During the interviews with other companies, I told human resources that I wanted to move out because there are no projects (vacancies) in my location, so my company asked me to move to a different location for the same company. This is a lie.

I also had to turn down one offer from XYZ Company. So I called the HR department of XYZ and told them that I had received a better offer from ABC. By the way, I never had any offer from ABC. This was a a lie.

I am sure that I will never join XYZ so I feel the lie is okay. Even if I meet the same HR people again in a different company, they won’t remember my name for sure.

I don’t see any harm in lying to anyone as long as it is a white lie. I am so sure that my potential HR is not going to contact the old HR to know whether there are vacancies in my current location.

I know the fact I don’t want to remember my lies

On the flip side:

My human resources department is not going to remember my lies unless I join the same company where my name is there in their database.

So, what are the consequences of lying to an HR manager?

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    Hi Anne, please don't make drastic changes to the content of posts. This invalidates existing answers. On our site, editing is core to having the best questions and answers, and it's important they match the question.
    – jmort253
    Apr 6, 2014 at 3:52
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    Many comments have disappeared here. Apr 6, 2014 at 8:26
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    Cant cry over spilt milk. Wish they wont haunt me Apr 6, 2014 at 9:22
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    so I feel the lie is okay - This is a core problem in young professionals today. Absolutely zero integrity. White lies are minor things that spare the feelings of someone you love. These lies are not white lies. They're completely self-serving and they demonstrate your complete lack of integrity. The consequences? You can be fired if you work for them. You will not be hired if you don't. Integrity is extremely important to most modern companies. Worth far more than any employee's value. Apr 6, 2014 at 12:40
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    @teego1967: I would never give anyone that advice actually. My recommendation would be to be honest but respectful. My advice to anyone regardless of what level of the business world they're in: If you need to lie, you've already failed. Apr 7, 2014 at 2:35

3 Answers 3


Why would you lie about these things? It may never catch up to you, but if it does, it can cost you your job, possibly your career. At the least, it will damage your reputation.

I had to turn down one offer (XYZ Company). So I called the HR of XYZ and told that I had got a better offer from ABC. Btw I never had any offer from ABC. It’s a lie

You could have just as easily said to the HR person that you were declining their offer. It is simple, truthful, and to the point. You aren't required to give a reason. Yes, the HR person will ask for why, but you aren't required to answer it. Say something like "I would prefer not to discuss my reasons for declining your offer." You are then done with them. No lies to remember.

He asked me about the company and packages. Actually, I have 3 offers and I didn’t want to let anyone know where I am going to. So I gave him a company name where I won’t be seen. It’s a lie

Again, stick with the truth. "I don't discuss where I am going or anything associated with the new company." The HR person may actually have more respect for you when you tell them this. It shows that you have nothing to brag about. In addition, you are also telling the HR person that you can keep your mouth shut about important things. You will be insuring that your privacy remains intact. And, no lies to remember.

During the interviews with other companies I told the HR guy that I wanted to move out because there are no projects(vacancies) in my location so my company asked me to move to a different location (for same company). It’s a lie

At some point, you will come across these people again. I am constantly surprised at how much others do remember. And how much they talk to their friends at other companies. It isn't difficult for one person in HR to call for a reference to your old company. Most (at least in the US) do. They ask things like: when were your dates of employment; were your reviews good (an illegal question here, but it still gets asked); are you eligible for rehire; was there still potential for advancement (another illegal question here). Lying will come back to haunt you.

A simple way to avoid the issue would be to say something like "I felt that it was time for me to move on, to learn new ways of doing things. I am grateful to XYZ for the time I had with them. They were a great company to work with!" Expand on what your goals are moving forward. Do not bring up anything negative about your relationship with any previous company, no matter who is at fault.

There is one last thing here: you won't have to remember any lies.


The original question has been edited to remove most of the quotes I have included in my answer.

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    +1, best answer so far, perhaps you can add something about the OP's apparent avoidance of confrontation behavior which is detrimental to her in the long run...
    – daaxix
    Apr 5, 2014 at 19:39
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    @daaxix I am not a psychologist. I am not comfortable giving that kind of advice. Apr 5, 2014 at 21:38
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    +1 for "Do not bring up anything negative about your relationship with any previous company"
    – WOPR
    Apr 5, 2014 at 23:24

The world is smaller than you think, and I would not be so sure people don't talk. HR people know each other. Sometimes HR people even talk to non-HR people. It's been heard of.

