Speaking strictly of software industry

There are two kinds of lying.

  • Lie about language/framework you don’t know
  • Lying about qualification, company you worked with, title held, etc.

The first kind of lying is fine as long as you’re confident you can crack the interview. Your knowledge is needed and these days, since companies anyway want everything, lying about some language may get you an interview call.

Do not evet lie about second type. Most companies conduct a background check on you to verify about your details. They even sometimes connect with your previous employer to verify the details.

If you’re lying here you can land in a big trouble

ZILtoid1991 avatar

Does the NDA trick work for the second kind?

"I worked for 2-3 years part time and remote to a company, but I was forced to sign an NDA about it."


Nope, don’t even try it.

They generally hire external agency who has their ways to verify every possible details.


Do not lie on your resume. Especially if you are a software engineer! When I give interviews, I typically don’t ask random technical questions. They are catered to what’s on your resume and if you can’t explain it, that’s a huge red flag


I think OP may need to explain further. There’s embellishing your work history, or tailoring it to a particular position you’re after. That’s fine and part of the CV-fu. Then there’s outright lying about hard facts, which can be a huge problem if checked.

Hard facts are things like who you worked for and when and on what position, or where you got your degree and what it says on it. Provable skills and certifications also fall under this category.


Same. I have a list of questions on various topics, I’ll ask a basic one about most technologies listed on a resume, and follow up if the answer is good until I reach a question they can’t answer, or I’m satisfied that they know the subject matter well.

scrubbles, avatar

I’d say it’s not okay to lie, but embellishment is encouraged.

For example, I hire programmers. If you put on your resume you know some language or framework, I’m probably going to test you on it. If you can’t code hello world, or something basic I’m going to pissed off.

Now, if your role was technically something like a jr java engineer but you put on there that you were a mid level, meh I’m not going to check. As long as your skills are roughly in line I’ll let you through to the next round.


I’m not sure if this is embellishment or not but I wrote some sales software for a moving company. Then they used it for 15 years, and my resume now says I wrote software that brought in like $30m to the company.


I’d call it a legit claim. I assume as well that over those 15 years you’ve had to debug it and update it along the way. So that’s completely fair to put on your resume.


Lies? Excuse me?? That 30 mil bit is absolutely (technically) true!!!


Yes, I hire programmers. I need core competencies in areas I care about. If the job is Java but you’ve mostly been working in C# I’ll take it on faith that you can figure that part out yourself.

If you tell me you’ve worked on ecommerce sites but can’t tell me the steps of a credit card transaction, I’m concerned.

What I really care about is your ability to articulate your answers, clearly enumerate assumptions underlying your reasoning, and so on. If I have to pull teeth to get answers, I’m not hiring you. I’m an introvert, I used to love being left alone to write code in a dingy basement office, so I get that attitude but you need to be able to talk to people to get a job.

Part of that interaction is proving you have an understanding of the tools you will be using. If you lied about that knowledge and understanding, it will be painfully obvious very quickly.

scrubbles, avatar

Yeah that’s a better way to put it to me. I honestly don’t care what language most people code in, but I hope you can explain how you’re doing stuff. I interview with the expectation of “a lot of red squigglies” expecting it not to compile. I don’t care if you call .Sort instead of writing your own. Just show me you can code.

Sadly though, my latest question is for web developers and is mostly made up of calling a simple GET api. I have failed at least 80% of the engineers that take that test simply because they have no idea how to call an API in any language or framework, something I do I’d say on a daily basis. It’s basically “call a fake endpoint /foo and show the results” and that takes mid level engineers the entire hour to do.


We just overhauled a programming test we use of we aren’t certain a person can do what they say they can do (which is most of the time when you hire remote) and yeah the old one disqualified tons of people. It was very simple. I have had lots of people have someone else do it and then act very surprised when I wanted to discuss it with them.

scrubbles, avatar

Exact same problems, especially remote. I honestly don’t know what is happening with engineers coming out of school/bootcamps, they just legit cannot code but go for these coding jobs. who is hiring them? I remember making fun of “fizzbuzz” as an interview question because it’s too easy but I legit have had people fail fizzbuzz! In languages they chose!

