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Whose lying during interviews

Did you know that the average person lies between once and twice a day? Furthermore, in the study by Feldman et al. (2002), it was found that when people tried to portray themselves as likable or talented, they told an average of 1.75 lies during ten minutes. Weiss, B., & Feldman, R. S. (2006)


The job interview process is risky for both the interviewer and the interviewee. On the interviewer's part, choosing the right person for the position will affect not only the work itself but also the entire company in many aspects - expanding organizational intelligence, productivity, company branding in the eyes of potential candidates, and the social climate.


On the candidate's part, a successful job interview will affect the feeling of stability and self-esteem and increase material prosperity and economic security. Considering that the job interview is the most decisive factor in candidate acceptance, it is not surprising that much attention is given to the interview process.


Impression management tactics are generally defined as a person's attempts to portray himself positively. At the same time, in job interviews, the candidate attempts to present himself as capable, likable, and with high potential. The use of impression management techniques is proven to work. Cacmer and Carlson's (1999) study found that candidates who used impression management techniques were the most liked by the interviewers and were perceived as more suitable for the job, regardless of their skills. Weiss, B., & Feldman, R. S. (2006).


Types of impression management tactics:

1. Eligibility or "I deserve" - taking credit for the candidate's past results.

2. Persuasion - statements of conviction that the candidate has noteworthy and even sublime qualities.

3. Self-promotion - conveying the candidate's abilities, skills, and knowledge.


Wait... that sounds like tactics people generally use, doesn't it?

Well, the difference lies in the information we base it on. In most cases, the impression that the candidates are trying to create is based on authentic and accurate information obtained by the candidate priorly. 

Using tactics is a tool that allows one to shape the first impression and convey it to the interviewer in a more marketable and pleasant way. However, people can also build the framework of the first impression based on incorrect information And even false, hence creating a misleading first impression.


In the survey conducted, it was found that 44% of the resumes submitted for the position contained a false representation regarding past work. Weiss, B., & Feldman, R. S. (2006).

What's the problem with a wrong impression? After all, many people cut corners here and there.


Apart from ethical and moral reasons, lying in an interview may affect the interviewer's opinion, but the disparities can be revealed upon entering the position. And hence, not only is the least suitable candidate for the position selected but the authenticity process of the interview itself is compromised and affects the subsequent choices of that interviewer or manager.


On the other side of the coin, the main goal of candidates coming to a job interview is to get the job. However, that candidate's skills, knowledge, and abilities don't always match the proposed position. As a result, some candidates will choose a strategy of lying or cheating to be that "perfect candidate" and get the position at any cost.


Weiss and Feldman's (2006) study examined the question of lying in job interviews. For the purpose of the study, 59 people who thought they had arrived for a job interview were examined. In half of the cases, the nature of the work required technical skills, and in the other half, it required interpersonal skills. The subjects were asked ten standard questions and were told about the experiment at the end. The subjects watched the video that filmed their interview and testified when their statements were accurate and authentic and when they used less accurate information.


The study found that 81% of the participants testified that they told at least one lie during the interview. On average, each participant told 2.19 lies during the interview. It was also found that people applying for the technical job tried to impress the interviewer with their technical knowledge, and the candidates applying for the interpersonal job tried to impress with their interpersonal knowledge. However, candidates lied more about their lack of technical expertise than interpersonal skills.


And how is personality related? Another fascinating finding in the study was that extroverted people tended to use more self-promotion tactics when most of the information they were based on was false. This follows the research of Christoph - Brown and Co. (2002), who found that extroverted people will tend to use self-promotion techniques due to their ability to talk and connect easily. In addition, it was found that extroverted people tend to lie more than introverted people due to the desire to "look good" and get sympathy from others, and in fact, to maintain a kind of positive image regardless of the price.

So who is telling the truth? And how can you know?


By: Daniel Danino


Weiss, B., & Feldman, R. S. (2006). Looking good and lying to do it: Deception as an impression management strategy in job interviews. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 36(4), 1070-1086

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