Should I lie in an interview?

Should I lie in an interview?

Should I lie in an interview?

People always say to me that everyone lies in interviews. If this is the case, I would not like to know the truth around some of the stories I have heard if the lie is anything to go by! In my experience, most people are thankfully not very good liars. In an interview setting where they are under pressure, they often resort to telling the truth, even when they had planned a lie. This is especially the case when they are put under pressure with probing or challenging questions. Most skilled and experienced interviewers can see through lies as they are trained to do so. It is also difficult to remember lies so people often trip themselves up later on in the interview. For the most part, I will not highlight to the person that I was aware of their lies which leave them open to dig an even bigger hole for themselves. With this in mind, I would recommend honesty as the best policy with the following exceptions:

Sometimes the truth of a story involves relaying very personal information. This can make the interviewer uncomfortable and an interview is not the forum for that level of divulgence. When this is the case, a watered down, less detailed version of the story will sell you better. If you have a gap in your CV, this will be questioned so make sure to practice your answer around why this occurred keeping the above point in mind.

A lot of people have told me about the death of a loved one in an interview. Some have even become emotional. This is not professional and is guaranteed to cause the interviewer some concern. They could naturally worry about your ability to cope with a new role, the chances of you suffering depression and your impact on the rest of the team if you are showing them that you are feeling down constantly. Where possible, think of other things to say or ways to describe what happened without bringing the mood of the interview down.

Do not use the interview as a forum to vent your grievances on your previous employer. Integrity is something that all employers value, so show integrity for your previous employer at all times. You can highlight that you may have grown out of the role or are a seeking a new challenge, over listing all the things the company did wrong.  If you have learned your lesson from your previous role, you will be applying for roles that do not share those negative characteristics.

Should I lie in an interview? Some people are too honest to the point of concern. You want to show that you have tact and common sense. If you tell all the gory details when questioned, what would stop you doing the same to a client or customer of the company in which you are applying. Sometimes the truth needs to be garnished to manage a difficult situation and you want to display that you have the ability to manage relationships and situations discretion, sensitivity and using good judgement. Keep this in mind when preparing questions.

The key to avoiding the above pitfalls is preparation in advance and to avoid lies completely. Best of luck jobseekers.

Written by Gillian Knight, MD of Kala Management Solutions We focus on helping people write a great CV and perform their best in interviews. If you would like to book a coaching session or help with your CV or cover letter mail or go to for more details.    Send article as PDF   

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