You're in the middle of a job interview when the interviewer hits you with a hard question. You freeze.
You can feel the sweat on your forehead, and it's getting harder to breathe. If you tell the truth, you might not get the job. So, what do you do?
You need this job, so you tell a little lie. It's not a big deal, right? But although fibbing or stretching the truth in a job interview may seem like a small crime, it's actually a pretty bad idea.
You could get caught in the lie. This would not only be embarrassing, it would also effectively take you out of the running for the position. In addition, lying could make you seem like a great fit for role that actually isn't right for you, putting you and the employer in bad positions later.
So, what do you do instead? Avoid these common interview lies, and use my tactics to answer honestly:
1. "What gaps?"
When you're applying for the job, you only include positions that are relevant on your resume. That's good. You should do that.
But if you do have gaps in employment or have only worked somewhere for a short period of time, the interviewer will notice. He or she will ask you about it.
If you think you can cover up your gaps in employment or your negative experiences by fudging the employment dates on your resume, think again. In a 2014 CareerBuilder survey, 42 percent of employers surveyed said they had caught job candidates lying about employment dates.
The best thing to do is prepare to answer questions about gaps or short stints in employment. Be honest about any unemployment or negative experiences, but focus the conversation on what you learned from the experience.
How have you grown as a professional since then? What skills have you worked on as a result?
2. "I always get along with everyone."
You should never badmouth anyone -- be it a co-worker or past boss -- in an interview. Ever. That being said, you shouldn't lie about getting along with everyone either.
There are difficult personalities in every office, and chances are, you've had to work with some of them. But saying “I loved everyone” or “I'm a great team player” is a cop out, and it ends the conversation.
Your experience working with people you don't get along with can actually be a positive in a job interview. When you're asked about a challenge you had to overcome, you can discuss any friction you've experienced on past teams and how you professionally tackled adversity.
Avoid talking about specific people. Instead, focus on how you changed your approach to get the job done. Explaining your experience can highlight your communication and problem-solving skills, as well as your ability to work with demanding or difficult clients. This is much more valuable than some cookie-cutter answer.
3. "We have the same interests? What a coincidence."
You know cultural fit is important when landing a job, so do your homework before the interview. You look at both company events and the social profiles of employees to see what the team likes doing.
When the topic of hobbies comes up in the interview, you say you have the same interests as the team. In the interview, you say you just love the outdoors, or that you're really into sports and fitness activities.
You say this even if you hate those things in real life. Cultural fit is important, but why would you want to work for a company you really aren't a good fit for? That's not good for you or the employer.
In addition, if you do lie about your interests, the truth will eventually come out. Among the recruiters surveyed by Jobvite in 2014, it was seen that 93 percent scan the social profiles of job candidates before making hiring decisions, and 80 percent are specifically looking to see if the candidates are a good fit for the company culture.
If they don't catch the lie before you start the job, they're bound to find out once you do. Company camping retreat? “I know I said I love camping and the outdoors in my interview, but I actually don't even own a tent.”
Avoid getting caught in a lie and tell the truth about your hobbies and interests. If you love spending quality time with your dog, have a passion for knitting or prefer to take unconventional fitness classes like pole dancing, proudly share that with the interviewer.
(Well, maybe leave out the pole dancing.) Being genuine is always better than trying to fit yourself into a particular image a company is looking for.
4. "I love your company."
The interview is winding down, and the interviewer wants to know why you're looking for a new job. Why now? Why this company?
If you're looking for a new job, chances are, there's something you don't like about your current job: the commute is too long, your salary is too low or you just don't like what you're doing. But you don't want to seem negative.
You enthusiastically tell the interviewer you love the company. You say the opportunity to work with him or her is a great move for your career. You're passionate about the mission, and are excited about the position.
You should be passionate about the employer and the opportunity, but you shouldn't have to lie about it. If you really aren't that excited about the position and simply see the job as a way out of your old one, that's a bad sign.
The job isn't for you. Move on, and find one that excites you.
It's also OK to explain why you're looking to leave your old job. Just don't badmouth your employer.
If you're genuinely excited about the opportunity, tell the interviewer. Be specific.
What about the company or job excites you? What attracted you to the company? Is it the people, the mission or the opportunity to use certain skills?
In the pressure of the interview, lying to make yourself seem more desirable may seem like the best choice. But you're doing both the employer and yourself a disservice. Be honest during interviews to find the job that is the right fit for you.
Have you ever lied in a job interview? Why? What was the end result?