Why Should You Be Honest in Employment Interviews

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 – Deniz Sutas

Stories of applicants being dishonest in job interviews can be common. They may not always have the sufficient confidence in themselves or their skills, so they resort to making up stories about their qualities as an applicant. However, lying about your professional life and qualities might not be the best idea and could impact your interview performance and ratings. In a potential situation, the interviewers might ask you for further details about your made-up stories, and you will either fail to provide any information or try making up further lies; it is likely to create interview anxiety and unfavorable impressions in the interviewers if they feel like you are being dishonest. In their study, Weiss and Feldman found that the candidates engaging in deceptive impression management ended up lying 3 times per 15 minutes of an employment interview (Weiss & Feldman, 2006). Even if you believe you can keep up with your lies, they may hinder your chances of employment. Impression management is the phenomenon where the applicant attempts to manage the interviewers’ impressions, as its name suggests. It does not have to be deceptive, and honesty might improve your chances of being hired.

Honest and Deceptive Impression Management (IM)

Besides the potential negative outcomes and unfavorable situations in interviews deceptive IM may create, honest IM may improve your interview scores. In a research conducted by Bourdage, Roulin, and Tarraf, it was found that honest IM impacted interviewer ratings of hirability, in terms of person-job fit and person-organization fit, while deceptive IM did not (Bourdage, Roulin, & Tarraf, 2018). Overall, it was found that deceptive IM was more prevalent among applicants who were eliminated in the later stages of the hiring process, than the ones who were hired (Bourdage, Roulin, & Tarraf, 2018). Especially if you manage to advance further in the hiring process, it would be the best to believe in yourself and present honest information to the interviewers. Similarly in the earlier stages, lying may worsen your chances of advancing to further stages. Overall, have trust and confidence in yourself, and stick to your honest stories during your employment interviews, doing so would surely help you.



Bourdage, J.S., Roulin, N., & Tarraf, R. (2018). “I (might be) just that good”: Honest and deceptive impression management in employment interviews. Personnel Psychology, 71, 597-632. doi: 10.1111/peps.12285

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.