a candidate told a random lie and doubled-down when we asked about it

A reader writes:

We recently interviewed a very strong candidate in a role we’d like to fill asap. His interview went very well, and at the end he mentioned that it was his first ever Zoom interview. He told us that he had been nervous about the format, but the fact that we were so organized and relaxed really helped facilitate this new way of interviewing for him. I’ll admit that his comment really endeared us to him, since it was a compliment to our interview team and a nice personal touch.

The next day we learned through the grapevine that he’s actually in negotiations for a different role at our company, and that he’d had multiple Zoom interviews with their staff over the past couple of weeks. Those interviews preceded ours by a week or so.

Since learning about the other interviews, we’ve asked him to clarify his remark, given the fact that he’s a final round candidate for another office and had clearly interviewed with them. We gave him an out, hoping he’d clarify by saying “In the moment, I had forgotten about those other interviews” or even “I usually use Google Meet/Skype/FaceTime, so that’s what I was referring to.” However, he essentially doubled down and replied that he said the exact opposite of what we remember. He said that at the end of the interview he told us that he only ever interviews on Zoom, and never interviews in person these days. This is weird, right?

Honesty is an integral part of our position, so we’ve opted to remove this person from our candidate pool. Do you think we made the right choice?

Sometimes when people feel nervous, they say something weird and untrue like this for no reason. (Remember the person who said she was allergic to bees when she really wasn’t? Or the person who said she was interning somewhere that hadn’t hired her yet?)

That doesn’t mean they should double-down when asked about it, of course! But sometimes people do. I think it’s a panic reaction combined with figuring it’s minor and doesn’t affect anything (versus something where they’d have an ethical obligation to correct the record).

I’m not saying that to imply that you made the wrong choice, though. When you’re hiring, you have very limited data about most candidates and you have to go on what you see.

If you’d removed him from consideration right after the interview — simply for saying it was his first Zoom interview when you knew it wasn’t — I’d find that excessive. But you gave him a chance to clarify and he claimed he hadn’t said what he said, so I can see why you ended up where you did. You don’t know a lot about this guy, and you’ve got to put weight on what you do see.

That said, I can imagine a situation where he hung up from his phone interview with you and thought “why the hell did I say that?” and then panicked when you brought it up again and figured “oh, that’s not what I meant/what I said” was the easiest way to smooth it over.

Now, obviously you don’t want employees who lie, whether it’s to smooth things over or for any other reason. But there is a good chance that this is more akin to the bee allergy person than to someone who lies about things that actually matter. The problem is, because you don’t know him you have no way of knowing if it’s that … or if he’s more like the guy who lies about things he just said 30 seconds ago. And it’s reasonable, when you’re hiring, to decide it’s enough of a red flag that you’re not going to take that risk.

{ 427 comments… read them below }

    1. HS Teacher*

      I recently ended a relationship with someone who told so many low-stakes lies that I felt like I was going crazy. She would lie about things that didn’t even matter; it was bizarre.

      I can see why the OP didn’t move forward with this candidate.

      1. Seriously?*

        I’ve known one or two pathological liars in my life. They lie so often I doubt they know what the truth is. One was a roommate. I once listened to a phone conversation she had with someone and half the things she said were lies. I was moving out by then, thank god.

        1. starsaphire*

          Oh, I had a roommate like this too, in my early 20s. She was so interesting, and had so many fascinating stories!

          Until I’d told her some of my stories. And heard her repeating them as her own to fascinate other people.

          I noped out of that situation as fast as humanly possible.

      2. Despachito*

        I had a friend who was probably a pathological liar.

        She was a generation older and was the person I possibly most admired in my life. It took me more than twenty years to find out something was off. Yet in the hindsight, there were some yellow flags along the path but she was otherwise so brilliant I did not suspect anything. After I realized what was happening, all suddenly clicked in place.

        I found a diary from her youth after her death showing that she was aware of it and was trying to fight it, but was failing. Although I have sympathy for her and acknowledge she was a great person in many aspects and I owe her some of the best moments of my life, I must unfortunately say it poisoned the memories I have of her.

        This said, I’d probably not have much sympathy for a blatantly lying stranger irrespective of WHY he might be lying. It would poison my relationship with them and I’d have to constantly ask myself whether what they are telling me at the moment is the truth or a lie (as well as I am now retroactively questioning whether the information my friend gave me and I believed, was really true or invented).

    2. Indoorsy*

      I interviewed at a grad school that was both very hard to get into and had a huge emphasis on cultural fit. It was in the mountains and the handful of alumni I had talked to ALL told me they loved to ski.

      In my interview, the interviewer casually asked if I skied on the walk to the interview room. Just making small talk, it was actively snowing.

      I blurted “Yes! Love it!” I had never skied in my life. I hate the cold. I hate heights. I had a total panic moment, convinced if I didn’t ski I’d be seen as a bad fit and never admitted. She asked a casual follow up question that I had NO answer for and I kind of smiled blankly and nodded.

      It was so dumb! I still have no idea why I did it! It was totally reflexive, which sounds awful, but I don’t lie on day to day life unless it’s to save someone’s feelings (why yes I love that new tattoo!).

      Humans are weird and even the weird ones cannot tell you why. I did get in though.

      1. Tali*

        I actually really understand little lies like that, because those are clearly an attempt to ingratiate yourself to the interviewer and company culture. I know you like X, so when asked if I like X, the right answer that most pleases you must be yes, I also like X! I don’t see it as dumb or evil at all, in fact to me it seems a very common part of complex primate social relationships.

        I would more critically view lies that conceal mistakes, or have a selfish rather than social motive.

        1. Despachito*

          I also see very differently a lie about personal feelings/preferences versus lies about hard facts.

