next career move,” said Dianne Hunnam-Jones, Canadian president of Accountemps. “While family and friends have the best intentions, they may not always have the expertise and insight needed to provide constructive or relevant advice.”

”Carefully identify your career priorities, and take every opportunity to seek advice from individuals whose professional expertise aligns with your goals,” added Hunnam-Jones. “Mentors in your field can relate to your circumstances and share their learnings, which can help you make well-informed, decisive career choices.”

To counteract the bad advice noted by the survey respondents, Accountemps offers five time-tested career tips:

  1. Plan ahead. Research the company and tailor your resume before applying for a job, practice responses to tough interview questions, and arrive early for the interview or your first day.
  2. Be honest and act with a clear conscience. Never bend the truth in your application materials. If your fib is uncovered, it could do long-term damage to your reputation. And always act with integrity. If something feels questionable, it’s probably a bad idea.
  3. Prepare for salary negotiations. Money can be a sensitive subject. Look to resources such as Robert Half’s Salary Guides and government and industry reports to research compensation trends in your area.
  4. Consider a change. Feeling unhappy in your current role? Compile a list of what’s stopping you from being satisfied. If you find you are no longer in love with your position, it may be time to launch a job search.
  5. Challenge yourself. No matter what stage of your career you are at, set professional goals and re-evaluate them when necessary. If you are comfortable in your position, take on stretch assignments to expand your skills and expertise.

About the Research

The survey was developed by Accountemps and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 400 Canadian workers 18 years of age or older and employed in an office environment.

About Accountemps
Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has more than 325 offices worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the company’s blog, can be found at roberthalf.ca/accountemps. Follow us at @RobertHalf_CAN for additional workplace news and hiring trends.

For further information contact: Naz Araghian, (416) 865-2140, [email protected]