Lying is a silly, but very popular mistake people make during job interviews. This is why many recruiters say, “We’ll call you back” and then never do. Professional recruiters shared their life hacks and stories from their personal experiences.
We at Bright Side think that even if you don’t know something, that doesn’t mean you should lie about it. And at the end of the article, there is an opinion from one of the recruiters about the candidates that still deserve a chance, even if they lack knowledge.
- At a job fair, I told people that we were doing a lot of work in the programming language Balrave, and asked if they had any experience with it. A disappointingly high number talked about using it for classes in college, and writing some side programs in it after they heard about it, and so on. They must have felt silly later when they Googled it and discovered that there is no programming language called Balrave, I’d just made it up as a way to tell who was lying to me. © CaveatAuditor / reddit
- I speak enough Spanish to get by, and back in the day when I was a hiring manager, if anybody put “fluent in Spanish” on their resume, I’d walk into the interview room and introduce myself and start the interview in Spanish. The looks of panic from the kids who’d taken, like, 3 years of high school Spanish before college were priceless. © ER10years_throwaway / reddit
- I work at an architecture firm and, I kid you not, a candidate attached one of our projects to her portfolio. Exactly the same 3D-rendering. It wasn’t even listed on the company website, so how she got it is still baffling. The hiring manager just played along. © Laxice7 / reddit
- We had someone come in and interview for a call center position. Their resume claimed they had 3 years working in a call center in town. When she arrived, she was very lethargic, and couldn’t answer basic interview questions. When asked what she did at call center A, she literally just said “call center rep.” When asked to elaborate on her duties, she repeated the same thing. No details were given. She even claimed that she has never been asked such hard and detailed questions during a job interview before. We didn’t make it past 3 very basic questions. We then concluded that she lied about working at Call Center A, or at least that she certainly didn’t work anywhere near 3 years there. © jekka31088 / reddit
- One woman I interviewed literally took a pause and read the answers to my questions straight off of Google (in an online Skype Interview). I noticed it because there were really weird pauses and I googled it myself and literally followed along, like subtitles. © Shyless21 / reddit
- A candidate was using nothing but buzz words with no context, no examples, and no personal opinions. © FCK-rffld / reddit
- A common one I see a lot is work history that is grandiose and makes people look excessively overqualified, especially if it’s difficult or impossible to verify. I am in a high immigration city, I deal with lots of international candidates, and have met a vast amount of people with titles like “Executive Director of Worldwide Distribution” or “Senior Vice President of Global Operations” from a company with no phone number or English website. I have had more than one “CFO” interview for an entry-level position who had never seen a Profit & Loss statement before. © takecareful / reddit
- When you’re doing a video interview, you can watch them try to google stuff in the reflection of their glasses. Small props for being clever though, he was paraphrasing the question back to me as a way to use the voice assistant. © tvb1313 / reddit
- I had a woman once that had around 10 jobs over the last 2.5 years — she claimed to have a “wealth of knowledge” from all of these different “opportunities to learn.” She talked around most questions, and long story short, I found out that she and a friend would apply at companies as minorities, and then quit and sue for discrimination. She had sued 8 out of the 10 people she worked for. Dodged that bullet. © Amadpate / reddit
- At my company, they were doing an online interview with a guy. When they started asking him technical questions, they noticed that the audio would go “out of sync.” They played closer attention and realized that, in fact, he was not talking, he was trying to lip-sync to someone else who was in the room with him answering questions. They stopped the interview instantly. He wasn’t hired (and neither was his more knowledgeable friend). © lucicis / reddit
- I had one guy who listed himself as XXX Manager at YYY Company at ZZZ location from 2007 to 2011. The thing is, that was my position and title and location. © CantfindanameARGH / reddit
- STAR questions (Situation-Task-Action-Result) are designed to root out people that don’t have real experience. Or if they do have experience, the questions will expose their level of skill and work personality. If I ask, “Can you handle underperforming reps?” you can give a vague answer easily. But if I say, “Tell me about a time when you had to coach an underperforming rep — what was the scenario, what actions did you take, and what were the results?” that’s much harder to lie your way through. © iujohn3 / reddit
- At our software company, we first screen potential candidates through a phone call with technical recruiters. One applicant did exceptionally well on the phone interview, answering all the questions with apparent ease, so we decided to interview in person. The in-person interview went shockingly horrible. The candidate was unable to answer even the most basic questions. After a few attempts to simplify my questions, I finally decided to ask him what was going on. Turns out we had interviewed his computer scientist son on the phone. I tried to hire his son, but he wasn’t interested. © FrashAppleJuice / reddit
- In my experience, the smartest people are comfortable saying they don’t know something or acknowledging the limitations in their knowledge or experience. Naive or bluffing candidates want to project an air of knowing everything, which is implausible. © dgran73 / reddit
- Another signal is how eager they are to go in-depth. I interview programmers and technical staff, so I like to ask them about the project they are most proud of. I listen carefully and ask a few questions about how they worked through some thorny tech issues. I understand that software is a team effort, but the legitimate contributors are eager to talk about the technical details of what they built. The ones who just attended meetings and rarely contributed struggle to say anything of substance. © dgran73 / reddit
- I don’t see a lot of things that people are totally making up, but it’s easy to spot when they are heavily embellishing their work history. It’s totally fine to have worked in a restaurant or retail store, I’m hiring for entry-level professional positions, so you expect that kind of work history. I’ll take your application a lot more seriously if you focus on the customer service aspect of the job and don’t try to make it sound like you, the cashier, were running the place. © Diet_coke / reddit
- As someone who has hired many technicians in IT positions, I’m amazed at how many people try to fake highly technical knowledge. I remember I needed a telecom engineer with very specific knowledge of a very specific voice system. I was getting suspicious of this one candidate, so I started asking about the exact syntax of command lines and this guy was actually throwing out made up commands! I was both fascinated and annoyed. © BaconReceptacle / reddit
- Not knowing their resume is always the biggest tip-off. I often get that dead fish eye face, like I just asked them to kill my grandma. I’ll even help them out a bit and give them file names and ask if they edited them, and if I continue to get a space cadet, I’ll just revert to generic questions to pad out the rest of the interview and hit the 30-minute mark. © DarthMurdok / reddit
- It was awkward. We have to ask all the same questions to each applicant, so we had to continue for another 5 minutes or so, even after they started sobbing. The skills test at the interview seems to destroy certain people. We had a 26-year old’s mother call us to complain about “ambushing” her son by asking him to do some stuff with Microsoft Access during an interview for a database analyst position. © Communist_Pants / reddit
- Having interviewed quite a few candidates, I’ve come to accept that many people will try to lie their way through something they have very little knowledge in. When I ask a direct question and the person is trying to work it out on the fly, to come up with an answer that sounds correct, I get some great insight into their troubleshooting abilities. This only works if you know what it is you are talking about though. If you’ve never heard of Ansible, please don’t try to tell me what a great database application it is. At the end of the day though, my favorite answer, and the one most likely to get a candidate with limited experience onto the next phase, is to just admit you don’t know, but that you’ll look it up or google it and be able to answer the question next time. The most recent candidate we hired did just that. © shroom2021 / reddit
Has something like this ever happened to you? Were you a candidate or a recruiter?