          As to the first one, no one has the ability to tell you are lying (nobody other than yourself is privy to your feelings), and unless you use it to some unfair purpose or tell someone their shirt is lovely and then slander them and say it is ugly, it’s pretty harmless and sometimes even preferable to the truth (if a coworker brings her new baby to work, you would probably say “what a cute baby” if you in fact think that all babies are the same or even that this one is ugly. It is rather sort of a grease in social clockwork.

          As to the second, it can do a lot of harm, and is what I would call a proper lie.

      2. AA*

        There’s a hair salon near me that I can never go back to. I went there once, the stylist was trying to make chit-chat and I was not in a chatty mood, so for some reason I will never understand I decided to just answer her random social chat questions with whatever I thought would be the easiest to shut down / prevent further lines of questioning, regardless of truth. Needless to say it didn’t work and I soon found myself wrapped in a tangled web of pointless lies that I couldn’t escape. I was SO GLAD to get out of there.

        1. two snakes*

          I have done this exact thing and ended up making up an entire college career for myself when I was about sixteen and the hairdresser mistook me for a university student when I said I was at school that day. I was very socially anxious and couldn’t bring myself to correct her.

      3. Jake*

        I’ve told several lies like this in my teens and early twenties. As I get older I think I now care what people will think about stuff like that a lot less, so I no longer blurt out lies before I even realize it.

        I’m a reasonably honest person, both back then and now. I feel bad for this guy, but I don’t blame the interviewers one bit since they have so little data available.

  1. anonymous73*

    That’s a very weird thing to lie about, not once but twice. I get what Alison is saying about the nervous part, but I think you made the right decision. If he’s willing to lie about something so insignificant, there’s no telling what he’s capable of doing once he starts working for you. When you’re interviewing, you have a very small window to make an impression. This is not the time to try and pull one over on the interviewers.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      It also raises the question of how they’ll behave under pressure in general. Definitely a red flag.

      1. Escapee from Corporate Management*

        Hard agree with this. If the interviewee handles any level of pressure this way, what happens when things are really bad (e.g., missed an assignment). If they do this in an interview, when all eyes are upon you, what will they do when people aren’t paying attention? It’s too risky to find out.

      2. Little Lobster*

        I think this is such a weird thing to extrapolate from this letter. Everyday working life is nothing like an interview. Interviews are weird, uncomfortable, and not indicative of normal human-to-human interaction because of the power imbalance, unfamiliarity with your interviewers as people or as colleagues, and odd physical contexts, like a zoom interview or being in a new building for the first time.

        And unless this person is interviewing to be an ER doctor or a public defender, I’m not sure how relevant “pressure” is to this job or conversation.

        I’m willing to bet that at some point in your career, you said something you wish you hadn’t said or wish you’d worded differently in an interview, and that one small gaffe is probably not a good representation of your personality, experience, or everyday working style. I think at this point, the usage of “red flag” has gotten as out of control as “toxic.” One small misspoken moment in an interview is not the same thing as casually saying that you’ve been fired from every job you’ve ever had. THAT would be a red flag.

        1. Despachito*

          But this was not just ONE slip.

          And as to the pressure – it can happen in ANY job that you mess up, and it is very much relevant whether you own your mistake or whether you try to gaslight the other person that it was THEIR OWN fault.

        2. Librarian of SHIELD*

          Sure, but if I say a thing I wish I hadn’t said and somebody asks me about it later, I’m going to respond with “yeah, that was a silly thing to say, I don’t know why I did that” not “I didn’t say that, you’re remembering it wrong.”

          It’s not about the first lie he told, it’s about the second one.

          1. Eldritch Office Worker*

            Exactly. And even if the job doesn’t rise to the level of pressure of an ER doctor (weird threshold to establish but we’ll go with it) chances are this guy will mess up at work at some point and be asked about it. OP only has a small window of information to work from and from that window has gotten “can’t respond to minor corrections” and “lies and redirects to cover up mistakes”. So. Yeah. Not a huge extrapolation.

            1. generic_username*

              YES. This is about owning a mistake and taking accountability. Like, a simple “I don’t know why I said that – I think I was nervous – but I did really appreciate your Zoom interview style” would have been totally fine and certainly wouldn’t have removed him from the running.

          2. Expelliarmus*

            Agreed. It’s a bit like that letter about the lady who fudged her vacation notice to take off an extra day during the approval process and then lied about it. What she did was made worse by her doubling down and saying it was a technical error with the scheduling software.

          3. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

            Yeah. When asked about it there was a chance to say it was a misspeak, “Oh jeez! I meant to say it was my first Zoom panel/video/whatever interview” or to redirect if it was an attempt at sounding endearing, “I was nervous and really misspoke” or “I’m sorry, I meant my first really good/really relaxed/whatever Zoom interview experience”. It was the trying to convince the LW that he didn’t say what everyone on the panel heard him say

          4. Loulou*

            Especially when this is an easy one to explain away! He could have misspoken and meant to say “ONE OF the first zoom interviews” I’ve done or something along those lines. I’ve certainly misspoken and not corrected it because it seemed minor, but the way he explained this when asked comes off as bizarre.

          5. Infrequent_Commenter*

            I agree that doubling down is worse, but the first lie is oddly specific and developed, which makes it sound practiced – its really hard for a slip of the tongue to have two parts (1-first zoom, 2-thanks for making me feel comfortable). As if it went over well on his first actual Zoom interview so he re-used it.

            1. KoiFeeder*

              You might be surprised. There was a period during my medicine roulette where I would just say things that seemed premeditated but really weren’t. Like, “oh, I don’t like yellow highlighters (true) because my friend in elementary school was wearing a yellow shirt when she broke her arm (false).” And then I’d be standing there like “wait, why the hell did I say that?”

