As an employer or an interviewer, you have the responsibility of finding the right fit for your company: a person that can get the job done, and can get it done the right way. You can test their skills and read their résumés thoroughly, but it all comes down to what they say when you finally meet them. And what they say might not always be what you think they mean.
Here are a few things that your interviewees are likely to say, and what they really mean.
1. “I’m a quick learner.”
Unless your interviewee is someone that’s gifted with an eidetic memory, it’s highly unlikely that they really are. What they are trying to say is that they lack the exact skill that you’re looking for.
To be fair, however, they are also letting you know that they are willing to figure things out if they are given the opportunity. This could either spell disaster or success for you and your firm: they could work really hard and figure things out in an unconventional way, or they could just slack off and waste your time and your resources.
2. “I work well in a team environment.”
While this could be true, it could also mean that the person lacks the motivation and skills to function alone. It could be a cue that they may need constant supervision or else nothing will ever get done.
3. “My main weakness is that I work too hard and I care too much.”
This is definitely the ideal answer to give an interviewer when they ask you to talk about your weaknesses. It sounds really ridiculous to ask a person what they are bad at and then expect them to be honest.
You can’t really tell your potential employer that you hate the idea of work or that you have trouble being punctual; claiming to be a workaholic could be your safest bet.
4. I’m very passionate about _______.”
It is very rare that you end up finding a person that is self-motivated and driven — if you do, hold onto them. However, if you meet a person who claims to be passionate about saving starving kids from Antarctica, and yet have never done anything about it, just know that they are lying to get a buck out of you.
5. “I’m charismatic and I communicate well.”
If the interviewee is able to hold a conversation without putting you to sleep and they interest you by talking about “you”, they are indeed charismatic and you should go ahead and hire them.
If you don’t find yourself smitten by their charm, you might not want to hire them as you could end up working alongside the next Mike Tyson. And by Mike Tyson, I mean the guy that is likely to talk your ears off with chatter.
6. “I think I can change the world.”
This is what people say when they want to work for companies that are either trying hard to save humanity, or to “change” the world into what they think is right and noble (it should benefit them in some way, of course).
It’s an epidemic where everyone is trying so hard to change the world around them, and frankly, I think it’s borderline ridiculous. We can’t all be given a Nobel Peace Prize, and I feel that we really should get off this train and be more selfish — like the way we naturally are.
Of course, that would mean that you might not be able to get a job, so I don’t recommend saying this out loud.
7. “I keep an open mind.”
Generally, when people say they have an open mind, it could mean one of two things — or both. The first being that they make up their mind and then spend an adequate amount of time on iamright.com substantiating their thoughts or beliefs with “proven” statistics. The second, of course, refers to people who don’t have an idea of what they should do, and are just coasting along with the wind.
That being said, what people think or believe shouldn’t really matter much as long as they can get the job done.
These are some of the “acceptable” lies that people tell their potential employers, so that they can get themselves into a position where they can pay off their bills.