Unless you’re hooked up to a lie detector or the interview is taking place in an interrogation room, chances are that a little white lie is likely to slip through the job interview cracks.
But when your past position as mailroom supervisor is made to seem like you were CEO of the company, lying in an interview creates more trouble than the fib is worth.
There are some specific ways that lying to get the job will come back to bite you in your career-seeking caboose.
Lying Creates Unrealistic Expectations
Think about it in relation to any situation in life: telling people you’re something that you aren’t will set you up for inevitable failure and is also a giant waste of time.
So, be honest and up front in your interview and represent your past jobs in the best possible way.
If you were in fact a mailroom supervisor, give a detailed account of how much mail you handled in a certain day, if you were in charge of restocking office supplies, and any other pertinent responsibilities.
Being honest will impress an employer more than any fancy title ever will.
A Single Lie Can Snowball
Sure, a momentary lapse in honesty might get you through the interview and land you the position, but one lie will likely rear its ugly head and the only thing that’ll make it go away is another lie.
It doesn’t matter what temperature it is in the office; that snowball is going to grow unless you’re straightforward from the start.
If you feel as though your words are getting away from you when describing a past position or your abilities, simply slow down and reiterate the skills you know you are capable of.
And, in terms of serious lies — such as previous felony charges or being fired from past jobs — put all that information out on the interview table. The worst an employer can say is no.
Résumés Shouldn’t Read Like Fiction
Lying on a résumé is actually worse than lying verbally in an interview because the evidence of the fabrication is right there on paper.
Exaggerating skills and past positions will read like a work of fiction and, in reality, ruin your chances of getting the job. This is especially true if you have references included on your résumé that will state otherwise.
Despite what many job seekers believe, employers actually do contact references and, if things don’t line up, not only will you lose the job, you’ll probably lose your reference, too.
There are Lying Incidentals
All those little fibs that you think might not be that big of a deal could actually cause major problems down the road.
Embellishing your industry experience, not speaking up about physical limitations, inflating your past salaries, not being up front about time you know you’ll need off, and saying you want long-term employment when you really don’t are all examples of white lies that are actually pretty dark.
So, when it comes time to interview, keep your nose from growing and be completely honest with your future employer.
Adam Groff is a freelance writer, honest interviewee, and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including personal health, Steve Wynn, and home improvement. When Adam’s not busy writing copious amounts of web copy, he likes to volunteer as a community theatre playwriting instructor, a field of work in which he holds dual Master’s degrees.