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Should I Lie During A Job Interview?
By Sonya Buck, Australia



If you find the word ‘lie’ in the Dictionary it states:


“A false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood”


The mention of deception alone conjures up thoughts of sitting in a court witness box, but surely there are degrees of lies? Certainly, there so many situations where you might tell a ‘white lie’ and during a job interview seems to be very common.


Firstly, to move on to the next level of your career it might involve a stretch in your skills and abilities, so you may be tempted to embellish just a little if you know in your next role you can bridge this gap easily.  Make sure the leap isn’t too vast though, Admin to Science may not be believable in an interview and you’ll be found out in in the workplace.


You may not feel comfortable stating why you are leaving or have left your last position and this might also be a time you don’t really lie, but just put a positive spin on why you left or wish to leave. This has to be better than saying you didn’t like your boss, your colleagues or the long work hours.


You may be asked about your current or last remuneration and this is a tough question.  You may offer your total compensation package (including car, super, phone, etc) or if you really believe you are currently underpaid, you may wish to state the industry standard or award salary.


Definitely if asked why you want a position, you’ll need to fib if you are desperate to find a job.  There are so many better alternatives than stating your desperation for work.


You may wish to omit any unusual interests from your resume or don’t mention them at interview.  It might be best to state your interests which relate to community, charity or team activities to be on the safe side.


Possibly the most common lies told at interview about greatest weaknesses.  Most interviewers have heard all the answers such as ‘working too hard’, but they want to hear the truth.  You may wish to state something real and how you have addressed or overcome it – work related of course.   


There are definitely things you should never lie about: 


  • Your educational qualifications – If you don’t have a degree, don’t say so.  If you are overqualified, don’t hide it. 
  • Experience – If you haven’t got it, if not at interview it would be apparent in the workplace
  • Having a criminal record


I am definitely not recommending that you lie, but just shape the way you are perceived by omitting negatives and including positives.  Focusing on your best attributes is a good approach.


Consequences shouldn’t be a motivator, but remember anything you state at interview can be checked with your last employer, referees and even found on LinkedIn and Facebook.


Lastly, keep in mind what famous author Mark Twain said “If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.”