The main part of a job interview is to sell yourself: your credentials, your qualifications, your skills and you as a person. The resume helped get you into the interview so now it’s up to you to persuade the human resources manager, management and the boss to take you on. Just don’t tell a fib, or at least a grand fib.
It’s true that HR departments and company executives expect us to exaggerate just a little in our job interviews. This is simply part of the process. However, lying like a rug can get you into deep trouble, either in the interview or a few months down the line when you’re settled in the job.
Remember, the hiring process has become a lot more scientific and legal these days. Hiring managers use social media and keywords to detect truthfulness and dishonesty, while HR uses legal language in the application process. This is just one reason why you should be 99 percent honest from the moment you apply to your very last day in the position.
By telling just one fib, you’ll be looking over your shoulder like an escaped convict throughout your entire tenure.
Here are 11 of the worst lies that people tell in job interviews:
1. You Can Call me a Team Player
"I loved working with all of my colleagues and I guarantee that they all felt the same about me. I was always patient, understanding and kind to every single person at the office. Even those I didn’t get along with."
Yeah, of course you did. The dead giveaway is when you said you had a great relationship with every single person you worked with, even those you didn’t like. For most people, there is always at least one person you can’t work well with because of clashing personalities.
It’s better to say that you tried hard to work with those you constantly quarreled with. But sometimes it’s a situation where it’s just impossible to achieve no matter what you do. Much better!
2. My Social Media History is Clean
"I guarantee that when you search through my social media history, you won’t find any racist, inflammatory, sexist or controversial remarks."
Yeah, right! Millennials are quickly realizing that those offensive tweets they sent a couple of years ago or that rant they posted on Facebook about their ex-boss just last week are coming to bite them in the butt.
The Internet public isn’t necessarily known to be respectful, polite and kind. Everyone is wishing harm on each other, hurling insults to any person they come across and sending off insensitive comments. And it’s this type of behavior online that is hurting our employment opportunities.
3. Two-Hour Commutes Each Way Don't Bother me
"Oh, don’t worry! I really don’t mind traveling two hours in the morning to get to work and two hours in the afternoon to get home. It gives me a chance to unwind and be with my own thoughts. Plus I take public transit so it’s cheaper!"
You say this while grinding your teeth and thinking in your mind: "Ugh! Why the heck do I have to travel four hours a day for $15 per hour?" When such a commute time is presented in your lap, it’s best to espouse your reservations or ask about telecommuting or remote work options. It’s better than just blatantly lying to them since it’s likely the person in charge of interviewing can understand the strain.
Unless you hate being at home with your significant other or parents, nobody wants to travel two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.
4. Sure, I've Researched Your Company Thoroughly
You say: "Prior to my application, I conducted a thorough research of your company." You think: "As long as you don’t have any follow-up questions, I’m good to go."
Everyone should conduct at least a five-minute research on the company to get a rudimentary grasp of the business, history, mission statement and so on. The interviewer will likely ask a follow-up question to ensure you actually did find out more about the firm. If you want to get away with the lie the best thing to do is to ask generic questions or say "I couldn’t find any information on (fill in the blank). Could you explain more?"
5. I Don't Mind Relocating to the West Coast
"I don’t think relocating will be a big issue for me."
If you have family, friends and a significant other in your home city then chances are you don’t want to relocate. However, you told the interviewer that you were open to relocating, which could have made you the only one, and thus a candidate who would go to the front of the line.
6. Office Politics? That's Still a Thing?
"I never participated in that whole office politics thing. I never gossiped, told rumors or even gave somebody a dirty look. I treated all of my colleagues as equal and practiced the golden rule."
Let me ask you something: you really are the devil aren’t you? It’s impossible to get sucked into the whole word of office drama, gossip and politics. It’s the fabric of the 21st century workplace fabric and has been going on for eons. You can simply say you tried to steer clear of it but never fully took part in it, though you did hear stuff.
7. You Don't Need Any References
"References would be unnecessary because everyone, including my boss, truly adored me."
Liar! When an interviewer hears this then they will immediately raise the red flag and seek out references. No one is genuinely perfect so if you have a boss or manager who liked 90 percent of your work then this will appeal more to human resources.
8. Procrastination is Not in my Vernacular
"My biggest fault is I’m a workaholic and I’m very dedicated to any company I work for."
Oh come on. Are you actually telling the hiring manager that fib? Why don’t you just spit in their face? It’ll be faster and less painful. Saying such poppycock will insult the interviewer because no one says such things anymore. You have procrastinated at least once so own up to it. Your potential employer won’t fault you for it because we’ve all done it from time to time.
9. I Received my B.S., er, my Associate's, er...
"Yes, I have received my Bachelor’s in communications..." you said as you were fidgeting, sweating and hoping that they would go to the next question. Unfortunately, they have more to say.
The education aspect should never be lied about because HR can do a simple check or ask for a diploma or GPA records.
The New York Post ran a piece this past spring about a woman who had dropped out of college in her third year during the ’70s but decided to write that she received a B.A. Without thinking anything about it, the company asked for a copy of her diploma three months later. Needless to say, she was fired after 90 days on the job.
10. Fired? Nope. I Quit!
"Nope. My boss didn’t fire me because I quit!"
Again, any person in charge of hiring can find out in a matter of moments if you were fired or if you resigned from your position. You can be humble about being given the pink slip and concede to mistakes you made on the job and that you’ve learned from them. There’s just no reason to defend the lie that you quit as opposed to being fired.
11. My Browsing History Never Had Facebook or Porn
"I’m sure if you check my previous Internet browsing history at my previous office, it did not contain Facebook, YouTube or pornography websites."
Most businesses are dealing with the addiction to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and, worst of all, pornographic websites. Unless the IT department installed website blocks, it’s likely that most employees utilized the office Internet to check their Facebook updates or to get their daily fix of porn. Admit it: you did it.
See Also: Skype Interviews
We’re not perfect. We’ve all erred in our previous occupations, we’ve all made mistakes in our relationships with our bosses and we’ve all had moments of poor judgment. You don’t have to be brutally honest about your thoughts and feelings in job interviews, but you shouldn’t blatantly tell lies, more lies and damned lies. You can be both clandestine but honest at the same time.
What was the worst lie you ever told in a job interview? Let us know in the comments section below…