We are told never to lie in life and particularly in an interview – but of course this is not possible. In a job interview, most of us will fail at this as soon as we are asked the inevitable question, so why do you want this job?
This is because in the main, we don’t want the job.
Most of us anyway.
Most people do jobs that they have to do and not choose to do. Jobs that if they won the lottery they would give up tomorrow. I met a bloke the other day who manages the television contracts for the ATP tour. So he gets to fly around the world and hang out with Rog and Raf. I grant you that this is a cool job. But most people do not have cool jobs.
Another lie we all commit in a job interview is that we don’t ask the questions that we would really like to ask. Like, what is the company’s policy on sick leave? Because I normally like to schedule a couple of weeks off each year with man flu and I can be shaky on Monday and Fridays.
I once openly lied in a job interview for Marks & Spencer. I was 16 and M&S was the place to work in the holidays. The interviewer wanted to know why I had not listed maths O level on my application form and rather than explaining that I had failed the exam, instead I plumped for explaining that I hadn’t taken it.
But isn’t maths mandatory and the interviewer’s eyebrow was raised.
Why didn’t you take it she asked? A fair question in the circumstances and floundering immediately, I quickly compounded an already bad situation.
I explained that I had missed a lot of the maths lessons and so it was decided that I should not take the exam.
At this her eye brow raised even higher – and well before this look has somehow caught on.
Why did you miss so many maths lessons?
‘Are you absent from school a lot then?’
No. Never. I am never ill and I never miss school. This is true but by now, it was too late.
I was in a hole from which I did not emerge. I did not get the job.
Of course, I should have just told the truth. I should have admitted that I had failed maths and so what? They had tills right?
So lesson learned. Don’t ever lie.
Well, not quite?
At the BBC recently, an executive asked me what I thought of the idea of having more women represented in comedy and I replied, ‘that I thought it was a wonderful idea and about time…’
Dominic Holland was approached and asked to write a piece on lying by the people who make Rice Krispies – and liking the campaign that they wish to carry on his site, he agreed.