Suppose myself and 2 others are interviewing someone for a job. One of the other interviewers says:

Given the Earth is flat, how do you propose to launch this satellite?

I know that a) what they said is false, and b) it's relevant to the job/question at hand, and c) they aren't saying the falsehood to test the candidate - they actually believe it's true.

Should I correct the other interviewer in the interview or let it slide? On one hand, it seems unprofessional to correct someone during the interview, but also it seems unfair to the person being interviewed to be asked a question with false information.

  • 7
    This hypothetical doesn't give enough information. In my experience, these "falsehoods" are used to simplify the problem for the purposes of talking about something in an interview. Your example may fall into that category, but I have no idea if considering a flat earth makes the problem easier than a spherical earth or an oblate spheroid earth. Perhaps you could share more information about the context - your industry, company size, role being interviewed for, and what the question (and specifically the "falsehood") are. Jul 5, 2023 at 16:09
  • 3
    Have you tried asking them about the question, and discussing how to approach the interview in advance?
    – keshlam
    Jul 5, 2023 at 18:06
  • If they genuinely make a minor factual error, then it's reasonable to correct them politely. If they make a mistake in a hypothetical, then there may be no need to correct them. If they say something that may expose you to legal problems, like saying the person will get more holiday hours than they're entitled to, you must correct them. If they say something that's clearly nonsensical with a serious face, then you should probably just pull a face, shut up, and let them dig a hole. Later you can either tell management or look for a new job.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 7, 2023 at 16:08

1 Answer 1


This really depends on the context and the situation. There are two sensitive things in play here:

  • Appearance of how you are as a team and as an organisation (Collaboration, understanding, preparation etc)
  • How the applicant perceives you and your organisation (outsider view).

I'd say, in case the error / falsehood is something non-critical or non-fatal (ex: not involving something that put something or someone's life at risk), and is limited to a very specific incident, I'll let it slide that time, and speak to the colleague about it privately after the interview.

However, if this is something more serious of nature (ex: related to ethics, integrity, or individuality etc.), I'd intervene, and try to drive the discussion / topic away for that moment (and if needed, apologize in general). However, if there's a strong conflict with my colleague there, I'd request them to step out for a moment and try to sort it out privately.

Either way, almost always it's not a good idea to "correct" another colleague in an interview session, or at a presentation, or at any situation where someone from outside the oragnization is present. Anything that needs to be done, I'd do it privately, possibly away from the eyes and ears of the candidate. However, I'd definitely do something, so that this is not repeated.


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