Interviewer Tip: Stop Asking Questions Everyone Answers with Lies

“What’s your greatest weakness?”

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

“Why did you leave your last job?”

These are all standard, generic interview questions. I’ve asked them. I’ve had people ask me. You’ve asked them. And everyone lies in their answers because if they told the truth, the hiring managers and recruiters would reject them.

What a ridiculous game.

I mean, imagine if people were honest. Jill Wohner, CEO and Founder of underpin, a tech recruiting company, did. Here’s what she wrote:

To keep reading, click here: Interviewer Tip: Stop Asking Questions Everyone Answers with Lies

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5 thoughts on “Interviewer Tip: Stop Asking Questions Everyone Answers with Lies

  1. I’m an old lady, and have been working — on and off, mainly on — for 60 years. However, in all that time, I’ve had only maybe a dozen actual job interviews, because I’ve always tried to identify my dream job, do everything in my power to land it, then stay in that job — or organization — for years. Therefore, I was, genuinely surprised the first — and only — time I was asked in an interview what my greatest weakness was. After a slight pause — while I gathered my thoughts — I, candidly, replied that I am a workaholic and a perfectionist, although I have learned to discipline my perfectionist tendencies. It wasn’t a lie, and I guess it was an acceptable response, since it led to my current, successful, career in Government.

  2. Of course you’re not likely to find major red flags here from most people on these questions, but it’s quite surprising how many people will actually tell on themselves, and when they do, it’s worth it.

    With these types of questions, what we’re looking for is 1. self-awareness and in the case of a problem, 2. an attempt to show that you are correcting for it.

  3. I was once candidly honest. I was 18 and looking for summer work prior to going away to college. I interviewed at a fast food restaurant. I was asked why did you apply for a job here? I answered “I needed money before I go away to school. I can take direction and work hard to earn it, but really I just need money.” I was not called back.
    Someone later coached me I should not answer this way, but I could not lie. These are entry level jobs paying minimum wage. I later found work and they did not care why I wanted to work there, just that I could work hard.

  4. The weakness question might have been useful 20-some years ago but every career coach and interviewing class has always said to turn the weakness into a strength. When I was involved in interviewing, particularly, of recent college graduates, I gained very little information by asking that question. Honestly, probing about their experience and hearing how they handled certain situations was more valuable than simply asking “what’s your greatest weakness?”

    As far as why did you leave your last job, that can also be tricky. Some companies will lay staff off rather than firing them (I suspect that happened to me once). Or companies will turn a firing into a layoff due to legal threats. Throw in some firms’ insistence on neutral references and finding out why someone really left a company can be a crapshoot.

    To paraphrase Dr. House, “candidates lie.” (But so do employers!)

  5. After my “hey, you’d be a cute girlfriend” line comes the “my current gal’s great but doesn’t understand me like you” shtick in the speed dating interviews.

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