Everyone lies in job interviews. Don’t be left out.
Everyone lies in job interviews. Don’t be left out.

How to lie in a job interview

IN MY first ever interview for a job as a journalist, I was asked, "What areas could you improve in?"

"Writing," was my prompt reply.

My interviewers laughed - the job was after all for a writer.

It didn't occur to me to lie and having never worked as a journo before, I thought it would stand to reason that I had room to improve.

When the editor called me and offered me the job, she said they were impressed by my honesty but advised me against being so blunt in the future.

"Never tell an editor you're not a strong writer," she said.

It was an invaluable lesson. Fake it 'til you make it.

And it seems plenty of us are willing to do that, according to new research released by job site SEEK.

It found that young men are the most likely jobseekers to lie in an interview, bending or concealing the truth to give them an edge over the competition (huge surprise).

Almost half of men believe it is acceptable to lie in a job interview, compared to about a third of women.

Younger people are also more comfortable embellishing the facts when talking to a potential new employer.

More than half of people aged 18 to 24 believe it is acceptable, but this drops to 36 per cent among those aged 35 to 54, and 24 per cent for those aged 55 to 64.

Yep, I totally know how to use Excel Spreadsheets.
Yep, I totally know how to use Excel Spreadsheets.

Career Development Association of Australia national executive committee member Rebecca Fraser says she's not surprised by the statistics.

"Women naturally undersell themselves anyway," she says. "They typically don't talk to their capabilities, even if they are truthful."

I chatted to a few of my lying male mates and got their best tips on how to pork pie your way through an interview.

Here are some common questions asked in an interview and the best ways to answer them:

Why are you leaving your old job?

Truth: Because my boss is an absolute jerk and I can't stand it any longer.

Answer: I love my job but it is time for a new challenge. I'm committed to learning new things and always trying to improve myself.

What is your biggest weakness?

Truth: Showing up at work on time.

Answer: Sometimes I just work too hard, you know? I try and have a good work-life balance - I'm passionate about staying healthy so I never have sick days - but sometimes it is really hard for me to clock off.

I also love coming in on my days off to get a head start on the week. I'm trying to work on that.

Give me an example of a time when you had to deal with a difficult situation.

Truth: I once saw my co-worker steal my tissues off my desk and put them on their own. I really wanted to go up and coward punch them in the back of the head while they were typing, but I didn't.

Answer: I could see one of my colleagues was really struggling with their workload and was very stressed.

Like I mentioned before, I'm quite partial to staying back, so in order to help them out, I stayed behind and helped them finish their work.

They baked me a cake the next day and said I pretty much saved their life.

I just said I was glad I could help make them feel better and offered to lend an ear whenever they needed it.

An astronaut? Really?
An astronaut? Really?

What's your greatest strength?

Truth: My biggest strength is being the funnest/most drunk person at the work Christmas party.

Answer: Helping others. I really live by the ideal that there is no "I" in team and that I'm not succeeding unless everyone else around me is.

What are your salary expectations?

Truth: More than what I'm worth.

Answer: Bang an extra 10k on your current salary and tell them you couldn't possibly make the move for any less than what you're on.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Truth: Probably battling a lifestyle-related chronic disease while I sit in my riverside mansion that I bought after winning the lotto.

I haven't worked in the past four years but have watched every single episode in the Real Housewives franchise.

Answer: Working hard to achieve my goals while giving back to the community.

Lying is not the greatest start to a new job, but when 50 per cent of the nation is doing it, you have to remain competitive.

Just take solace in the fact that if you're a woman, they'll probably be underpaying you anyway.

Jill Poulsen is a Courier-Mail senior reporter and columnist.

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