January 30, 2005

Lying in Interviews

There’s a real problem with telling lies in a job interview. I understand that a candidate might want to present themselves in the best possible light for a particular job, but if you tell someone you can do something when you patently can’t, then you are almost certainly going to find the job too difficult to do, and therefore hate it.
[I don’t mean something you can easily pick up, like learning a new company’s bespoke database]
Everyone expects candidates to lie, or at least exaggerate. But no-one seems to discuss the way employers smooth over any potential downsides to the marvellous job and company they are trying to sell you. It’s partly because you’re talking to the boss, and he has no idea that the company morale is so low; if anyone ever complains to him about it, he just writes them off as a troublemaker. They will sell their vacancy on training and promotion opportunites that don’t exist; play down the role’s inherent boredom factor; and lie their arses off when you ask specifically if anyone in the department you might end up managing will have an enormous chip on their shoulder because they didn’t get the job themselves.
Consequently, you will realise on day one that your on-the-job training is to be provided by the bitterly disappointed subordinate. This is of course the moment where you decide that the job is not for you, and wish that you had not secured the job by successfully lying throughout your interview.


4 thoughts on “Lying in Interviews

  1. This is why a job interview should be a two way process. But it seldom really is, unless you are being head hunter or they want you more than you want them. It’s all about who is in control at the interview.
    I think you should be allowed to go chat with the staff and see what they think. Even if they don’t say the obvious, you can tell by the way people talk.
    However, that said, our HR is being asked more and more questions by graduate recruits, about what our corporate responsibilities are to things like the environment, socially etc.

  2. When I was being interviewed for my current job, the Technical Director reassured me that this company was “Progressive” Six months in, I realised he meant Progressive as in Rock – firmly stuck in 1972.

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