Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Three lies it's actually acceptable to tell as part of your job interview


We’re brought up believing that lies are terrible and if we tell them, our nose will grow so long that everyone will know immediately we’re not being honest.

It’s a common piece of advice never to lie on a CV, especially not in an interview.  But perhaps that advice isn’t entirely useful…

Peter Harris, editor-in-chief of online job site, Workopolis has told Business Insider that some lies are necessary in order to secure that dream job.

“There are definitely some lies that you will likely have to tell in order to get hired for a new job”, he said.

But Harris is clear to point out this does not include lying about your abilities, saying: “There’s no point in being hired for a job you can’t actually do.”

It’s futile to lie about your qualifications or where you’ve worked, because this information will eventually come out to bite you on the bottom, but there are some instances in which being, shall we say, economical with the truth might put you at an advantage.

1. Lying by omission.

It’s OK to leave out some positions from your CV. If you left a job because of ‘creative differences’ with a past boss, or you snuck off after snogging a co-worker at a Christmas party, it might not be something you want to share with the world. “A resume doesn’t have to be a comprehensive list of everything you’ve done. It’s a marketing tool for the job you want. So just list the relevant, positive experiences,” says Harris.

2. Exaggerating your hobbies

Sure, we all know you spend your weekends shrouded in a duvet, dribbling Chinese food down your front and waiting for that ‘the next episode will start in 15 seconds’ notice on your laptop (it sometimes feels like such a long wait), but this is not what a prospective employer wants to hear. It helps to list interests that could relate to the job in question. It's not terrible to say “In my spare time I’m a passionate philanthropist and a keen bookworm” Harris says: “Does the company page include photos of the team on charity mountain bike rides? If so, your include mountain biking and charity fund raising.”

3. Inventing your greatest weakness

It’s perhaps a little too far to say: ‘My greatest weakness is working too hard, and being too awesome for my own good’, but it’s also not a good idea to tell the interviewer your actual greatest weakness. “Everyone lies when answering this question. That’s how the game is played,” says Harris. The best thing to do here is to say a weakness that doesn’t affect your ability to do a good job. Harris says “this shows that you are self-aware and proactive”

So it’s OK to tell a few porkies. But, in the event that you do get caught in a downward lie spiral, Harris says the best thing to do is apologise:

“Explain that you were so passionate for the role that you stretched the truth in order to get the chance to prove what you could really do on the job.” 

Words: Harriet Hall

Images: Thinkstock



Why "Best" is the worst way to end your emails

mad men.jpg

'I’m being discriminated against at work and my boss doesn’t care'


Five ways to stop people interrupting you in the workplace


The five factors that make Brits most unproductive at work


Do you get paid enough for your work? Take the test


Five ways to bring a dash of escapism to your daily work routine



Backlash follows Wonder Woman’s appointment as UN ambassador

The move has been called 'reductive'

by Harriet Hall
24 Oct 2016

Bake Off fans scandalised by Berry and Hollywood news: “I am OUTRAGED”

"It makes me feel sick and empty inside"

by Kayleigh Dray
24 Oct 2016

Meet the 'supermodel' dog whose hair is bewitching the internet

She probably has better hair than you

by Sarah Biddlecombe
24 Oct 2016

Are you ready for Downton Abbey: The Musical?

One must attempt to ration one’s excitement

by Kayleigh Dray
24 Oct 2016

“How beauty rituals help me manage my depression”

One writer found comfort in an unexpected place

21 Oct 2016

Stress is genuinely good for you, experts reveal

Forget everything you thought you knew about stress…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Must-watch Christmas TV: tune in for Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes

Just in time for Christmas

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Oct 2016

Bake Off fans, the BBC has already found a replacement show for GBBO

And it's set to hit our televisions very soon...

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Costa’s fancy new menu includes avocado toast and Prosecco

You may want to dress up for the world’s poshest Costa…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Real-life victims of revenge porn share their stories

“Within a week, everyone had seen them… I tried to kill myself shortly after”

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016