I hate technical interviews, I’ve been given questions like “implement binary search”, like okay, I can do that, but this is an annoying question. So I try to keep mine very light, “let’s just chat about code, show me you can do basic stuff”, and I’m just constantly disappointed.


It’s rough out there and when you finally find them you they use your offer to get more money from their current job or another offer. Sigh. :)


People are taking an hour for

<pre style="background-color:#ffffff;">
<span style="color:#323232;">import requests
</span><span style="color:#323232;">res = requests.get("")
</span><span style="color:#323232;">print(res.json())

or javascript’s fetch that I don’t want to type on my phone any more code for? Maybe I should think higher of my skills.

scrubbles, avatar

There’s a bit more to it, my question I mean, but I shit you not more interviewees I’ve had have failed what you just wrote than succeeded.


Jesus, all the people here saying never to lie on your resume must live pretty privileged lives.

Yes, its okay to lie, if you can back it up.

For example, I know just about everything there is about computers/sysadmin there is under the sun (im a born computer geek) but I never had any official degrees for it. I lied and said I had most of the CompTIA certifications and not a single person ever asked to actually see it. I already know everything that’s in those books so it’s not like I didn’t have the knowledge, I just didn’t have the stupid piece of paper, that, again, no one ever asked for.

Most employers are going to be exploiting your labor anyways so if you can take advantage of them you should, because they certainly going to be taken advantage of you, and you shouldn’t feel bad for them.

As others have said, just keep it reasonable and don’t lie yourself into a corner. If you don’t know rocket science don’t say you do and obvious things like that.


Why is it you think that job seeking often requires lying on your resume?


I assume it’s because they don’t have a very good resume and won’t get called/interviewed otherwise.


Because employers ask for years of experience and pay entry level wage, so if you’re entry level you don’t have access to the high paying jobs and only the lower paying job will keep you if they raise you don’t have that much experience because who else are they going to hire?


if you’re entry level you don’t have access to the high paying jobs

Uh … yeah? How does this equal the system forcing you to lie?

It’s like of I put out an ice cream sundae and say it’s only to be taken by someone who can bench 400 lbs, and you lie about how much you can bench to get the ice cream sundae.

Did I force you to lie? Not at all. You lied because you wanted the ice cream sundae, not because I had a gun to your head.

A system where you can lie and get a higher paying job than you’re qualified for, isn’t a system that’s forcing you to lie.


Did you read what I just wrote or you skipped right to that part?

Entry level paying jobs are a no go because they ask for years of experience, better paying jobs are also a no go for the same reason (but in their case it’s justified), what then? Well, you lie about your experience to land the option where they can’t afford to fire you, i.e. the option that doesn’t pay well so you don’t have any competition.

Tarte avatar

Experience does not necessarily mean job experience. You can also apply for a job without meeting all of the criteria.

I never lied on my resume and I don’t plan to. That would be considered a huge social taboo in Germany.


When your choice is lying or not paying rent you do what you have to do.

You studied IT and all jobs require 5 years of professional experience in network management, what does someone who just got out of school do to acquire that experience?


I’ve been homeless and if my only choice is between lying and not paying rent, I’m not paying rent.

I’ve never run into that situation though. I don’t actually believe that there aren’t any jobs you can get without lying.

Unless maybe you’re in SF.

Tarte, (edited )
Tarte avatar

As written above: These are not the only two options so this is a false dilemma. Professional experience does not necessarily mean full-time job experience. You can work while studying, or have side projects in a professional environment while studying that you can showcase (i.e. contributions to open source projects or personal pet projects). That's especially true for IT. As another option, you could also do internships and have a good chance to get hired this way. If you didn't do any of that you can still state that you don't have the required experience yet and apply either way - maybe you have other positives to compensate your lack of experience. Lying is not a requirement, at least where I live.

Reading all the other comments, I have a strong feeling that there is quite some cultural differences between what I'm assuming is the USA and my personal experiences.

Lettuceeatlettuce, avatar

Totally depends on the employer. Some are hardcore, many aren’t. I used to be in the IT field, one of the companies I worked for hired a guy who claimed he had 10 years of IT experience. He got fired after 3 days because apparently he couldn’t even install a printer on people’s computers.

