Job Search & Interview

Lying In A Job Interview: 5 Times When It’s Okay

Giving your best in a job interview can be really hard — especially if you think your story needs some extra sparkle. How honest do you truuuly need to be?

Career coach and founder of Shift Profile, Anna Papalia (@anna..papalia), made a TikTok video about when she believes it’s okay to not tell the truth in a job interview. The video is super popular! It’s been watched 2.5 million times and has over 4,000 comments. In her video, Anna lists five situations where she thinks it’s alright to not be completely honest during an interview.


First, Anna says it’s okay to not tell the truth about what you plan to do later on, especially if it’s not about staying at the job. She says, “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.'”

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Second, Anna says you don’t need to tell the person interviewing you the true reason you want to leave your old job. She says, “Lie about why you’re looking. We don’t want to hear that you’re looking because you don’t like where you work now. No, no, no. Say something like, ‘I’ve outgrown my job, and I want something more challenging.'”


Third, Anna says it’s okay to not be fully honest about your feelings towards a really mean boss. She says, “Lie about how you feel about your current boss and current coworkers. Even if you work for the meanest boss ever, they don’t want to hear about it when you’re talking to someone who might be your new boss.”


Fourth, if they ask about what you do for fun (which I think they shouldn’t), Anna says, “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 lastly, if you’re doing more work than your job says, Anna mentions, “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.”


In the comments, lots of people are upset about the weird way we have to act in an interview. But Anna says we should see it as “marketing ourselves.”

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@anna..papalia / Via

Some people ask why they even get personal questions in an interview. Anna answers that it’s to learn a little about the person and see if they belong there.

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@anna..papalia / Via

Anna says she’s not telling people to be completely fake or do something really bad with her video. She says, “Although I used the provocative word ‘lie,’ I am not promoting dishonesty. I am not advocating anyone not be themselves.”

Anna added, “We know we should be honest in interviews. In my other video, I talked about ‘5 Things to NOT lie about in interviews’. It’s good to show your best side. But saying things like ‘my boss is mean’ or ‘I don’t like my job’ won’t help you. It won’t make people like you, and you won’t get the job.”

If you want to know, here’s what Anna says you should never fib about during 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.

People also asked, “What’s a ‘professional-sounding’ hobby?” Anna said, “I think it’s a bad question to ask in an interview. I wouldn’t want anyone to ask it. What you do when you’re not working isn’t their concern. It doesn’t show if you can do the job.” She adds, “I want my TikTok and my new book to help people answer these sometimes weird 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.'”

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Hobby showcases skills, dedication, offers talking points, reflects balance, well-roundedness.

For people who want to make their job title sound fancier, Anna thinks it can help them get a better salary when they find a new job. She says, “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.”

Now, I want to know — how much truth do you tell in job interviews? Tell me what you think in the comments.

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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