Neither would I be so sure I'll never join a company I just lied to. "Never" is a long time. Nor that I will never meet the specific person I just lied to again, perhaps at another company. HR people move around, too. Did I mention that the world is smaller than you think?

As to negative consequences:

  • You confirm that you are unprofessional. (I was going to write "you leave a perception of unprofessionalism", but this goes beyond perceptions.) People will wonder who else you lie to, and about what. Your manager? Your colleagues? The people you supervise? A client?

  • People will lose trust in you. See the previous bullet point.

  • Depending on the specifics, you may get into legal trouble.

Bottom line: if you don't want to answer a question, stay silent. Better than to lie. People will usually respect it if you say that something is a personal matter you would rather not discuss.

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    +1 if you don't want to answer a question, stay silent. However, I dont cheat anyone. It is jus a white lie. Anyways thanks for insights :-). I learn from mistakes. Apr 5, 2014 at 18:50

These questions aren't irrelevant at all. They fall roughly into three categories:

  • you should answer them well. For example, in a job interview, "why are you leaving your current job?" is an important hiring question. How to answer it has been discussed on this site already. Don't lie and don't refuse to answer. Lying here might cost you the job (many interviewers can spot lies, or you can be discovered when they check your references) and over time people might decide not to even interview you based on your reputation.
  • you don't have to answer, but don't lie and don't be rude. For example, when you decline a job offer and you are asked why, you could say "I have already accepted another offer" or "I just didn't see a good fit for me with your firm". Lying here generally has no immediate consequences, but it can have long term ones if two people are chatting about you "oh, you hired that person I wanted to hire" - "no I didn't" and you might end up with a bad reputation. You're taking this risk for nothing since there is nothing to be gained by lying in this situation.
  • you really must not answer, since it can't help you and can possibly cause you problems. For example, "how much are they paying you in your new job?" Learn to smile and say "I am not comfortable discussing that." Here the truth could hurt your new employer (and possibly you if word gets back to them) and a lie ("they doubled my salary, actually") could be even worse. Not only your reputation within your local industry is at stake - you don't want your current employer angrily discovering you lied about them to make yourself feel good.

The way to avoid lying is not to lie. That may mean truthfully saying "I don't want to tell you that" or "I'm sorry, that's private." Lying feels quick and easy - but it causes more troubles than it avoids, so the way to do it is just not to do it.

And to go a little deeper, I think it would be good to ask yourself why you lie in these circumstances. I know 30 years ago my first reaction to many situations was to lie, and over the years I've met a few other people who do this. I've come to learn that often, the motivation is fear. "My real reason isn't good enough." "I have to give them a reason they will be ok with." "If I tell them what I'm thinking for real, they'll just argue with me and bully me into doing what they want." "If they knew what I was really doing they would look down on me." If this might be true for you I urge you to try, in some "I'll never talk to this person again" situation, saying what you really think or mean, such as "I didn't like the job that you offered me so I have decided not to take it" instead of "oh, I got offered a much better job by someone else." Not for the reasons I've laid out above about what they will think of you and your reputation in the industry, but because, if you are lying out of fear, it strengthens your fear to lie like that and it strengthens you to tell the truth. Once you start to tell the truth, whether it's your own reasons or your own right to keep private things private, you feel stronger. Over time, you come to believe that you actually have a right to your beliefs, your reasons, and your privacy. Over time, you feel better standing up for yourself instead of making up a lie you think the other person will accept more easily. Even if there are no direct consequences to lying to someone you'll never see again, there are internal consequences. Acting as though your own reasons aren't good enough hurts you and pulls you down. Stand up straight and truthfully say "I'd rather not discuss that" or "I didn't feel the job you offered was a good fit for me" or "at my old employer I was not getting the opportunities I wanted and deserved" and you will find you feel differently about yourself. It's a change I made decades ago that made a huge difference in my life.

  • The question is getting edited a lot. When I answered it ended "how do I avoid lying?" I will see if I can edit some consequences into this answer, @JoeStrazzere Apr 6, 2014 at 11:59
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    +! thanks for your kind answer @KateGregory Being a North american citizen you would never know how employees are treated in my country employer haven Apr 6, 2014 at 13:15
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    @Anne I'm sorry to hear you're treated poorly. To the extent you can, treat yourself well (inside) and think well of yourself. Don't assume your own thoughts aren't good enough. Apr 6, 2014 at 13:17

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