If he was able to get past the interview, then anybody can lol. Better not to outright lie, but embellish for sure, just be ready to try to sound like you know the basics at least. Often, calling things fancy names is enough to get by, here’s some examples:

  1. Set up a Minecraft server for you and you friends? Try <Experience with server setup & management>
  2. Added RAM to your grandma’s 10 year old computer once? Try <Computer hardware upgrade and repair experience>

Seems stupid, but trust me, it works with HR all the time. And once you get into the interview, you can add details to flesh out your experience better. A lot of it is how you say something, not what you say.

Don’t say, “I set up a Minecraft server once for my friends to play.” Say something like, “I spun up a Minecraft server instance for my friends and I to utilize. I managed scheduled software updates and patches for the server, verified the disk health and hardware usage, and set up regular backups for the world files and resources.” Doesn’t matter that your hardware monitoring was just Windows Task Manager and your scheduled backups and updates were just Windows Restore point and Microsoft updates, most staff will just hear that description and move on, especially if you add a little banter, they will normally just go, “ah cool” and keep going down the list.

Obviously this varies based on the job experience level, but for entry level jobs to get your foot in the door, it works very well.


I have an interview coming up. Can I get you to dress up as me and go to the interview?

Lettuceeatlettuce, avatar

Lol I would if I could.


To be fair, printers are ass

Lettuceeatlettuce, avatar

True, but I don’t mean he couldn’t get a printer to work. I mean apparently he didn’t even know how to add one to an employees computer.

Printers are the devil’s imps though lol.


Yeah, I figured that’s what you meant. Hardest part of connecting a printer these days is just fighting with the four-dimensional nature of USB ports

LUHG_HANI, avatar

I’d say forget usb on printers but networked printers are the devil’s child. Some of the things I’ve seen from these printer manufacturers are absolutely insane.

Who the fuck wants a coversheet printed before the page they asked for? Nobody, so let’s default it and bury it behind a million advanced settings. Xerox wankers.

HP: Goes to sleep, never automatically wakes up properly. Enterprise grade £500+ POS Ohh and Airprint, Good fucking luck.

Oki: Might as well buy 2 as that’s cheaper than replacing the drums after a few months.

Brother is the only brand I’ll buy that’s not MFD under maintenance contract now.


I’ve never been coached to lie on my resume.

I’ve never put anything false on my resume.

I’m glad to have not worked for a company where that’s cool, or knowingly worked with scumbags who lie about their qualifications.

Sure, my resume sucks, but it’s at least accurate.

Kolanaki, avatar

I’ve only ever even had one job call anyone I had on my resume.

I know this, because every contact info other than my own on my resume for the last 15 years has been fake and will forward to my own phone so I can pretend to be my own reference if I need to.

I could probably lie about being able to actually do the job and having past experience in it, too; but that would be a little silly since I wouldn’t be able to actually do the job and they would find that out pretty quick.


Do you use any kind of voice masking for this?

Kolanaki, avatar

Nope. I just saw the forwarded number and act. Remember now, I’ve only ever actually had one place actually call. And they called everything.

I did also get the job.


I'm just imagining you thinking up different characters for each job, Daniel from the supermarket, he's young, into fitness, goes to the gym daily, so you're putting on a tough muscle man voice, then it's Sheila from the library, quiet mousy lady, 65, maybe Scottish? Now you're doing a Mrs Doubtfire voice.


This would be a fun scene to watch. I’d check out that movie/TV show.


Kind of relevant:


Srsly most place dont really vet all hires. As long as you come off fitting your CV in the interview its fine


I wanted to hire a guy and then we found a lie on his resume. He said he had graduated but in fact he had a few weeks left to graduate. He would have the degree by the time he started the position. Our agency wouldn’t touch him after that. A lie on the resume was a deal killer.

If he said “Degree expected on <date>” rather than I have a degree he would have the job now.

parrot-party avatar

Probably not. HR would have just pre filtered him anyway.


If he could prove he was graduating in a matter of weeks then that’s fucking ridiculous. I was accepted to grad schools before I even passed my final undergrad classes. It’s just on a conditional basis, but nothing changed when I actually got the degree. Besides, there’s time between the last classes ending and commencement, then months between commencement and getting the actual degree in the mail and your transcripts being updated.

