We're all taught that honesty is the best policy - but is this the case in a job interview?
When you're being interviewed, your primary concern is presenting yourself as the best candidate for the job, and it's perfectly normal to talk up your best traits while downplaying your weaknesses. But overstating your qualities and skills can have disastrous repercussions if you're successful! So where does one draw the line?
When talking about your personal skills and experience, it's always safer to be honest!
Before your interview starts, the interviewers will spend some time reviewing your CV to determine what kind of questions they should ask you. If you have been honest on your CV, the interview stage should be relatively easy!
The reason why it's so important to be honest about your skills and experience (both on your CV and in an interview situation) is that you may well be expected to apply those skills if you get the job.
FOR EXAMPLE: If you are applying for a scientific job that requires extensive knowledge and experience of working with a certain type of equipment, you might be asked to complete tasks using that equipment at a later date. If you lie to the interviewers and tell them that you're an expert in using that equipment (when really you aren't), you might end up causing a serious accident or injury.
The same theory applies to lots of other skills, like speaking a different language, being able to use a certain piece of software, and even managing teams of people. When it comes to talking about the skills and experience you have, it's definitely better to tell the truth.
Read More: Can You Lie on Your CV?
Can I bend the truth when answering other questions?
While it's definitely in your best interest to be upfront and honest about your skills and experience, you may not want to disclose too much information when asked questions like:
- Why are you interested in this position?
- Why did you leave your last job?
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
For example, you might have left your last job because they simply weren't paying you enough, but mentioning this in your interview might make the interviewer think you're only concerned with money.
Don't just make up a lie, though - try to frame the truth in a positive way, like this:
- NOT IDEAL: I left my last job because they weren't paying me enough.
- BETTER: I left my last job because I'd reached a dead end - I wanted to move on to something more rewarding, with more opportunities to advance my career.
Remember, there are some questions you don't have to answer.
It's actually illegal for employers to ask potential employees about certain 'protected characteristics', such as:
- Gender identity
- Family and marital status
- Nationality, race and ethnicity
- Religious beliefs
So if you're in a job interview and the interviewer asks 'Are you planning to have children?' or 'What country are you from originally?', they are actually breaking the law. (The only exception is if the question is part of a positive action to help people from a particular group - e.g. an initiative to hire more openly LGBT+ individuals. Even in these cases, you are not required to give an answer if you would prefer not to.)
Hyper Recruitment Solutions specialise in science recruitment - for more interview advice, click the link below.
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