In a closed society where everybody's guilty, the only crime is getting caught.
The above quote was given by Hunter S. Thompson, a famous American Journalist and Author, who started a new form of journalism called 'Gonzo'. Most of his works were based on crime and criminals.
However, in the context of job interviews, we are referring to innocent lies by civilized people. Their reasons behind lying may seem petty like, better salary; higher position; probably, just getting a job in a dream company. However, from an organization's point of view, such lies are serious offences. For these lies, the candidates are not only reprimanded, but may have to pay a heavy price. The heavy price comes in the form of not only losing a good career opportunity (forever in case of some organizations, especially multinationals), but also losing the current job (if the word reaches the present organization). There are only two ways in which a professional can achieve his or her career goals;
The routine and boring way, but most authentic and secure - through honest performance, or;
By being an adroit liar - the one who never gets caught
As quoted by author, Claudio Fernandez-Araoz, "interview is a conversation between two liars", but unfortunately, the ramifications of being caught are different for interviewers and candidates. If an interviewer lies, it is a strategy, however, if the candidate lies, it is cheating. Interviewers are rewarded, but candidates perish. Candidates must always remember that the recruiters are extremely skillful in what they do. Moreover, they keep devising newer techniques to extract the truth out of the candidates, because that's what they are paid to do. So ideally, job aspirants must never lie, but if they do, they must ensure that they never get caught. There are many questions for which no lies would ever work. However, in this article, I have come up with most of such questions for which interviewers have become really vigilant to catch any lies that candidates may throw at them. This article covers those questions along with the usual answers, which are considered as lies, and the correct approach to answer such questions.
"Why are you looking for a job change?"
"I am happy with my current job, but looking for a change now."
Let's accept it. Happy people don't quit. Top three reasons of looking for a job change are, when;
you always think that other people are getting more salary than you.
the words management, boss, and vampire become synonymous for you.
if the hiring company is a bigger brand or the current company's performance is dwindling.
If a survey was conducted, most of the candidates would fall in one of the above situations. Moreover, the interviews are so structured that interviewer has already assessed the true situation. He or she is just waiting for you to accept it, and wants to observe if you can present it with a positive perspective. But candidates choose to lie as they consider it to be a safe passage. In reality, it is a pitfall.
You can't gripe about salary; recruiter would think of you as being greedy. You can't utter a word against our boss or management; recruiter would consider your attitude to be negative. Again, you can't say that your company was going to be closed; recruiter would question both your loyalty and performance.
Then what to say, and how to say it? I will tell answer these questions as well, however, right now, let's stay focused on the topic at hand.
"What's your current salary?"
"My current salary is XYZ, but my appraisal is due next month, and my manager has indicated that I would be getting a raise of 20%."
It's a myth that if you say this during salary negotiation, your negotiation ground would be strengthened. However, in reality, it doesn't affect recruiter in any way whatsoever. If a product's price is going to increase, the seller will coax you to buy it right away - at its current price, and not at increased price. Similarly, a recruiter would always base his negotiations and offer on the candidate's current true worth assessment, and the evidence of current salary and other benefits. If your answer is similar to what's given above, most likely, recruiter would ask you to come back after a month - once you will receive the letter of raise. During that time, either of the following would happen;
candidate would not get the raise (if it was a lie), and won't contact the recruiter ever;
even if this 'getting-a-raise' story was true, the position would have already been filled.
Weigh the opportunity, prove your worth, and have realistic salary expectations based on your current salary standards. You will never be disappointed.
"How do you describe your performance with your current organization?"
"I am the top performer, or the best performer. I was given 'Employee of the month' title."
I was once interviewing a candidate for a large multinational organization. Coincidently, there were three more employees from the same organization, who had applied for the same position with us. The best part was that all three claimed to be the top most performers.
You really underestimated the recruitment process, and recruiter's intelligence and preparedness if you also provided the answer mentioned above or any other version of it. Do you really think that hiring is done without a thorough reference check? Given the current economic and market scenarios, reference check process has only toughened, because companies have already tasted the fruit of bad hiring, which was nothing lesser than being fatal. So please don't boast about or exaggerate your performance. Simply share the performance figures. Claim the titles such as 'Employee of the month or year or quarter', only if you have an authorized documentary evidence to support your claim. Else, reality is just around the corner, and is hardly a phone call away.
"What is your biggest weakness or what are your weaknesses?"
"Being a perfectionist is my biggest weakness."
And there are many other versions of the answer given above. Almost every interview expert must have advised the same that is, to disguise one of your strengths as a weakness. Even I must have advised the same in one of my previous articles. But then, being updated with latest management tactics, and to stay abreast with the current norms are the keys to success. What prevailed 5 years back, is now obsolete. The organizations these days are really focused on employee development, and before hiring someone, they would like to determine the training needs and development areas of that candidate. Every candidate, who prepares for an interview through internet, is aware that a question on weakness is inevitable. But the key to prepare is to identify the areas, where you need improvement and development, and share it candidly with your recruiter.