80% of Workers Lie During Job Interviews — How This Can Cost You in the Long Run

Two women in the office.
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More people than you might think lie during job interviews. ResumeLab’s Job Applicant Behavior Survey with over 1900 respondents, found that a surprising number of workers are lying at very high rates throughout the job application process.

According to survey data, eight in 10 respondents confessed they had lied during a job interview, with 44% admitting to regularly bending the truth and 36% stating they’ve lied once or twice.

And people with masters or doctoral degrees seem to be the worst offenders, with 88% admitting to lying during job interviews — 63% admitted to frequently lying and 25% to lying once or twice during job interviews.

Of people without a college degree, 84% total said they have lied during a job interview, with 31% admitting to frequently lying and 53% to lying once or twice.

Meanwhile, a total of 76% of people with bachelor’s or associate degrees said they’ve lied in a job interview, with 38% admitting to frequently lying and 38% to lying once or twice.

If you decide to lie during a job interview, here’s how it can cost you.

Why Do People Lie During Job Interviews?

Let’s face it: especially in job interviews, it’s not uncommon for people to stretch the truth a bit,” said CEO and founder of TalentPerch, Brianna Rooney.

“Why? Well, everyone wants to land that dream job, earn a better paycheck, and look like the superstar candidate. It’s just human nature to want to shine in the spotlight of opportunity.”

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Common Lies People Tell During Job Interviews

“One of the most common lies I’ve come across is the embellishment of one’s skills and experience,” said Travis Lindemoen, founder at Enjoy Mondays.

“It’s understandable — we all want to look like the perfect fit for the job. But this can backfire because you might end up in a role that’s way above your skill level. Another common one is the old, ‘I’m a team player’ line. People often say it to please the interviewer, but it can be risky if you’re not truly a team player, as it’ll show sooner or later.”

Risks of Lying During a Job Interview

Lindemoen said that lying during a job interview can be a career-killer. “If your lie is discovered, it erodes trust with your potential employer, and you might lose the job opportunity,” he said. “Even if you do get hired, there’s the constant fear of your lie being exposed down the line, which can lead to termination. Moreover, it can be stressful to maintain a false persona at work.”

Other Reasons Not To Lie During a Job Interview

Rooney said that there are many good reasons to stay honest during a job interview besides the fear of getting caught.

“For one, you want a job that genuinely suits you; pretending to be someone else won’t get you there. Plus, honesty creates a better workplace culture where trust and teamwork flourish,” Rooney continued.

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“Imagine the stress and strain on your mental health if you land the role and find yourself unable to meet the expectations. Setting realistic expectations for both yourself and your employer is vital for long-term job satisfaction.”

Is Lying During a Job Interview Ever OK?

“Honestly, there’s rarely a time when lying in a job interview is acceptable,” said Lindemoen.

“Maybe in some extreme situations, like if revealing certain information could genuinely endanger you, you might consider bending the truth, but even then, it’s a risky path to tread. Transparency should always be your default approach.”

How To Avoid Lying During a Job Interview

“Instead of completely exaggerating, focus on showcasing your REAL skills and experiences,” said Rooney. “Highlight your strengths, acknowledge areas where you’re still growing, and express your eagerness to contribute and learn. Authenticity wins the race in the long run.”

In the end, Rooney said to remember that you’re dealing with humans on the other side of the table, and “they value honesty and integrity just as much as you do. So, keep it real and watch your career flourish.”

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