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Thanks for saying that. Pressure can be as simple as a deadline that you are about to miss. Do you own it? Or do you throw someone else under the bus?

        3. Observer*

          The problem is not what he said, but how he responded. And those kinds of situations come up all the time.

          Here, the response is doubly bad. It’s not honest, and it’s also disrespectful because it’s saying to the others that “you didn’t hear what you think heard”. And while that sometimes does happen, saying that when it’s not true is just a problem.

          “I don’t remember saying that. That’s just so weird because I always interview on Zoom” would be very different. It’s still possible that this is not true, but it could easily be true, because, as you said, we all occasionally say things we didn’t intend to come out the way it it did and we don’t always remember everything we said including the weird stuff. On the other hand, it’s not disrespectful. “I don’t remember that” is not the same thing as “You are wrong.”

        4. Lady H*

          I agree. Honestly I feel bad for this candidate! As someone who had extremely harsh (and sometimes physically abusive) parents…lying is something I did as a kid to try to protect myself, and unfortunately despite lots of work with a therapist it can come up in these kind of silly ways for me. It’s very infrequent and it’s always in this kind of situation where I find myself wondering why the heck I lied about something so small, but getting caught in a lie could have severe consequences for me as a kid, so I can absolutely see myself panicking and doubling down in a foolish way during something as stressful as a job interview.

          I also have ADHD which I think plays into my sympathy! Job interviews can feel like out of body experiences for me, and figuring out what I said in the moment can be pretty hard. In terms of my integrity, it sucks that folks are extrapolating that someone who would lie about something inconsequential like this must be someone who is capable of far worse. I understand completely where Alison’s coming from in her answer — maybe this guy isn’t like me, and with limited information it makes sense that it’s safer to move on to other candidates, but seeing these comments making assumptions about how they surely dodged a bullet feels like going too far.

          People do such odd things when they’re nervous. Being confronted about a silly lie and panicking in the moment feels relatable to me, and I think a lot of people probably have done the same thing for myriad reasons that don’t boil down to them being fundamentally dishonest people.

          Being confronted by folks who feel like they hold a lot of power over you…I think it’s far more likely the candidate was dealing with social anxiety that overrode rational thought and reacted in a way they wouldn’t normally. I’ve had super high stress and hectic jobs that never got me anywhere near the level of stress and fear I’ve had in interviews (I now take anti-anxiety meds before them!), so I tend to think it’s best we don’t assume the way folks act in them can give a sure fire glimpse into everyday personality/performance.

          1. Observer*

            Being confronted about a silly lie and panicking in the moment feels relatable to me, and I think a lot of people probably have done the same thing for myriad reasons that don’t boil down to them being fundamentally dishonest people.

            That may be true. But it still means that the person can not necessarily be trusted. And while it’s possible that this will ONLY be a problem when it comes to inconsequential issues, that’s not highly likely. Absent compelling evidence otherwise I don’t think it’s realistic for a company to make that bet.

          2. ecnaseener*

            We can definitely sympathize with the candidate for having a weird panicked reaction and digging in deeper.

            But I don’t think it’s unfair to say that someone who’s prone to weird lies (and doubling down hard on said weird lies when confronted, not equivocating at all but literally claiming to have said the exact opposite of what they said) is someone you’d need to worry about trusting in a work context. As Alison said, maybe it was a weird fluke, but it’s all you have to go on.

            You’re totally right that this might not be a deliberate immoral thing, it might be a weird panic thing. I still wouldn’t want a coworker who tells weird panicked lies when anxious!

            1. Candi*

              For one thing, we’ve had stories here where those “panicked lies when anxious” have had bad results for a workplace or employee other than the liar. While we can be sympathetic if that’s the case, it’s also not on OP’s workplace to manage the candidate’s issues, and understandable they’d want to not get involved, whether the candidate is lying out of embarrassment or arrogance.

        5. James*

          “Interviews are weird, uncomfortable, and not indicative of normal human-to-human interaction because of the power imbalance, unfamiliarity with your interviewers as people or as colleagues, and odd physical contexts, like a zoom interview or being in a new building for the first time.”

          I suppose it depends on the job. If you’re in a 9-to-5 in the same office every day this may be true. For me, though, most of my work involves power imbalances of some sort (me vs. regulators, for example), unfamiliarity with people (half my conversations can be summed up as “Hi, we’ve never met, but I need you to greatly inconvenience yourself so that I can do my job”), and odd physical contexts (pits full of toxic waste, for example). And that’s the norm–things get worse from there. Someone who can’t handle an interview isn’t cut out for a job in my field. And lying–or worse, trying to cover it up!–are career killers, if not literal killers, in my field.

          The sort of behavior exhibited by this interviewee would warrant immediate removal from consideration in my world. They exhibited multiple deal breakers.

          Further, remember what an interview is. You don’t owe this person a job, or even further consideration. If you have other options you’re allowed to say “That’s a red flag, we’ll look elsewhere”, even if there’s a rational justification for it. Is this person a good fit for your organization? It sounds like no, he’s not. Cut the line and move on.

        6. Kevin Sours*

          “I’m willing to bet that at some point in your career, you said something you wish you hadn’t said or wish you’d worded differently in an interview”

          The interview for the first professional job I had somebody pointed out some skills I had listed on my resume which, while not untrue, in that context were exaggerated. My response was almost exactly “Huh, I don’t know why that’s on there, I thought I’d taken that off”. Which was the truth.

          The point is that a small gaffe addressed candidly is one thing. A small gaffe met with dissembling and more untruths is quite a different matter.

