Lying in a job interview …


If you don’t understand why lying to anybody about anything is a Very Bad Thing, please unsubscribe from this blog … I don’t want to financially arm a lying, cheating scoundrel, you’re dangerous enough without money 🙂

This could be my shortest post ever, so let me pad it out with a very-slighty-related anecdote:

One of my friends was offered a promotion, so he had a ‘salary negotiation’ meeting with the CFO of the company (also a very nice guy and also a personal friend, which makes this all the more funny to me).

After a suitable opening discussion, the CFO reached into his briefcase and pulled out an Offer Letter with the proposed new salary on it, and signed by the CEO.

Pretty official … end of discussion.

Except the payrise was trivial (like 5%) and involved a relocation; naturally, my friend pointed out to my other friend (the CFO) how inadequate the payrise was.

No problem.

The CFO merely reached into his briefcase and pulled out a second letter! Neatly typed and also signed by the CEO … sneaky, huh?

Only problem was that this offer was still too low, and my friend told him so.

No problem.

The CFO reached into his briefcase and pulled out a third signed letter!

I wonder how many more signed ‘official’ letters were sitting in there?

Unfortunately, we’ll never know because my first friend stopped there and my other friend (the CFO) ain’t telling.

If there is a message in all of this: negotiate the hell out of all job/business opportunities (without being a pain the the a…), but please don’t lie about it.

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11 thoughts on “Lying in a job interview …

  1. ROFL 🙂

    I would have asked after the third letter “how many more letters you have in that briefcase?”

    I don’t know if this is a common way to handle negotiations in the states but I sure would have laughed my ass off. Very corny 🙂

  2. @ Kohti – Hi! Actually, the one friend (employee) is Pakistani/English (he moved back to Pakistan a couple of years after this strange episode) and the other is Dutch. This all happened in the UK.

    That just means that people are crazy the whole world over 😛

  3. it might have worked if the initial offer wasn’t so paltry. “official” signed by the CEO, two jujubes and this bent coupon for 40c off laundry soap, what do you say?

  4. @ Ill Liquidity – Actually, I just remembered that I received a letter on my final interview for my very first job … I thought my starting salary would be $15,000 per year, but when they handed me the letter, it only said $12,500 🙁

    But, on the tram ride home I pulled out the letter and realized that it said $1,250 per MONTH 😛

    Now, Kohti’s made me think that instead of being excited that I was getting $15k after all (this was 1980!) maybe I was a sucker and should have held out for letters 2, 3, 4 … n?! This is going to keep me up for the next few nights …

  5. Agree, and it’s disappointing how often I come accross people who lie during interviews or on their cv.

    Of course, there is a fine line between an outright lie and minor overstatement/exaggeration.

  6. Where is the lie in this story? Seems the first friend,was on the up and up. The second friend making all the offers, didn’t actually lie. He made a low ball offer ,in the hopes it would be accepted. It wasn’t ,so he made other offers.

    And I do negotiate the h_ l out of all offers,be it a raise, or when buying something.

  7. I think in The Philippines,if you don’t negotiate ,people will think your crazy. Thats just how things are done there.

  8. AJC,

    The issue here isn’t about lying, it’s just that the CFO was a terrible negotiator.

    The fact that he had an envelope pre-signed by the CEO indicates that the offer was firm and somewhat finalized because going back to the CEO for another offer is going to be a challenge.

    By pulling out the 2nd envelope all credibility is destroyed and the expectation of the other party is called into play. Pulling out the 3rd envelope makes this sound like a bad joke.

    People can and do lie but the expectation is the people expect to be treated and dealt with fairly. Once you get unfair / illegal / whatever expect to have people run.

    Now for the real questions, why are you friends with this CFO? Sounds like a bit of a flake.

    Certainly one of the worst negotiating mistakes I’ve heard.


  9. @ Mike – I said my anecdote was “very slightly related” to lying … as you pointed out: it was nothing to do with lying at all! Still, a lot of fun at my friend’s expense … 😉

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