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A recent recruitment employee profile survey question: "I never lie." - do you agree or not with this statement. (Note that the question/statement is absolute and has no context attached to it.)

I answered honestly - "I Disagree" - as I am sure in the course of my life I have either told lies or exaggerations which have been taken as lies.

As an employer reviewing responses to this question, in particular my response, what would be the likely reaction/result? (This is an IT job, not the priesthood or bar exam.)

I would hope the employer's response would be "Fair enough, at least he is honest." or is this naive and I have just blown any chance of progressing my application?

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    You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Why would an employer even ask this question? What could they possibly expect to learn about a candidate? This reminds of the psych test I took in high school to try to work at Blockbuster.
    – jcmack
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 4:20
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    @jcmack: If anything, I'd think that saying you never lie suggests that they are lying on the interview in order to look good.
    – Flater
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 6:36
  • It's a psychological profiling question. It's used so that the person evaluating the survey can gauge how honest you were in filling it out. Saying you never lie is a red flag.
    – Tin Man
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 11:11
  • @TinMan and thus the question is a waste of time. Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 13:00
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    @Crossedtheriverstyx Granted, it is, but so are a lot of these "gotcha" style questions. "What's your biggest flaw?" - "Oh, I guess I sometimes work too hard" / "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" - "Oh, right here, climbing the ladder if possible" The interviewers will still ask them, so it's still useful knowing how to answer for maximum "effect."
    – Steve-O
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 13:47

3 Answers 3

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The correct answer is of course "I lie". That said, any company that puts a question like that to an interviewee is likely to be hell on earth to work for.

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    +1 Exactly, OP missed the correct answer... get out now
    – pm1391
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 4:45
  • I don't object to the question, I question the intent behind it and seek insight from possible employers/interviewers who would ask or have this question asked, specifically what do they infer from the answer?
    – Pluto Nium
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 5:07
  • I wouldn't rush with the conclusions like "hell on earth". It's likely that the question was introduced by an HR person and it really does not reveal anything about the company culture. Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 12:51
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    @NemanjaTrifunovic it reveals that the company culture allows HR to come up with ludicrous policies, such as asking such inane questions. Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 12:57
  • @Crossedtheriverstyx Perhaps it's my personal experience with big companies, but at most places I worked HR has its own culture that does not reflect what is happening in other departments at all. Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 13:03
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Answer "I lie"

If you answer "I lie" then they know that you know you are a liar.

If you answer "I don't lie" then they know you lied to them.

"I don't lie" is worse.

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I have just blown any chance of progressing my application?

No, I believe you increased your chances by replying "I disagree" to "I never lie".

I question the intent behind it and seek insight from possible employers/interviewers who would ask or have this question asked, specifically what do they infer from the answer? (comment)

Put yourself in the HR position, if you read the answer "I agree", would you be inclined to hire that person? No matter how serious and honest he/she claims to be, this would either indicate:

  1. not paying enough attention to the question being asked or the answers provided or...
  2. willfully lied in order to improve hiring chances...

On the other hand, if the rest of the answers indicated that you should hire this person, it would be interesting to challenge that person to know if he/she understands the concept of, for example, white lies.

This would tell how this person could affect the performance of other workers or the work environment itself by not accepting any lies or by refusing to lie in certain necessary situations.

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