Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lie Like a Rug to Get a Job

Remember when I told you not to lie in job interviews? I lied. 

Okay, well maybe you don't want to lie lie, but do rethink answers to loaded questions. Do not tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth on how you feel, if that unvarnished truth is (a) about your emotional gut response, (b) doesn't sound professional, and (c) suggests that you are likely to trash-talk the people on your new job if and when you get fed up with them.

So for example, two of the ten things to lie about involve interpersonal relationships. Your boss at your most recent job was great; your co-workers were great. In fact, your boss was Meryl Streep's character in "The Devil Wears Prada," and your co-workers were more dysfunctional than the lineup in "The Office."

If they were, and you're asked directly, and you can't tell a baldfaced lie without setting off a visible urge to upchuck your lunch during the interview: find a way to tell the truth.  Part of the truth. The part that sounds good.

"My boss was very supportive of my accomplishments." (She was dumb as a box of rocks, a total scatterbrain with possible premature Alzheimers, who couldn't remember my name let alone my accomplishments from day to day... but probably somewhere deep inside a decent human being. And she did say something nice to me. Once. And later the same day berated me for the same thing.)

"My co-workers were known for their integrity, collegiality and high standards throughout the company." (In fact, my division was full of tattletales who tried to one-up each other by reporting that I used too many paperclips and insinuating that I was stealing office supplies. I left because I couldn't stand getting pressured to attend one more after-hours birthday party, baby shower, karaoke bar session where everybody got splat-faced and sang off-key. But yeah, I guess they played well together in their own stupid way.)

By the way, if this sounds like you -- think long and hard about how you select the references whose contact information you want to share.

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