Why Little White Lies Have No Place in the Job Interview

You are at a job interview.  They ask you if you are familiar with Power Point.  You haven’t really used it before, but it is a Microsoft program, and they probably have a tutorial that you can look at tonight.  You lie, and say that you have worked with the program.  Next, they ask you about your experience leading a meeting.  You haven’t officially chaired a meeting, but it is not that difficult and you are often the person at the meeting with the most information.  You lie again.  It’s not a big deal to stretch the truth a little, is it?  Doesn’t everyone do it?  You should never lie in a job interview and here’s why:  

  • The interviewer may know more than you think.  The interviewer may be familiar enough with your organization or your position to recognize that you are exaggerating.  Remember, the interviewer works in the same field.
  • If you never lie, you don’t need to have a good memory.  In order to be consistent, you need to remember what you told each employer.  It can be stressful to keep all of your stories straight.  You come across better if you are relaxed, and you will be much more relaxed if you stick to the truth.
  • Your references might give you away.  Some employers might ask your references detailed questions about your job duties.  When answering these questions, your references may unwittingly expose your lie.
  • The employer can terminate you at any time.  If you get away with the lie and are hired for the position, you are not off the hook.  If the employer finds out about your lie at a later date, they have a legitimate reason to terminate your employment.  You will never have job security with that position.  The lie can come back to haunt you.
  • The stakes are too high.  As soon as an employer determines that you are lying, they will lose all interest in hiring you.  All of your skills and qualifications will become overshadowed by the fact that they cannot trust you.  You will not only lose this opportunity, but the organization will never hire you in the future.  Further, they may let other people in their network know that you are dishonest.

In a tough job market, there can be a temptation to stretch the truth and tell employers what they want to hear.  However, the negative consequences of lying significantly outweigh the potential benefits.  Don’t fall into that trap.  Stay confident in your skills, keep up the momentum of your job search, and the right opportunity will come.

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo From: africa / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)



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