        7. James*

          “I’m willing to bet that at some point in your career, you said something you wish you hadn’t said or wish you’d worded differently in an interview…”

          Eh, not really. I wish I’d had time to change out of my “working on the farm” cloths before one, but that was their call, moving the interview suddenly. Then again, I haven’t done a lot of interviews. And frankly I’m cocky and arrogant, so I usually think I did the right thing.

          “…and that one small gaffe is probably not a good representation of your personality, experience, or everyday working style.”

          A brain fart is one thing. Doubling down is another. Anyone can make a mistake, or say something stupid. To refuse to correct course once it’s established that you did so is the problem.

          “One small misspoken moment in an interview is not the same thing as casually saying that you’ve been fired from every job you’ve ever had. THAT would be a red flag.”

          An erroneous statement, no. We all screw up; that’s why we have field notebooks. Refusal to correct that error once it’s clear everyone knows it’s wrong? That’s a HUGE red flag. That gets you jail time, loses contracts, and gets people killed in my industry. Every industry is different, but in mine lives are literally on the line–ours, our contractors, our clients, and given the nature of my job not infrequently random people who will never even know our names. People make mistakes, and that’s part of life, but I cannot in good conscience allow someone who refuses to correct their mistakes onto my team. I don’t want that paperwork or that blood on my hands.

        8. RagingADHD*

          With the best will in the world, I want to urge you that if job interviews or as routine an experience as being in a new building for the first time give you “ER Doctor or public defender” levels of stress, you might want to get that seen about.

          Both of those things are very ordinary situations and, while it’s normal for them to make people nervous, it is not normal to have that extreme of a reaction to regular stuff you need to do to have a functional life. Almost every job involves talking to strangers, being in new places or on video chats, being evaluated/judged, dealing with people who have power over your work life, being accountable for your mistakes, etc.

          1. Candi*

            I’ve taken a “fake it until it becomes a habit” approach to t hat kind of thing. I’m not freaking out any less, but it’s stomped down and shoved out of the way.

        9. Social Commentator*

          “I wish I had worded that differently” is not anywhere close to, “I will tell bold-faced lies to bolster my image and insist that things you know to be true are false.”

        10. HQB*

          “One small misspoken moment in an interview is not the same thing as casually saying that you’ve been fired from every job you’ve ever had. THAT would be a red flag.”

          The fact that there are bigger red flags out there doesn’t mean that lying, and then lying about lying when asked to clarify, isn’t one.

        11. tamarack & fireweed*

          I would also guard against extrapolating – humans *are* weird.

          Mostly, though, you don’t *need* to extrapolate. It’s ok to derive a “no” from this even if you thing it’s perfectly possible that the person just has a weird reaction to a stressful situation. But doubling down is definitely not going to be received well – so it’s ok not to receive it well!

          If the person is basically fine and would have made a good employee, now they learned not to let interview stress play havoc with their clear thinking. And if not, and they would always have had a loose relationship to truthfulness in a way that would have become disruptive, good thing you didn’t hire them.

    2. Bilateralrope*

      Something insignificant, but the interview is possibly recorded. So a lie that can be easily checked.

      Best case for this candidate is that he thought he was telling the truth when he doubled down. Memory is tricky sometimes. But that’s still a ‘hire someone else outcome

          1. HQB*

            I have a former grand-boss who lied all the time in recorded meetings.
            Boss: “We’ve made an offer to our top candidate, and we’re just wrapping up the HR details.”
            Peer, several minutes later: “So you’ve identified the likely next program manager?”
            Boss: “No, we’re still looking and haven’t made a decision yet.”

            With that little red light in the corner of Zoom on the whole time. So bizarre.

      1. 1st time poster*

        This! In my younger days I worked as a waitress. Took an order, delivered exactly what the customer ordered and got a “I didn’t order that!”. They were positive. Luckily someone else at the table responded “Yes, you did.” I think this guy should get a pass on this one, if everything else looked good.

        1. BubbleTea*

          I was having lunch with a friend who ordered the same thing as me and then when it came, insisted she had ordered something else. She wasn’t trying to scam them, she genuinely believed she had ordered the thing she wanted but she definitely said the words that I’d said just before her (similar named items but not so much so that they were easy to mishear). The waiter clearly decided it wasn’t worth arguing and I took my lead from him, but she did not say what she thought she’d said.

          1. Indoorsy*

            I once had a protracted debate with a waitress who was POSITIVE that the pork tacos she served me were what I ordered. She was so adamant. I politely insisted. Finally my friend half shouted “she’s a vegetarian! She hasn’t eaten pork in 20 years!” and the waitress slunk back to the kitchen with them.

            Somehow it felt like a weird power move to say it myself? Her aggression caught me off guard somehow. It was funny to see her SO sure of herself when she clearly had no motive to lie.

            1. Ellie*

              I’ve been certain of things before that turned out not to be true at all. I once turned up to an appointment on the wrong day, completely convinced I was right… until I checked the email and lo and behold, I had read the date wrong. I’ve also insisted that I ordered the schnitzel, and gone ahead and started eating it, before remembering that this time I didn’t… the poor server had to bring out a second one and I was too embarrassed to admit that I’d taken it. I don’t know why this happens, I’ll have what I think is a perfect recollection, and it turns out to be wrong.

              I can see why they didn’t hire this person, because it feels like he could be seeking some kind of advantage, by claiming it was his first ZOOM interview when it wasn’t and when he’d done really well. But the odds are high that he was just confusing his answers across a couple of interviews, and it wasn’t consciously done. I feel a bit sorry for him.