I’m hope he feels like he dodged a bullet.


Did you lie and say you had already passed?


I don’t think it requires lying. I do think you can advance yourself faster by doing some lying, but you should stick to things that aren’t actually job related. Length of time working jobs, increasing your previous job titles by a level, making your roles sound more critical are all good ones. Saying you can do something that you cannot can definitely get you in to trouble if they decide to ask you about it, or worse, you get hired and then they need you to apply the skill you don’t actually have.

That being said, I have seen people straight up lie about their qualifications, get the job, flounder for a while and then become at least minimally capable and then hold the job long term. If you consider trying this, at least have a fall back plan for if you get fired.

Kecessa, (edited )

I’ve got a funny story about that last paragraph!

A man I know who’s retired now worked as a teacher for years in the 80s/early 90s because the secretary had to look in the phonebook for the phone number of the person that actually applied for the job. She tried the first person with the same name and he just went with it. He winged it during the interview, got the job and his sister who was a teacher taught him how to do it 😂


No if you deliver on your lie, or are good enough in creating an appearance of delivering on your lie.

orca, avatar

Lying only paints you into a corner. It also means you’ll probably get saddled with work that doesn’t suit you.


Why do you think it requires you to lie? If you’re lying on your resume it’s (I can only assume) you are not actually qualified for the position you are applying for. I also assume that you are at more of an entry level in terms of your skills/qualifications. Is that accurate?

If you have success with that strategy good for you, but I’ll caution others - as you get further in your career, interviews get longer and more in depth. If you say you know how to do something, you are often asked technical questions on that thing, or in-depth questions on how you’d implement that thing/skill/strategy/into the position. As others have said lying and embellishing are not the same thing. You can oversell your skill to a degree, but be prepared to need to put in extra work (probably off the clock and in your own time) to get yourself to the skill level you said you had. You may not need to! But in some positions, you may be RELIED on for that skill you’re not as good at as you said you were.

Also - UPDATE your resume and keep it current. If you learned a new thing and can do it, put it on there before you forget you did it. Also, prioritize. Remove old things from your resume as you get further into your career and those skills/accomplishments are less impactful or Relevant. Replace with newer things. Keep track of what’s going on in your field and stay up to date with buzz words and topics and be able to speak to them even if it’s not your area of expertise.

ArtieShaw avatar

At some point, the question becomes: was the candidate too unqualified to understand what they were applying for?

I don't mind training someone if they're not 100% up to speed but they also need to be capable of learning and retaining things. A lot of that means that you need a foundation based on education and on the job learning. In other words, I'm not going to teach foundational shit that you should have picked up in high school.

One memorable example: we had one applicant who claimed a high degree of competence and related experience - and although I had some doubts during the interview I was realistic about the job market and our chances of finding someone who was a perfect match. She was personable, seemed smart, and had worked in the industry. How hard would it be to train her? If she could manage to pick up even the most basic parts of the workload it would be win to hire her.

A short list of what we learned

  • no bachelor's degree (our manager was livid when she found out about that one)
  • no understanding of basic science (like, "temperature is not measured as a percentage" basic science)
  • a week into the job, asked when she was going to "start doing X," even though the job description was "you're going to be doing Y and Z." To be fair (?), the words describing X and Y were fairly similar and you might mistake one for the other if you had a poor grasp on either of them.

I'm going to gloss over a lot of irrelevant (but horrifying) detail here. We did have one memorable conversation where she said, "I'm so glad I applied for this job even though I wasn't qualified. You never know where you can get by trying!"

Where she eventually got was fired, but that took some time and the damage she did is still legendary. Part of that legacy of raging incompetence is that we fact-check resumes in ways that we previously did not. But the great irony is that she probably had no idea of just how unqualified she actually was. Again, the question becomes: is the candidate too unqualified to understand what they were applying for?

Fizz, avatar

Companies lie on their job ads so I think its perfectly fair. I wouldn’t go and say I can do a skill that I can’t but I don’t think it’s wrong to say I can do x even though i have no qualifications or professional experience in it.

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