The 6 most common lies told in a job interview

·2-min read
Two young boys and businessmen dressed in suits and glasses sit at a desk with a homemade lie detector machine. This serious interview is conducted in an office and the machine is predicting a lie from the job candidate. Dishonesty will eventually catch up to you.
These are the 6 most common lies told in a job interview. Source: Getty

Lying in a job interview is more common than you think: in fact, 78 per cent of all job applicants lie during the process, and some lies appear more frequently than others.

According to a Checkster survey of 400 jobseekers and 400 hiring managers in the US, these are the six most inflated claims in a job interview:

  1. Significantly inflated role on a key project;

  2. False reason for leaving;

  3. Made-up relevant experience;

  4. Salary inflation by more than 25 per cent;

  5. Current residence location is different than it actually is;

  6. Inflated job outcomes.

And these are the eight most common lies on a resume:

  1. Mastery in skills you barely use;

  2. You had worked at your job longer than you actually did;

  3. GPA is higher by more than half a point;

  4. A director title when the actual title was a manager or equivalent;

  5. A degree from a prestigious university when you were actually a few credits short;

  6. A degree from a prestigious university when you had only taken one class online, or equivalent;

  7. Achievements that aren’t yours.

Interestingly, the job sector where applicants told the most lies was construction, with information and software, retail and manufacturing also showing above-average numbers.

Do lies affect the job application?

While the high levels of dishonesty are shocking, most companies didn’t actually care, the report found – in fact, only six respondents said they would “never hire” for every behaviour listed, suggesting 99 per cent of hirers would hire someone who told one lie.

On average, 66 per cent of hiring managers and recruiters were willing to hire someone despite inflated claims, and they were most lenient when it came to GPA.

Should you stretch the truth in a job interview?

A recent Harvard Business Review study found it is almost always better to be yourself than to cater to the wants of a hiring manager.


People experience greater anxiety when they cater to someone else’s preferences – ultimately hindering their performance – as opposed to when they behave authentically, the study found.

“When approaching interpersonal first meetings (eg job interviews), people often cater to the target’s interests and expectations to make a good impression and secure a positive outcome such as being offered the job,” the report stated.

“Although people believe using catering in interpersonal first meetings will lead to successful outcomes, the opposite is true: catering creates undesirable feelings of instrumentality for the caterer, increases anxiety, and ultimately hinders performance.”

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