              1. R*

                It’s not just you. Of course I FORGET the name of the phenomenon, but people do this thing where they will connect a false memory to major events, like misremembering where you were and what you were doing when 9/11 happened, or the same year of a famous World Series. Turns out remembered details can’t possible be true. When you check their stories, they’re the most surprise of all to find out it’s not true.

                1. Hlao-roo*

                  Many people mis-remembering major events is called the “Mandela effect.” According to Wikipedia:

                  “In 2010, this shared false memory phenomenon was dubbed “the Mandela effect” by self-described “paranormal consultant” Fiona Broome, in reference to her false memory of the death of South African anti-Apartheid leader Nelson Mandela in prison in the 1980s (he actually died in 2013, after having served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999), which she claimed was shared by “perhaps thousands” of other people.”

                2. Not Today*

                  I once went through a day’s worth of security video because I was so certain the laptop I was supposed to drop off after work was taken out of my car. I remembered taking it to the car and getting out with an armful of other things thinking I’d go back back for it. I never ran out to the car to get it, and it wasn’t there when I left that evening. It was, however, sitting by my front door at home. The best I could figure, I’d visualized bringing it to the car when I was planning my morning and that was real enough for me to believe I’d done it. I wasn’t lying about it being in my car, I fully believed it, but that doesn’t mean I regularly misremember situations at work.

                  I am also someone who finds job interviews insanely stressful, much more so than the many naturally stressful situations I have experienced in my career.

    3. Catnap*

      It also was more than just an odd answer to a question or a short comment. He went on about it and complimented them out of the blue. It was totally weird. Also, he clearly can’t get out of a sticky situation – he just denied instead of spinning it.
      Its weird.

    4. Cobol*

      The weird thing to me is that I would view never doing a Zoom interview as a minor negative. More importantly though regardless of validity, I think the letter writer is always going to have trust issues with this candidate (For what it’s worth, I personally find OP’s trepidation very valid)

      1. BubbleTea*

        I’ve never done a Zoom job interview, although I use Zoom and other video conferencing a lot for work now. Why would it be a negative if someone hadn’t interviewed by video before? I’ve been in the same job since the Before Times, it isn’t a lack of tech savvy.

        1. Cobol*

          Are you interviewing right now? It’s a very very very minor negative, but my thought would be everybody is interviewing with Zoom (or Teams) why aren’t you getting interviews. I would never ask, and it’s more of a, if given the choice of negative or positive only I would personally pick negative. That the candidate was using it to endear themselves makes me feel even more that this was calculating.

        2. Cobol*

          And just to add, if you never interviewed on Zoom, because your current company uses Teams and all your interviews were on Teams, or you just started your job search, I would cease viewing it as a negative. Again it’s more that this is such a weird lie.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Why are you doubling down yourself? All it takes to be true is someone who just started job hunting for the first time since before the pandemic began.

    5. Lalaluna*

      This situation sounds more calculated that “random nervousness”, honestly. The candidate lied about using zoom and spun that into a compliment about his interviewers – and successfully endeared himself to them. I think he was trying to score some easy brownie points (which he successfully did) and then had no good way to handle it when he was exposed for his lie.

      1. LemonLime*

        Poor guy probably got it from some LifeHack interviewing website.
        It’s the 2021 version of bad advice like “When asked what your worst trait is say it’s “I love my job too much, I do too well, I am an over achiever.”
        I can just see it now:
        “When interviewing with a company mention it’s your 1st ZOOM interview and give the team credit for how polished you seemed. That way you endear your self to them and any flaw you had in the interview is forgiven since it’s your ‘first Zoom’.”
        “When asked what you did during the COVID shut down. Act surprised as if this is the first time you’ve heard of a COVID because you are a GREAT EMPLOYEE and never stopped working.”

    6. marvin the paranoid android*

      I don’t really subscribe to the theory that people who will commit small misdeeds in one context are any more likely to do something much worse in another. I think those expectations come to us from a very moralistic view of sin as an absolute wrong with no room for nuance. (Not that I think you personally feel that way–I just think those cultural roots often underlie this way of thinking.)

      This is kind of a fascinating situation because it’s such an unforced error, and also because it was really predictable that the lie would get back to the interviewers. His response was also very awkward and unlikely to work out well. I don’t get the impression that this guy is some kind of slick master of deception.

      1. Candi*

        It’s not about moralizing and sinning, it’s about patterns of behavior. When it’s been documented, people who needlessly lie or otherwise do something similarly wrong will do that across their entire behavior pattern -they don’t compartmentalize it to just work or just romantic partnerships. (“Wrong” as in “most cultures dislike and have had customs, regulations, laws, and so on against it”, like lying, stealing, randomly stabbing someone, etc.)

        Many cultures have the story of the constant braggart who is suddenly stuck in the position of proving or living up to his lies. Most of them are not up to the Brave Little Tailor’s (original, not Disney) standards of gumption, and need lots of mystical help and eat a lot of humble pie in the process.

        Closer to the present day, you’ll find it in a lot of criminal stories, particularly those who aren’t that bright but have big egos. It works best for those who are also charming and conventionally attractive.

        The pattern of behavior shown by the candidate -lying and then doubling down- is a worrisome pattern even if it never gets any worse -but past cases show that when someone evinces such a pattern of behavior and doesn’t get or refuses therapy, they push boundaries. With or without conscious realization, they push and see what they can get away with.

        1. Lady H.*

          This is really reading a lot into two incidents, and two doesn’t make a pattern. It’s clear from your comments that you have strong feelings about this being a black and white situation but it could have a lot more nuance — we simply don’t have enough information or backstory to invent an entire persona for the candidate.

          I’d also want to see citations for the claims you’re making, as it’s coming across as the type of true crime podcast type fact that actually flattens a lot of the data in order to make a more interesting point, i.e. ”people who needlessly lie or otherwise do something similarly wrong will do that across their entire behavior pattern” is a VERY strong assertion to make.

