JOB SEARCH / JUN. 28, 2014
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Lying to Land a Job: The Pitfalls

Lying has become second nature in job interviews. The more competitive the market becomes, the harder it is to rely solely on our experience and charm; in fact, telling small lies will often help you to secure a job! There is no real harm in telling a small lie in an interview; if you are asked whether you like the company’s logo – you of course will answer ‘yes’ even if you really can’t stand it. These little white lies can be the difference between the interviewer liking you and not. But be careful. Lies on a larger scale are dangerous and can actually lead to a job being taken off you!

The power of a lie

When applicants discus a topic which may be susceptible to dishonest answers, for example, when asked various questions relating specifically to their previous careers; in that moment any change in body language, optimism and/or enthusiasm can become evident. The answers given will be noted as a significant topic to any recruiting company, this carries power. However, it has been said that the power of that lie is only enforced when the respondent believes the lie to be true. Only then is the lie given birth, thus carrying a value when acknowledged as the truth. The power of this lie can change career paths for that individual and of course, this also acts against other applicants who have been honest. Should they be a sociopath with the ability to lie, free from any form of conscience, they’re fine; most aren’t that way inclined. The power of a lie should it be believed, has a detrimental grip on the recruitment sector. Lies in the interview process have inevitably fuelled the need for tighter referencing, background checks and in depth investigations into the validity of the information given.

Interviewers are human lie detectors

With lies being recognised as a formidable power, the interviewer can read the applicant like a book - or at least they think they can. The interviewers have just a short window of opportunity to gauge the applicant, even the slightest hint that they may not be telling the truth, can provide the assessor with all they need to assume they are a dishonest person. Behavioural studies also indicate that when a person could be lying they touch parts of their face, fidget with jewelry, rub their palms on legs/knees or look upwards in a direction away from the person asking the question. Workers involved with interviewing new recruits often undergo training courses, such as behavioural studies, to help determine who they should select for the job.

Lying about your resume details

Many resumes may contain sensitive pieces of information such as; dates of employment, age, salary and education. These four topics are found to be the most commonly lied about areas when applicants bend the truth.

  • Dates of employment: Some individuals have reconfigured employment dates to hide time spent in prison. Similarly if someone has been fired, or have long periods of unemployment, these dates have been found to be manipulated. References will expose this.
  • Fear of ageism: Arguably, many employers look for young, fresh talent.  This has in turn caused some to show incorrect dates of schooling and education. If the recruiting company checks their certificates, they dates can be cross reference.
  • Salary: Not always stated on a resume however commonly asked during an interview, a vast percentage of applicants lie at this stage. The lie will be revealed through extensive questioning such as tax and net salary, or again through reference checks.
  • Education: Candidates applying for jobs have been known to falsify education documents and/or exaggerate when explaining the level of training they have received. Authentic copies of qualifications can determine this to be true or false.

In summary, the interviewer's mind becomes its own behavioral assessment tool, following experience and/or relevant training courses. The candidates body language, posture and attitude, will shine through as an imitation if being dishonest while assessed during an interview.

Smaller lies can persuade the interviewer to distinguish the applicant as a worthy candidate for selection, whereas bigger lies holding a higher significance will most likely be exposed when the new recruit cannot deliver the results as promised.

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