Do we need to lie to get ahead?

Recently I wrote a post where I asked, "Is lying the new black?"

(Remember the old Seinfeld's not a lie if you believe it.)

And I also offered my take on the Brian Williams situation last year. 

The bottom line conclusion was that it's never okay to lie.

But then, recently I came across an article by Mark Stevens, CEO of MSCO, Inc. Here's a snippet:

Another HR question that demands a lie goes like this:

"So tell me why you want to work for our company."

In many cases, the honest answer would be:

"I think this is the best place to make a fortune before I'm 35. I really want a chunk of those stock options."

But to the HR paint-by-numbers gang, that would lead to a fast dismissal out the fire exit. To get to the next-stage interview you have to lie, waxing poetic about the company's innovative culture or lionizing it's irreverent founder (who, by the way, is eager to have brilliant wealth-seeking hot shots on the team).

The old adage "Just be yourself," is a fool's game when it comes to the hiring process. Instead, at the outset, you need to be what HR wants you to be. And in most cases, you need to (and very well should) lie to win a pass to see the real players in the company. The ones with a 180 degree different (from HR) perspective on life/business/success and how to get what you want in your career.

Look, I don't believe in making lying a way of life--in fact, I appreciate blunt and honest people and think of myself in this way. But when a system is stacked against the truth, dance around it.

Mark's take begs the question: is it okay to lie?

What do you think?


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    Manuel Franco on

  • I’ve seen co-workers use lies and manipulation to advance thier careers and pocket books. It sems like the liars have an edge. Fake it till you make it right? If you don’t know just pretend like you do. If you’re ever put on the spot, just deflect, dissemble or flat out lie. People that are willing to do these things seem to fast track to higher paychecks quicker than those folks who are honest and say they’re not sure of the answer. At least that’s been my experience.

    John Notrealname on

  • No, it’s not okay to lie, all it does is build the foundation of the employer-employee relationship in quicksand, built on a lie, if it is that easy to lie in the interview, it will be all the easier to lie all the time once you have the job. Lying is a habit, it’s a moral decision that if broken that easily in the beginning, will be a trait you carry all the way through your career.

    Travis Roste on

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