Beware of These 8 Lies From the Interviewer

John Krautzel
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During the interview, the words the interviewer uses can be very telling. Often, interviewers tell job candidates things that aren't entirely true. It's important that you recognize these statements for what they are, so you don't get a false sense of hope. Take these seven phrases with the proverbial grain of salt.

1. You Have Our Ideal Qualifications

If you've made it to the interview stage, it's likely because you fit many or all of the qualifications the employer is seeking. The same goes for every other candidate interviewing for the position, so don't pat yourself on the back yet just because the interviewer confirms your qualifications.

2. We Provide Salary Based on Work Experience

Interviewers love to say this to avoid talking about salary during the interview, but the statement isn't entirely true. While your past work experience undoubtedly makes a difference, most employers already know what they plan to offer for an open position. At the very least, they have a range. It's your responsibility to research thoroughly prior to the interview so that you have a good idea of where to start with negotiations.

3. We Offer a Great Benefits Package

"Great" is a highly subjective word; one person's definition of a great benefits package may differ significantly from another's, so get some details if you can. Ask about the benefits that are of most importance to you, such as a retirement plan, medical coverage or corporate discounts.

4. This Would Be Your Workspace

Interviewers often include a tour of the company building as a standard part of the interview process. Don't get carried away when the interviewer says something like, "This will be your desk," because you can bet that each and every candidate after you is hearing those same words.

5. You May Be Right for Another Position

The interviewer may be looking for a gentle way to let you down if you're not the right fit for the position you're interviewing for. If there actually is another position or project you might be considered for, it probably won't live up to the same expectations you had for the first job.

6. You're Great But We Still Need to Interview More People

If they were truly impressed with you, there'd be no need to interview more candidates after you. The hiring process takes time, energy and money, and most employers want it over with as quickly as possible.

7. We Will Get Back to You

This is often a standard phrase said at the end of many an interview. It doesn't always necessarily mean the interviewer is going to get back to you; rather, it is a polite way to end the interview while giving you some sliver of hope for a callback.

8. We Should Have a Decision Next Week

Don't assume you will receive a callback after the interview. It is your job to follow up with the hiring manager to get a timeline on next steps.

Many interviewers use vague wording and half-truths to speed the hiring process along. It's important to separate the fluff from the truth; after the interview, be sure to follow up with the hiring manager with a thank-you note and a call to action. If you don't hear back within a reasonable amount of time, move on.

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    What rubs me don't hear back on the many positions you've applied for. You take great time and effort to complete applications to not hear a word from the interviewers or HR personnel. What happened in the old days? You received a letter regarding your status. This is common courtesy and provides closure! Are manners and etiquette no longer required in the business world?

  • Donna Macey
    Donna Macey

    True. It is expensive to get polished for an interview. To be a number that needs to be checked off. Also, what is the ideology of a 29 minute phone interview and finish with, "Ok I have 1-2 minutes left before my next candidate, do you have any questions for me,"????? Ridiculous.

  • LLMSW V.
    LLMSW V.

    I have been looking for a job for over a year now. I have a Master's in Social Work and can not find a job. I have heard All of the things you talk about. I also worry about ageism as I am almost 52. I am new to the field, so limited experience. I just had an interview recently that called me on Thursday to interview on Friday at 11 am. At 2:04 that Same day I got an email telling me thank you but we are going with someone with more experience. They knew they were hiring that person before I ever went in. I wish they hadn't waisted my time and theirs. I actually felt good about that interview too.

  • ellen t.
    ellen t.

    All of the above is true!

