Is a job interview really a fraudulent exercise? Career coaches and researchers studying lies say yes.
This is really no surprise. Even the children we socially remember to tell white lies about the gifts Grandma brings or how to taste dinner. The job interview is just a high-stakes expansion of that dynamic, says Robert Feldman, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and author of the book “The Lear in Your Life”.
“It’s a situation designed to encourage almost lying,” he says. Candidates should put their best foot forward, and managers need to sell the job. Some companies say they want radical honesty, but are they really? “It is part of being a well socialized person in our society, to use lies to make other people feel good about themselves and to present themselves effectively” Dr. Says Feldman.
One study found that people would be exaggerating all sorts of things for a new role, ranging from responsibilities in previous jobs to their reasons for leaving. Of course, mistruths exist on a spectrum, from slight exaggeration to complete fabrication. Sometimes omissions can help prevent potential bias. At other times, they can wreak havoc, even destroy careers.
Follow along with your fictional job interviews as we refute the contradictions, misconceptions and bold-faced lies coming from both sides with analysis drawn from recent academic research and conversations with career experts.