4 Common Lies Job Interviewers Tell You

Job interviews are scary. They’re nerve-wracking and they come with a great deal of pressure to both perform and answer a myriad of questions—some of which may not even be the easiest to answer. As a professional, I’ve been told countless times that it’s highly unwise to lie on a resume or cover letter, especially if the company can easily find the truth through a simple Google search or phone call.

But what about interviewers? What about companies who feed you the standard “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” line? Not everything they say is completely golden. Here are four common lies you’ll hear from an interviewer, and what’s between the lines.


“Salary commensurate with experience.”

Also known as the “Salary: DOE” Line.

If companies had the money to throw a desired salary at every extremely experienced professional they hired, they’d be broke. More often than not, if an interviewer or job listing is selling you this line, they’re lying. Common sense tells us that a company has a specific salary ceiling—for instance, if you go in to an interview with a salary in mind, but that salary is double what your potential manager is making, the company is going to negotiate you down or offer the job to someone cheaper.

While experience matters and goes a long way in determining an employee’s salary, a company will come into an interview or offer with a salary budget in mind. Remember to do some preliminary research about similar positions in your area to determine if the offer is competitive.


“We’ll give you a call.” or “We’ll get back to you.”

Also known as the brush-off.

If a company is impressed with your experience and likes you in an interview, you’ll know it. Most jobseekers say that if they’ve been fed this line, at some point during the process the company lost interest in the candidate. In cases like this, you’ll often be considered as a Plan B or back up hire if they don’t get the candidate they really want.

The best way to avoid this type of blow off is to set a hard date. Telling the company you’ll follow up with your interviewer on a certain date is both good for keeping communication open and for giving the company a bit of a window to work. Plus, taking the action into your own hands means you’re not sitting around waiting for their call.


 “We offer great benefits.”

Also known as the “I’m being nice and reassuring” attitude.

Get it in writing. Get information. Ask for a brochure if the company is big enough. While managers would like to spew how wonderful their benefits package is and how much all of the employees love it, but if you can’t get a hold of details or information before or during the interview, chances are the package isn’t as great as the company wants you to believe.

It’s all steam until you get the details. Consider researching beforehand if you’re nervous about asking in an interview. You may also try sending an email to the human resources department of the company to get a feel for what they really offer.


“As long as you’re drama-free, this is a great place to work.”

Also known as the “Don’t look past the surface of my employees” line.

If there’s competition, there’s going to be office politics. And if there are office politics, there is going to be drama. It may not be as loud and obnoxious as, say, a high school quarrel, but people are going to disagree. If an interviewer feeds you this line, he may not necessarily be lying, he’s sugar-coating the way humans can interact with each other. If your coworkers aren’t robots, there is going to be some drama from time to time.

This is a common line and it can be easy to believe, because you’d like to think that everyone grows out of the dramatic phase. While every interviewer will portray their workplace in the best possible light, always be prepared for that kind of coworker or office. 

Creative Commons licensed (BY-ND) flickr photo by David Blackwell.