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the great comments. @Devon H and @Doug Bounds thanks for your comments coming from the inside! It's true that, even if the candidate has already been found, you still have to go through the interview process. Of course, as a job seeker, I would totally disagree with this. Don't bring me in for a mock interview - knowing that you have already made the hiring decision. I would prefer a phone call telling me that we are cancelling the interview because the job has been filled. Yes I might be upset but I would prefer that to going through the whole interview process... studying up on the company, figuring out what to wear, making at least one trip to the company so that I know where they are located and how long it will take to get there, etc,, etc. @Terri Andrade you are not the first person to have to resign their position to take care of family members. Technically they can't ask about your child and you shouldn't tell them. It's none of their business. You just simply state that you had to leave your previous position to take care of a sick family member but that the situation is now under control and you are looking for a new opportunity. Don't go into it any further than that. @Mac Parra discussions about salary are tough at any time. Make sure that you do your due diligence on that company - prior to your interview - so that you know what to expect. So that you know what the salary range might be. Check out sites like to find out the range for the position and location. Technically you shouldn't discuss salary at an interview but, if the interviewer brings it up - then the door is wide open. You could say something like... I have researched and found that the salary range is this and I am comfortable with that... or I believe that I would come in the middle, etc. Then I guess you just have to let the cards drop where they may.

  • Devon H.
    Devon H.

    I agree with Doug, We always interview all the candidates who have passed the phone-screen, even if we think we already have the best candidate. Also I always let the candidate know that the Recruiter, will get back to them by some date, and that if they don't hear by then, that they should call the recruiter if only to get a "we're still interviewing" message.

  • Terri Andrade
    Terri Andrade

    I've never had such a hard time finding a job as the last few years. I'm 52, have a special needs child, and have been unable to secure part-time employment. I can only work part-time because of my child's needs, which come first. I have had 5 interviews, which went really well, unless the interview teams were great actors, and not one offer. I had to leave a very good job because of my son a couple years ago, I'm wondering if interviewers are holding that against me?


    I disagree with #6. Sometimes interviews are scheduled, and must happen...even after we're we've found our candidate.

  • Mac Parra
    Mac Parra

    I've been disqualified on the basis that I currently made more in salary than what the company was offering. I don't get it, the company already knows what the maximum they are willing to pay so what difference does it make what a candidate currently makes or has made in the past? Make the offer and the candidate can either counter or decline

  • John R.
    John R.

    I hate questions about salary, with a passion!! It is a huge frustration. State a number that is too high, and you could be excluded on that basis alone, give a number too low, they may wonder what is wrong, or take advantage of you! The most annoying aspect of this is that discussions around salary should NOT be a determining factor in deciding whether to make an initial job offer to any particular individual!!

  • Hugo F.
    Hugo F.

    Thanks ,great article,no luck yet for me,getting a job.

  • Ddamba W.
    Ddamba W.

    Thank u

  • Kathleen B.
    Kathleen B.

    True especially once you enter your 50's or are in your 15-20+ years if experience. Ageism is prevalent !

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Alex Padovan - WOW - so very sorry that you went through that! Sounds more like a scam to me! I, myself, have encountered such scams. Almost gave up a position for you until I did some digging and found out that, although the company was real, there was no such person working for them and no such job. It pays to investigate ahead of time. I know - we get so excited when we hear "you are hired" or "welcome aboard". But we have to temper that with a reality check. Always do your due diligence on all companies. Most companies are not going to send a welcome aboard email until after the face-to-face interview - whether in person or through some type of media such as Skype. I hate to say this but... well, some valuable lessons were learned here. @Gloria - we all agree with your sentiments. So many times, something comes up and the hiring manager is unable to make the interview so he sends someone else to fill in - maybe someone who has never been on that side of the interview and is even more terrified than you are - who has no idea what questions to ask. Yes it would be a great idea to have training for those who are doing the interviewing and hiring but it just doesn't seem to be practical in today's environment.

  • sharron m.
    sharron m.

    Thanks for writing this article. I definitely heard of most of these, lol.

  • Gloria Andrade
    Gloria Andrade

    I have been looking for a job for some time now and I have heard all of these lines. It seems to me that the interviewer should know exactly what is required and not waste anyone's time. Isn't there a better way to train an interviewer? I mean why even contact someone you KNOW is not a good fit.


