Guess who lies the most during interviews?
Yes, you are right! How do I know you’re right, without even finding out your answer? Because everyone lies during interviews! Hiring Managers lie. Interviewees lie. HR lies. The Recruiters lie. Everyone. Lies.
The Wall Street Journal recently did a piece on all the lies and the types of lies that happen during the courtship of a candidate. The funniest part of this courtship is both sides will tell you they don’t lie, but each side will say the other side lies! It kind of sounds like real-life dating!
I want to share with you my favorite lies that happen during the interview process:
The Expertise Lie.
You know when you’re screening a candidate for a position and the job description says, “Must be Fluent in Spanish” and you ask the candidate, so you applied for this job, so I’m assuming you ‘are’ fluent in Spanish? “Of course!” Then they get into the interview with the hiring manager who is actually fluent in Spanish, and of course, your candidate can barely translate the Taco Bell menu!
You’re Going to Love our Culture Lie.
You start the interview and the recruiter tells you this job has been open for seven months (1st Red Flag!) and you let that go and do the dance. Next up, the Hiring Manager speaks of how great the culture is, and how great your quality of work-life balance will be, etc. You buy into the commercial and within twelve seconds of starting the job, you immediately know the culture you were sold on, was complete bullshit. Basically, it should have been, “You’re going to love our culture if you’re a sadist!”
We Mutually Agree to Part Ways Lie.
“Yeah, I’ve got this little hole in my resume. It’s no big deal. I was at that place for four years and the top performer on the team, but you know I was stagnant and I spoke with my boss and we just thought it was best that I leave so I could pursue my true passion.” Really!? So you just decided to leave a well-paying job with benefits for unemployment and passion? At this point, you’re either lying or an idiot, you decide on which one you want to be called behind your back after you leave the interview!
You Can Grow Your Career With Us Lie.
And by “growth”, we mean we’ll give you a 2% a year raise and keep upping your goals each year! Oh, you wanted a higher-level position and responsibility!? Okay, we’ll give you that responsibility, but right now we just can’t move you, but keep up the great work! I think candidates fail during an interview by not asking the hiring manager to tell me how many subordinates in your career have you gotten promoted? “Do I have any questions? Why, Yes!” Give them a real question! Tell me about your coaching tree! Show me who is a leader in your organization that used to work directly for you? Tell me, how long do I have to put up with your shit before I can move onto the next role?
I made Six-Figures at My Last Position.
Okay, I’m all for negotiation. In fact, I don’t think candidates negotiate enough, especially those in the most difficult to fill jobs. But, if you give me some overly inflated salary at your last job, that I know you’re lying about, get ready for me to ask you to send me a copy of your last pay stub! Also, lying about your former salary actually should happen both ways. If you made more than you should have at your last job, somehow you got lucky and someone decided to pay you too much! You better be ready to lie downward, meaning, you might want to think about saying you made less! It’s something far too few people use. If a company thinks they can get you at a bargain, you just might get the job and put yourself into a better spot to negotiate into the future. I see way too many senior-level folks on the job search stating their actual salary and it scares recruiters away, when in reality that senior-level person is willing to accept less to get back to work, but organizations don’t want to underpay you believing you’ll just leave.
I’ve Always Wanted To Work Here Lie.
Welcome to the Rubber Dog Vomit Company! You’re going to love it here! “OMG! I’ve totally always wanted to work at the Rubber Dog Vomit Company! It’s been my life’s dream!” Calm down, Timmy! The reality is unless you’re working for one of like ten brands people know, mostly no one knows what your company really does, so it’s most likely, while they might love working for you, it probably wasn’t something they grew up dreaming about! You probably just have the right job, in the right location, for the right price. But, all of that is really great, don’t discount it, but also don’t go expecting that everyone that interviews with you are a life-long fan.
Sorry, I had car trouble on the way to my Grandma’s funeral Lie!
Let’s face it, this is the #1 Interview Lie of all time. In my twenty-five year career in talent acquisition, I’ve personally had over one thousand car breakdowns and had more grandparents killed than Covid. God damn if interviewing isn’t one of the biggest tragedies of our lifetime! Someone no-shows for an interview and it’s only one of two things: Car trouble or Death!
What’s your favorite interview lie?
If you Google “Tim Sackett” you’ll find our Tim, and a truck driver chaplain. Our Tim is NOT the truck driver chaplain, although how awesome would that be if he was!? He is a prolific writer in the HR and TA space who just happens to also run an Engineering and IT contract staffing agency (HRU Technical Resources) out of Michigan. He also writes every day at his own blog, the Tim Sackett Project. Weirdly, he’s known as an expert in workplace hugging, which was kind of cool years ago, but now seems painfully creepy, but we still love him and he’s fairly harmless. Tim is also on the board of the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP), lifetime Michigan State Spartan fan, husband to a Hall of Fame wife, 3 sons, and his best friend Scout. He also wrote a book with SHRM called The Talent Fix, you can find it on Amazon.