The Common White Lies We Tell in Interviews


We’re all doing the best sales job of ourselves in an interview. Granted, some of us are better at this than others, but it just may be that they tell a better white lie. There are a few choice things we omit from our interview answers. A few details might be swapped around. And maybe even a few things embellished. It’s no criminal act to put the best version of yourself forward (provided its not an entirely fictional version!). It’s tailoring for their needs right? I mean, you’re telling them what they want to hear! If you’re not doing this already here are some tips of the trade from a few white lie veterans.

1. Interviewer: What motivates you?

Your interview tailored response: To be a key team player and know that I’m adding real value.

Your honest but less applicable response: My pay cheque.

2. Interviewer: Have you ever experienced conflicts with co-workers?

Your interview tailored response: No.

Your honest but less applicable response: I didn’t really see eye to eye with my last manager but she was a raging lunatic and I really just did everything in my power to not be in the same room as her. I also had this one colleague who repeatedly hummed the theme tune to Indiana Jones. He reported me to HR once or twice for throwing stuff at him when he wouldn’t shut up. Oh and the janitor. Does he count as a co-worker? He was a total sadist. Never emptied my waste paper basket and would help himself to my desk mints. I mean seriously, who does that?

3. Interviewer: What did you enjoy most about your university?

Your interview tailored response: The lecturers. Definitely the lecturers. They brought such a wealth of experience and were so incredibly inspiring every step of the way.

Your honest but less applicable response: The beer was like $7 a jug. A JUG!

4. Interviewer: What are some of your hobbies outside of work?

Your interview tailored response: I like stand up paddle boarding on the weekends. I love yoga and hiking.

Your honest but less applicable response: I wake up eleven, eleven thirty and then Netflix binge for most daylight hours.

5. Interviewer: What are some of the things you didn’t enjoy about your last job?

Your interview tailored response: Some of the implemented procedures were a little laborsome. I think it impacted efficiencies and our time management was often affected due to administrative side of things.

Your honest but less applicable response: Our director was a total timesheet freak and made this big thing about TIME IS MONEY. We’d all have to spend like three hours trying to circumvent these stupid ass timesheets every week, which if you think about it was the complete opposite in making our billable hours effectual. It was a total waste of time really.

6. Interviewer: Why do you want to work here?

Your interview tailored response: There is a real sense of momentum here and I’m completely wow’ed by the inroads you’re making in such varied markets. It gives the impression of a strong and able team and one I think I’d really want to be a part of.

Your honest but less applicable response: The pay cheque.

7. Interviewer: What’s your greatest achievement?

Your interview tailored response: I single handedly brokered a deal with a major telecoms company last year. The revenue alone from the three-year contract enabled the team to on board four new permanent placements and contribute to our CSR initiative.

Your honest but less applicable response: My flatmate and I won the beer pong championship the night before finals. I still managed to score a B- on my Sociology exam.

8. Interviewer: Describe your ideal job?

Your interview tailored response: I’d really like to manage an internal think-tank, a small team of dedicated members to spearhead the solutions side of a business, growth and development, new strategies, etc.

Your honest but less applicable response: Critic for Netflix.

9. Interviewer: Why are you looking to leave your current job?

Your interview tailored response: I feel like I’ve outgrown my current role. I’m just craving a new challenge I think. Something to really sink my teeth into.

Your honest but less applicable response: I reeeeeeeally hate my boss. I think I mentioned before but she’s like clinically insane. Total nutbag.

Naomi Chan

Career Coach and professional career hacker at Team Vanna

3 min read

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