    I have great respect for your post as I have encountered each and every one of these, even some outright blatant ones not mentioned, such as at a well known Canadian College where I had an email from the HR director saying "welcome aboard" for an overseas position. I know I'm not speaking well of a not-even past employer, but this is the first I've ever done it, and it merits warning those who may try. MASSIVE interviews (2), I inconvenienced 3 of my references with a HUGE background/personality profile they were required to fill out(15 pages at least); medicals, other licensings, etc. I booked disconnecting my amenities, notified the landlord, and 1 week before I was going to the airport to claim my "pre-booked ticket", I was told the position was on hold. Never heard from these scum again...then in the news I saw they were mingled with a huge multi million dollar lawsuit.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Judd Silver did you follow up with the hiring manager to see if you could find out why you were not a good fit? Sometimes they will tell you; others they just won't answer. It is frustrating to say the least. But don't give up. All it takes is one to say yes!


    I had #1 a few months ago. Every interviewer at a company told me I had the exact skills and experience they were looking for. All my references gave me glowing recommendations (I verified this) and told me afterwards they were convinced I would be offered the job. Yet, a couple of weeks later they sent me a curt email saying that I was not a good fit and would not be offered the job.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Mark B thanks for your comment and congrats on the job! It is VERY tough to transition from the military to civilian life. I know I did it after 20 years in the Navy. I didn't know what to expect either and truly didn't know what I wanted to do. It had been 20 years since I was able to decide, on my own, where the rest of my life is going. So I went through several temp agencies instead of trying for a direct job. It truly paid off for me. I, too, didn't know what I was worth. Fortunately for me I had a great recruiter at one of the agencies and was able to really get my career off the ground. I have to agree that interviews are tough but, in my case, I had gone through many interviews during my career - for things like sailor of the month/quarter/year and so on. So I was a bit more prepared and the transition assistance program offered prior to my retirement also helped with writing resumes and interviewing. So, congrats on the new job. So glad that offering to come in low gave you exactly what you needed! All the best.

  • Mark B.
    Mark B.

    First, Thank you John for the Career Advice. Second as a retired U.S.Army of 27 years, I came into the civilian job market not knowing a whole lot of interviewing. I joined at 20 and retired at 47. Not a whole lot of interviews in between. But when a Career Recruiter contacted me about a position, my experience and salary, it was mentioned by the recruiter. After 3 or 4 phone calls from the recruiter and a direct fire Skype interview, the question was asked of me. How much do you "need". I simply responded with, I would like what my education and experience says I'm worth in this economy. You see coming from the military trying to transition my career in the Army to Civilian jobs sometimes doesn't equal to. But after doing my homework on what my job pay could be after being asked a second time what I wanted I gave them a wage I was comfortable with. Needless to say I excepted the job, the recruiter told me, oh yes we can give you way more than that and was offered 1/3 wage "increase" to my request. I guess, I started to low, lol.

  • John H.
    John H.

    Thank you for exposing interview lies. I am in a job that I heard three of the lies @ my interview. Honesty is not a oneway street.

  • Paul Michael P.
    Paul Michael P.

    As a construction Quantity Surveyor (SMPP),basically on Petro-Chemical project,and the recruiter asks me what salary do I expect, my answer to them is a market related rate/hr CTC if I am working a contract, I normally give them an indication of the last rate that I was on,and we will take it from their.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @David S. thanks for your comment. Wow - totally unfortunate that the interviewer would ask that. They want to get the best person possible for the least amount of money. That's a signal to you that raises will not be forthcoming - at least not a significant raise. It also means that the employees working for this company are probably a very unhappy bunch. If possible, you should go into an interview with a salary range that you are willing to accept. Although it's really frowned upon, many interviewers will discuss salary in the first interview so you need to be prepared. See if you can find out what kinds of salaries others in that company are making. That will help you come up with a realistic and reasonable salary range. Sounds like you didn't toe the party line when asked about salary - game over for that position. So sorry. But all is not lost. You have another interview under your belt - more practice equals more experience! All the best on the next one.

  • David S.
    David S.

    I've had several email responses to my applications, phone interviews, and even a one on one interview this year where the first question is "what is the least amount of money you are willing to work for." Has this happened to anyone else? In each case I have responded with, "I am very interested in the company, opportunity, and people I will be working with and when the time comes I am sure you will make me a reasonable offer." This has been the end of conversation.

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