Should you always be honest during an interview?
My colleague (A recruiter for temporary staff) mentioned something interesting last week – on an average, she would interview maybe 10 potential candidates per week, and a lot of them ask the question; should they be honest about their goals and expectations or should they lie, knowing that maybe some of their future goals may not be what the employer is looking for? I think this is a really interesting topic, because a lot of people struggle with this everyday.
There are lots of reasons why somebody may go for a job; one of these could be that they just need the cash! Circumstances could have changed and it could just be a quick, easy job to get – but how do you tell a potential employer this?!
I think one of the main questions an interviewer would ask, to find this out, is “Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?” – This can feel a bit like a trick question, because sometimes the answer is, “not in this job,” or, “in your job,” or something like, “at a bigger better opportunity elsewhere” which are obviously things that you cannot say – instead, they are just trying to get a general idea of what interests you and why this particular position seems like a logical step for you right now. Some people will have no problem answering this question as they are interviewing for a role that they know is suitable for them and their long term career ambitions, however, you could be out of work or maybe in a job that you just cant bare for much longer and need something quick – so how would you answer this question?
First off, we need to ask the question; why do they care? Well, a lot of times, a candidate’s answer to this question will give useful insight into what they want out of the job and what their professional interests are. That matters to an interviewer because it can point to a strong or weak fit, but also because it can give them an understanding of who you are professionally. For example, if a candidate shows a lot of enthusiasm in a particular area, which an employer knows they can offer in this role – it’s a strong fit. It may also tell them if you are passionate about the role and what it has to offer, or if you are just going for it because you need to (for whatever reason)
I think there are two ways you can look at this; if you are going for an interview where you have to lie about your ambitions, future goals and expectations, then maybe you shouldn’t be going there at all – it clearly isn’t the job for you! However, if you are in the position where you just need a job… any job, then maybe this is your only option.
The resolution… I don’t think you should ever lie during the interview process – although I can understand why some people may feel they need to. If you are in an interview and everything you are saying is to please the person sat opposite you, then maybe consider applying for a temporary position – just until you find something permanent that you really want. This way you are not making any long term commitments while messing around anybody in the process. It also gives you time to figure out what you want, or to find something perfect!! If you are interviewing for something that doesn’t tick all the boxes, but it means that you are heading in the right direction – then the good news is you can be honest while still telling them what they want to know; do you have realistic expectations for your career? Are you ambitious? And does this particular position align with your growth and goals overall.
Sometimes it’s okay to say you don’t really know what the future holds, but you see how this experience could really help in making that decision.