The Worst Lies You Can Tell in a Job Interview
If you’ve had job interviews, you’ve likely lied to a potential employer. Perhaps it was a whopper; perhaps it was a tiny fib. Either way, if you got caught, you probably significantly dinged your chances at getting the gig.
Job hunting stinks. It’s a lesson in humility — you can send out resumes galore and never hear a peep from a place you applied. When you finally do get an interview it’s a huge win. And, of course, you’ll want to sell yourself in that interview. Selling yourself is fine, but don’t go overboard. If you get caught in a lie, you’ll be labeled an untrustworthy employee, and no employer wants to hire that type of person.
It’s really best if you’re 100% honest in an interview, but some lies are worse than others. Read on to find out what the worst things you can lie about to a potential employer — the things that, if you’re caught, you’ll likely forfeit the job.
1. Your current salary
According to the website siliconrepublic, it’s not unusual for job candidates to lie about what they’re making. They look at it as a negotiating tactic more than a lie. Unfortunately, employers have ways to check on your salary. Get caught in that lie and there’s no going back. Instead of lying about how much you make, try your best to avoid the question — or, just tell the truth.
Next: What’s in a title?
2. Your job title
It’s very easy for a potential employer to find out what your current job title is, so don’t be a dodo and lie about it — there’s probably evidence somewhere online that contradicts what you said. You might think that your title doesn’t really express all that you do in your role, but instead of lying about it, tell your potential employer your real title. Then, explain what you did in your role — particularly the things that went above and beyond what your title required.
Next: Be smart about your education
3. Your education
Another common lie during an interview, according to siliconrepublic, is not telling the truth about your education. If you’ve been in the workforce a long time, you might think no one will check. If you’re new to the workforce, you might think no one would check. Wrong on both counts. Any employer can ask you for a copy of your degree, and if that happens, you’re screwed. The employer will likely think if you lied about your education, you lied about other things as well.
Next: Mad skills?
4. Your skills
Sure, you can lie about what you can do and actually get the job. But once you’re in the job and you’re not using the skills you lied about, it will become evident very quickly. If the job description asks for Excel skills and you don’t have them, say so and stress that you’re a quick learner — if you are. Or, say you’re planning on taking a course in Excel — and make sure you do. If you lie, once you’re found out your employer will not only look at you as a disappointing hire, he or she might rescind your offer based on your inability to perform key functions of the job.
Next: Did you quit or were you fired?
5. Why you left your last job
If you were let go from your last job, you probably don’t want to tell that to your employer. Keep in mind, however, that even though you might not list your previous employer as a reference your potential employer can still call him or her, according to siliconrepublic. It’s scary to tell someone you want to work for that you were fired, but honesty is the best policy. Talk about what happened — and more important, what you learned from it.
Next: The name-dropping game
6. Who you know
It might be tempting in a job interview to name drop. If you’ve interacted with an industry big shot it’s fine to say that during an interview, but don’t ever exaggerate your relationship. It’s easy to find out if you’re lying, and if you’re caught, you’ll look like a desperate fool to a potential employer.
Next: Fake references
7. Your references
According to American Express, people often lie about their references at a job interview. Often, interviewees have friends answer the phone and pretend to be their old bosses. This is a terrible idea. Many employers hire a background-checking firm, and that tactic will definitely not fly.
In addition, many employers look people up on LinkedIn or Twitter to make sure they’re talking to the right reference, not a person’s friend or roommate. It would be very easy for a potential employer to ask your “reference” a question about something he or she discovered online about the real person, so it’s best if you just tell the truth about this one.
Next: People who love people
8. That you’re a people person
Every employer wants to hire a people person, right? If you are one, great. If you’re not, don’t lie about it. You’ll be discovered almost immediately — and likely let go soon after. Because people skills are important in many jobs — those who have them often attract clients and make more money for the company — if you say you have them and you don’t, you’re probably toast.
Next: You want more work?
9. That you love taking on extra responsibilities
When you’re interviewing for a job you definitely want to get the point across that you can add value to the company. One of the ways people do this, according to the website WiseStep, it to say they love taking on extra responsibility.
Let’s face it: No one likes taking on extra responsibilities. In fact, most people want to do whatever they absolutely have to and then head home. Tell a potential employer that you love taking on more work and he or she will likely be laughing on the inside — and not hiring you on the outside.
Next: Taking things in stride
10. That you appreciate constructive criticism
If you’re the type who has trouble accepting criticism on, say, a project you devoted days to, don’t say you love constructive criticism. Just don’t say anything. If you get the job and you have real issues with taking criticism, it won’t be long until your boss figures that out. And chances are, he or she will remember you saying how much you appreciate it.
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