This Career Coach Says You Can Lie About These 5 Things In A Job Interview — But Don't Go All George Santos With It

    "There are times when what you want to say, like, 'my boss is a jerk' or 'I hate my job,' isn’t going to serve you. You won’t make a good impression, and it certainly won’t land you the job."

    Trying to put your best foot forward in a job interview can be super stressful — especially if you feel like your foot could use a little bit of ~embellishment~. Just how honest do you reeeallly have to be?

    I have absolutely nothing to offer

    Recently, career coach and Shift Profile founder Anna Papalia (@anna..papalia) shared a TikTok video about when she thinks you should lie in a job interview, and it's gotten a lot of attention. The video has been viewed 2.5 million times and has over 3,000 comments.

    In the video, Anna counts down the five times when she says it's a-okay to lie in an interview:

    First of all, she says it's absolutely fine to lie about your future plans, especially if they don't involve the company. "Lie about where you see yourself in five years. Nobody wants to hear you say that you see yourself in grad school or getting married and having babies. What we want to hear you say is, 'I see myself here at this organization.'"

    woman talking in a job interview

    Next, she says you don't have to tell an interviewer the real reason you're leaving your job. "Lie about why you're looking. We don't want to hear that you're looking because you hate the culture of your current company. No, no, no. Say something like, 'I've outgrown my position, and I'm looking for a new challenge.'"

    Third, you can bend the truth when it comes to how much you hate your ogre of a boss. "Lie about how you feel about your current boss and current coworkers. I don't care if you work for the worst, most micromanaging boss in the world. We don't want to hear you talk about that in an interview, especially if you're being interviewed by someone who might be your prospective boss."

    Fourth, if they ask about your hobbies (which is none of their beeswax, in my opinion), she says you're good to tell them lies, tell them sweet little lies. "Lie about your hobbies. Please pick hobbies that sound professional and interesting. Don't tell me that all you do outside of work is watch Netflix."

    And finally, Anna says you can puff up your title a bit if you're already doing extra work anyway. "You can lie about your job description and your title. You can embellish it a bit, especially if you have been working above and beyond your job description and you haven't been getting paid for it."

    woman in an office

    In the comments, many people are frustrated with the strange social dance of getting through an interview. However, Anna argues that we should be thinking about it more like marketing ourselves.

    commenter saying all interviews are anymore is mind games and Anna replies it's not mind games it's marketing

    And others wonder what is the point of asking personal questions in an interview at all, to which Anna replies that it's about getting to know the candidate a bit and see if they'll be a good fit.

    "Why do you ask these kind of questions? Especially about my hobbies why?"

    Anna told BuzzFeed that she has an extensive background in hiring, including a former role as Executive Director of Talent Acquisition before starting her own firm where she teaches both managers and interviewees how to interview better. She has also taught at the Fox School of Business and has a book on interviewing coming out in 2024 with Harper Collins.

    Anna says that she definitely isn't trying to encourage anyone to act totally fake (or worse, pull a George Santos) with this video. "Although I used the provocative word 'lie,' I am not promoting dishonesty. I am not advocating anyone not be themselves."

    businessman with a long nose a la pinocchio

    She continued, saying, "We all know that we need to be honest in interviews (in fact, my previous video I did was 5 Things to NOT lie about in interviews) and put our best foot forward. But there are times when what you want to say, like, 'my boss is a jerk' or 'I hate my job,' isn’t going to serve you. You won’t make a good impression, and it certainly won’t land you the job."

    If you're curious, here are the 5 things Anna says you should never lie about in an interview:

    1. Don't lie about being fluent in another language.

    2. Don't lie about your education.

    3. Don't lie about dates on your résumé or the job application.

    4. Don't lie about what you want in your career or what you love to do.

    5. Don't lie about getting fired or laid off.

    Anna also answered a common question that came up in the comments: What exactly is a "professional-sounding" hobby, anyway??? "I have to first say, I think this is an awful interview question, and I would never encourage anyone to ask it because what you do outside of work is none of their business, and it isn’t a good predictor of whether or not you can do the job," she explains. "But it’s my goal with my TikTok channel and upcoming book to prepare you to answer these sometimes awful interview questions."

    "In that vein, I would talk about your love of travel, that you are an avid reader (and tell them what books you’ve read), if you are a skier, runner, or anything athletic. Show your intellectual curiosity and if you like to crochet, go to museums... Anything other than 'I don’t have any hobbies' or 'all I do is watch TV.'"

    And for folks who want to pump up their title a little bit, she says this can be a great strategy to finally get paid what you're worth via job switching. "You can embellish your title or job description ONLY if you are working over and above your prescribed job description. Often roles and duties are expanded, and titles don’t reflect the work that you actually do. Most times, people are looking for new jobs because they haven’t received the promotion and compensation they deserve."

    pile of money

    Now, I'm curious — how honest (or not) are you in job interviews? Share your take in the comments.