job interview lies
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5 things you shouldn’t lie about in a job interview

3 Mar 2017

We’ve all been guilty of telling white lies every now and then, but it gets a little murky when it comes to job interviews.

It can take a long time time to finally be called for an interview for your dream job. Your application can be rejected a few times and companies can take a long time to get back to you. The job hunt can be tough.

So, when you get called for an interview, it feels like one big leap forward. Getting that far in the process is half the battle and when you’re faced with the chance to sell yourself, it can be tempting to really big yourself up.

And while we all might be guilty of telling the odd white lie (‘Why yes, I love talking to people on the phone’), there are some lies you should never tell during a job interview, no matter how sure you are that you won’t get caught.

When you get caught in a lie, you immediately become an untrustworthy employee, which is one of the most damaging reputations you can have.

Additionally, most companies have a policy on lies being grounds for termination, so that dream job could be very easily taken away from you.

Your salary

Candidates are undoubtedly guilty of lying about this, and perhaps you’ll never be found out. It’s just an innocent negotiation tactic in a job interview, right?

Until your new company requests your P60 and finds out your previous salary is €10,000 less than what you said.

If you don’t want your old salary to determine your new one, try and avoid answering the question because once you’re caught in the lie, there’s no going back.

Your job title

Similar to your salary, your job title is a very easily verified fact.

For a start, there’s probably online evidence to the contrary of what you’ve said. Were you a team leader or an assistant supervisor? There’s a big difference. You might feel like your job title doesn’t fully reflect your actual job, but it’s not up to you to change it.

If you want to explain this, be honest. Talk factually about what you did in your role and explain in implicit detail the responsibilities that made you feel confident. The interviewer can draw their own conclusions.

Your education

It’s fine to say you got a first class honour instead of a second class honour, right? Wrong.

You’re probably thinking that most companies don’t bother to verify your results because they trust you and how important is it anyway?

The problem is, you have no idea whether or not they’ll check and it’s a very easy thing to do. At the very least, they might request a copy of your degree, which will force you to rat yourself out. And if they find out you lied about your education, they’ll wonder what else you lied about.

Your skills

Your abilities and skills might be a little harder for them to find out about straight away. Without a certification, how will they know whether or not you’re proficient at Excel or have excellent problem-solving skills?

Well, they’ll find out pretty quickly when they need you to use those skills in your new job.

Even exaggerating your abilities with something that you’re only mildly knowledgeable of will show up fairly quickly in the job. You’re then showing yourself to be a disappointing hire as well as someone who stretches the truth.

Your reason for leaving your last job

If you’ve already left your previous job, there might be a reason that you don’t want to tell your next potential employer.

While it may be tempting to lie about the fact that you were let go, don’t. Just because you don’t list your last manager as a reference, it doesn’t mean they can’t call them.

Employers are looking for honesty in a job interview, and while it’s easy to panic about what being let go sounds like, it’s much better to be upfront about it and talk about what you learned from the experience.

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the deputy editor of Silicon Republic in 2020, having worked as the careers editor until June 2019. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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