by Guest Author, Maurie Backman
Since the start of the pandemic recovery, Americans have been quitting their jobs in droves and seeking out better opportunities. If you’re looking to get a new job, you may have to update your resume and do some networking to get your foot in the door. But from there, there’s another hurdle to jump — the interview.
Interviewing for a job can be intimidating, whether you’re new to the process or have interviewed for your fair share of jobs before. But if you want to ace your next interview, it pays to heed the advice of Shark Tank personality Kevin O’Leary.
Tell the truth in a job interview
There may come a point during a job interview when you’re tempted to fudge the truth a bit, or exaggerate a skill you claim to have. O’Leary’s advice is to not do it. Instead, he says, be honest with the person you’re interviewing with, because that’s something they’re apt to appreciate. And also, being honest could help you land the best job for you.
Say you’re interviewing for a marketing role and you overstate your experience doing data analysis. If you’re caught in that lie, you may not get hired.
But let’s say you get away with that lie and wind up getting the job. That won’t necessarily work to your benefit, because if you struggle due to your lack of skills, you could end up on the chopping block early on.
Instead of lying in that situation, it pays to be honest. If you are, your interviewer might decide that you’re not the right fit for that specific job, but that there’s another role within the company that better aligns with your skill set. And in that case, you might end up with a position you’re happy with that pays comparably.
Similarly, it’s not at all uncommon to have a gap on your resume. Maybe you took time off during your career to raise your kids while they were young. Or maybe you dropped out of the labor force in 2020, when schools shut down due to COVID-19 and you didn’t have access to affordable childcare.
If that’s the case, don’t lie about the situation. Instead, be honest and explain your thought process. A prospective employer might appreciate your financial savviness in not spending the bulk of your paycheck on childcare and give you an offer.
Honesty is the best policy
Lying during a job interview could have a host of unsavory consequences. It could not only cost you the role at hand, but potentially tarnish your reputation.
You never know when a hiring manager at one company might have connections to a manager at another company. The last thing you want is for your name to be flagged so you lose out on future opportunities.
But remember, it’s not just your qualifications or work history you should tell the truth about. It’s also important to be honest about the salary you’re earning, if they ask.
If you lie and inflate that number and the truth is uncovered, that, too, could cost you a new job. So while it may be tempting to try to eke out a high salary that will help you pad your savings and meet your financial goals, a better bet is to be truthful about your current earnings, negotiate, and aim to work your way up to a more generous paycheck over time.
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About the author: Maurie Backman writes about current events affecting small businesses for The Ascent and The Motley Fool.