      2. allathian*

        Yeah, I agree with you on this. That said, the first lie might get a pass from me, but the doubling down when caught in the lie, nope. I don’t trust people who are incapable of owning up to a mistake.

    7. JK*

      I’m embarrassed to say I have done something similar.
      I was an intern at a company that always treated me well, so I had no reason to lie to anyone. I had been on a few interviews with some accounting firms. My manager asked me about it, and for whatever reason I lied and said I hadn’t been on any. Of course, she had connections around town! Of course they reached out to her! She even gave me an out, and said “Hey, its OK. I don’t care. I expect that. Other interns have went into public accounting.” I doubled down! Ugh. So embarrassing to think back on it.

  2. I’d Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

    When I was a teenager, my then-dentist confused me with another of his patients who was headed to UC Santa Cruz.

    For reasons unknown even to myself, I felt too awkward to correct him and spent the next four years making awkward small talk about how beautiful Santa Cruz is. Never corrected him! Why?!?

    1. KHB*

      When I was a teenager, I had a piano teacher who spent the better part of a year calling me by the wrong name. I never corrected her. I was going through an awkward phase, and I coped with it by becoming over-timid and going along with whatever the nearest authority figure said. Growing up does weird things to you sometimes.

      1. an infinite number of monkeys*

        Heh, I’m a 52-year-old grown-ass professional, and a woman in my office I infrequently interact with still calls me by the wrong name (nickname) because when she started, over a decade ago, I felt too awkward to correct her and it seems like it’s much too late to say anything now.

        At this point I just figure one of us has to retire eventually.

            1. Feelings... nothing more than feelings*

              Hey, I was fully prepared to tell you that I’m sure I’ve seen it spelled “awkardness” before and that must be an alternate spelling.

        1. Madeupnamehere*

          This! My name is hard to pronounce so when I have to give a name to people I think I will never interact with again, I always give my daughters name. I did that at a local shop and now not only do I frequent the shop but so does my daughter. My daughter told them her name and I guess they thought they misheard my name and started calling me something slightly different. So at this one shop we are effectively Sally and Sammy, but in real life we are Daenerys and Sammy.

          1. Former Usher*

            Yep. It happened to me, too, with someone I would see infrequently at a new job. I didn’t even realize that she was talking to me, so I didn’t know to correct her. Once I figured out what was going on, she was near retirement so I let it go.

    2. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      Sorry, lol. My parents make friends with every stranger they meet including food servers in various restaurants. For almost a decade, if I was out to eat in my hometown, these people would ask me if I’m visiting/home from College and how school was going, and because I’m the opposite of my parents and HATE answering stranger’s questions about my life, even very banal ones, I just said yes and fine.

    3. Kauldwin*

      I had a really similar situation while I was at college. A professor who knew my parents came up to me and started talking about how nice it was to see me attending his series of special interest lectures. Problem being, of course, that I had never set foot in these lectures. We didn’t really ever have a conversation about it, he just made comments in passing if we saw each other on the sidewalk or whatever. As a result, I never did fess up, I just let him go on thinking I was attending lol.

      Later on somebody that had known me pretty much my entire life (and thus probably had a far better shot at recognizing me than the professor) swore up and down they had seen me somewhere that I wasn’t, so I did apparently have a pretty good doppelganger somewhere on campus.

      1. ThisIsTheHill*

        I had a doppelganger in college, who stayed in town like I did after graduation. Enough people told me about her (“Sorry I didn’t say hi when I saw you at X, was in a rush!” when I hadn’t left my office all day, “I see you at [bar I went to once] all the time!” ) that I wish I could have met her & swapped stories. Lord knows what I did for her reputation when I was young & dumb.

      2. Empress Matilda*

        I had a university doppelganger as well! At least once a month, somebody would come up to me and say “Hey, hi! Oh, sorry – I thought you were someone else.”

        I’m still wondering who that person is, and if my friends were doing the same to her…

      3. Need a WFH policy*

        I had a university doppelganger too. It. Was. Awful. We were roommates and superficially resembled each other enough so people thought only one person was living in our room for about 6 weeks. We weren’t related nor did we know each other prior to school. The weird part was she was always mistaken for me but I was never mistaken for her. I had originally thought it was because I knew more people and went to class while she rarely went to class. That is…until I ran into her one day….wearing my sweater…that had been in a sweater box …on the top shelf of my closet… not visible…unless she was going through my things. Ugh. It was SWF all the way.

        1. allathian*

          Ugh. That’s awful. Luckily I’ve only ever been roommates with my sister, who I could trust not to go through my things, or as an intern abroad, when I basically lived out of a suitcase, and had a dresser with a lock for stuff that I didn’t want my roommates to see. I didn’t lock it, though, because I had no reason to suspect my roommates would go through my things.

        2. Omg*

          This reminds me of the movie The Roommate which is awful but very similar creepy situation. Also I knew a woman who used to sneak into her roommate’s closet when she was mad at her and cut tiny holes in her clothing

      4. Quoth the Raven*

        My dad has a doppelganger that is my father’s exact opposite, personality wise, and is apparently up to no good — judging by my dad’s interactions with others when they take him for his double, this person owes others money, has said very questionable things, and my dad was actually forced to basically run away from some place when a group threatened him with bodily harm thinking he was his doppelganger.

    4. Pool Lounger*

      There was a recent Captain Awkward letter about someone who lied to her neighbors, saying she didn’t have a fish tank on her balcony… when it was clear she did. Humans are weird and awkward creatures sometimes!

      1. Anon for now*

        That’s so weird. I had a college roommate who would use/take things. It was clear that she had done it (sometimes she was wearing the thing!) but she would insist that she had not.

        She would also do things, like leave our window open, and insist she had not. As if it were possible that every day while I was at class and she was taking a nap someone was sneaking into our room and opening the window.

        I think she was actually a pretty troubled person, but it was still a very surreal experience.

        1. dePizan*

          I had a similar college roommate who would constantly steal food (she was very open about how much money she had, it was definitely a matter of want, not need). She would even lie if she was caught in the act, ‘oh no, this is mine” or claiming that the roommate who owned the food told her she could have it.

          One of the other roommates had a birthday and had told all of us that the cake was made by her good friend as her present, and she wanted to save the last half of the cake for herself. The food thief then snuck about half of the remaining cake for herself that night. Birthday roommate put a note up in the kitchen that it was really messed up and she had been looking forward to that, etc. Food thief then had the temerity to write on the note something along the lines of, “whoever stole the cake was really selfish and needed to fess up and this food theft is really getting out of hand.”

          No surprise that she also refused to pull her weight in cleaning or buying the few resources we did pool like cleaning supplies or toilet paper.

          1. Catnap*

            Ughhh, I stole food from my roomates and hallmates who kept it on a floor kitchen. I was bulimic and I’m sure everyone knew it was me and it was humiliating. I also would eat like leftover popcorn in a bag and other things thrown away too though. EDs are terrible terrible things.

            1. Barbara Eyiuche*

              They might not have known it was you. I used to live with someone who was bulimic. I am fat, so everyone blamed me. Two people who knew me then still think I lie all the time, because obviously I was lying then.

          2. Anon for Now*

            I had a (different) roommate like that as well. Money actually was tight for her, but it was tight for all of us. We would go shopping together and pool our money to buy things. She would tell me and the other girl she wouldn’t eat certain things (like ice cream) and so she wouldn’t pitch in for them. Then after we’d had one serving each, she’d go eat the rest.

            She didn’t lie about it though. She would act amazed that it bothered us.

            Or, sometimes she would eat something someone else had bought on their own and then say, “Well I didn’t know whose it was” After about a year of replying, “But you knew it wasn’t yours, right?” she finally stopped.

        2. Rainy*

          I had a roommate while I was in grad school who would eat my food and then lie about it. He once drank all but the last half inch of a container of juice, and when I said “Kenny (his real name, may his feet never fail to find a Lego), I’m tired of you eating my food, buy me a new container of juice” he played dumb and said he didn’t know what I was talking about and hadn’t drunk my juice.

          It was grape juice. There was a glass with a ring of grape juice in the bottom in front of him and he had a grape juice mustache. I pointed these things out and he kept denying it. He was a terrible roommate. I ended up keeping everything that I needed to worry about him eating in a locked dorm fridge in my room.

          1. Marthooh*

            “Kenny (his real name, may his feet never fail to find a Lego)…”

            Petty vengeance is a dish best locked in a fridge for several years and then served cold.

    5. Nesprin*

      My local donut guy has mistaken me for a woman with three kids. For three years.
      At this point I will go to my grave contining to tell him that Sammy is doing great.

      1. Nausicaa*

        In my old city, the cashier in the posh supermarket was always really enthusiastic to see me and asked me about my family etc. and I just went with it thinking perhaps we had met outside of work. But then one time she told me she had been speaking to my mother that morning. My mother lived on another continent. I just went with it. I hope my doppleganger’s family were always fine, because I always said that they were!

    6. M*

      I worked alongside an attorney who misunderstood where I went to school (my school shared a name with an ivy league, but mine was the College, not the University). He assumed I was an ivy league grad and I didn’t correct him for months, not because I wanted him to believe that but because I didn’t want to be rude. He figured it out eventually, but not before a bunch of awkward small talk.

      1. NeonFireworks*

        I remember an article about one of the pairs like this – the College receives a bunch of applications intended for the University every year, and occasionally a student ends up in Iowa when they thought they were going to upstate New York. The student who was interviewed for the article was a fantastically good sport; he acknowledged his error but said he loved the College and was so glad things had worked out the way they had.

          1. Indoorsy*

            I had a friend who didn’t go here specifically because she didn’t want to constantly tell people “no, not THAT Cornell.”

          2. EZ Like Sunday Morning*

            What a great list!

            “Winters in Ithaca are snowy and cold. Winters in Mount Vernon, on the other hand, are … cold and snowy.”

        1. Catnap*

          Remember when Kelly from The Office thought she was going to Miami University…in Miami Florida and not in fact where she was going: to the Miami University in Ohio and was giving away all of her coats?

          1. Anonymous CA-to-CT*

            My first job was at Stanford University. Years later I ended up in Connecticut and had people tell me I had a typo on my resume. It made sense when someone misheard me because Stamford is nearby. But reading it when the next line on my resume said Palo Alto, CA? People see what they expect to see.

        2. M*

          I am in tears. That is a fantastic mix-up story. I cannot imagine being that poor student! I’m glad he at least enjoyed his experience there.

      2. enter name here*

        Hah! My brother went to that college! He’d joke about leaving the college off his resume and everyone would just assume he’d gone to the university.

      3. ThatGirl*

        I went to a small school in Indiana that has a very similar (one letter off) name to a college in Chicago. Had more than a few people ask me how I liked Chicago. “Oh, it’s lovely, but I go to school in Indiana.”

        1. eastcoastkate*

          Haha I’m from Indiana and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people say “Depauw- with a ‘w'”

    7. Cat Tree*

      Ha! Recently a phlebotomist wrongly assumed that my baby was a boy as I was getting blood drawn. I didn’t feel it was worth correcting her, but then she kept going on and on about it. Do I now have to put my daughter in gender neutral clothes whenever we go there to maintain the lie? I’m so glad she didn’t ask about “his” name because I honestly might have just made up a boy name.

      1. Anonybonnie*

        Once when I spent a week in the hospital, back when visitors in hospitals were a thing, my husband brought our infant daughter to see me a few times. The first time she was wearing dino jammies. The second time she was wearing a pink dress. A nurse assumed I had twins, a boy and a girl. I just went with it.

          1. Candi*

            My son had a bug shirt he adored. When he grew out of it, it was his younger sibling’s turn. There were other clothes handed down, but the bug shirt was special.

            You would have thought I re-enacted the worst crimes you can think of when it came up this AFAB kid was wearing their brother’s hand-me-downs, especially the bug shirt. Me, it was practical and that’s where I stopped at.

    8. Staja*

      My (very, very small) Town Clerk has called me by the wrong name for the 10 years I’ve lived here. She’s friendly with my husband’s family – they’re local and the name she uses is a nickname for my middle name (Jen for Jennifer), but I’ve never been comfortable correcting her. I figure it’s fine to answer to my middle name!

      1. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

        When I lived in a small town, the proprietor of the local pizza place was a Greek guy named George. He could not remember his regulars’ names, so he called everyone George!

    9. Meep*

      I informed my Toxic Coworker that I was not in grad school as the last time she knew about me taking a grad class, she was announcing to everyone “we” were taking said class. (Did not matter I was paying for it out of my pocket.)

      It wasn’t /technically/ a lie as I wasn’t in grad school. I was just taking a single grad class. I did tell my manager and my grandboss respectively. She found out, of course, and that was awkward. But at the end of the day, I would probably do it again than hear from random people how happy they were that Toxic Coworker and I were getting our Master’s in Engineering Management.

    10. Janie when I'm not Jamie*

      A cashier at a local restaurant calls me by the wrong name (Think Janie instead of Jamie). So many people do it that I answer to either name, so I never bothered correcting her. One day she was out, and I gave the new cashier my real name. The day came when the second cashier called me by my real name, and the first cashier “corrected” her. Frozen with awkwardness, I didn’t say anything, but the second cashier knows good and well what my name is. Or she wonders why I lied about my name. Why, oh why, didn’t I just give the second cashier the wrong name to start with?

      1. Not Today*

        My name was extremely rare when I was growing up, so most people either called me by a similar name with a couple letters reversed, or mispronounced the initial vowel sound. I almost never bothered correcting people. One summer when I was a teenager, I babysat my cousin’s son. My uncle and cousins had always mispronounced my name, so my cousin’s son did, too. I let it go until a neighbor pronounced my name correctly and my cousin’s son tried to correct him, “Her name is *mispronunciation*.” That was a bit much, so I said, “Actually, it’s *correct pronunciation *.” His reply, turning to his friend, “Oh, well, we call her *mispronunciation*.” Sigh.

    11. fort hiss*

      Lol, I had this issue with a foreign boss who thought I went to the college he went to for a semester. I tried to correct him the first time (I went to a regional branch of it that’s barely affiliated), but he didn’t get it, so every time I saw him after that he would bring it up and I would smile and nod along… I only saw him at drunken holiday parties, so it was really not worth setting the record straight.

    12. Candi*

      Now, see, I have a shaky filter at best and can be very literal-minded, so I just correct people or tell them “no?” when they ask “are you Shirley?” I usually get told I look a lot like Shirley (Robin, Jennifer, Adrianne, Alice, Tyler). I guess I have a fairly generic appearance.

  3. JT*

    Maybe I’m in the minority, but this feels like a slip of the tongue/memory to me. I would hate to found out that I lost out on a job because of this.

    1. BK*

      But then you say things like “I must have misspoke” instead of “we had a long conversation where I said the opposite of what you thought.”

      1. Lacey*

        Yes, I have been in a number of situations where I mispoke or forgot and then people have said, “Wait, I thought you said X” and it’s awkward, but the only reasonable thing to do is explain that you mispoke or forgot.

        At that point it would be unreasonable to take someone out of the running over it. But to double down is a problem that would impact the actual work.

    2. Librarian of SHIELD*

      If it had been a slip of the tongue, I would have expected him to reply to OP’s follow up with “I’m so sorry, I must have phrased that incorrectly when we spoke before. I actually meant…” But this guy straight up said “I didn’t say that, you’re wrong.” That feels really alarming to me. Is he a pathological liar? Is he the kind of employee who will throw anyone and everyone under the bus to keep himself from seeing the consequences of his mistakes? Is he just so committed to the idea that he’s always right that he really believes what he said to OP? They have no way at all of knowing. And given the choice between a candidate who sparks these kinds of weird questions and one that doesn’t, I think OP and their team made the best choice they could with the information they had.

      1. jiggle mouse*

        I have to train people assigned to assist/back up part of my duties when workflow is maxed out. We deal with stressed out & often rude ‘customers’, plus deadlines and delivery platforms that require accurate input. I’ve experienced coworkers who didn’t really want the duties and didn’t understand how important accurate information is to the function of the service I oversee, so will say anything to get the problem out of their face. This results in misinfo and sometimes angry misunderstandings and just plain bad customer service, so being able to handle information accurately under pressure (i.e. don’t toss out ‘lies’ or toss anyone under the bus) is key to the job.

      2. TreeFrogEditor*

        This reminds me of something that happened to me recently: I was managing an employee who was on a PIP and one strike away from being let go (for submitting poor work, missing deadlines, and being generally unreliable). Earlier in the day, I’d emailed her a document. Midday, she pinged me on Slack to remind me to send her the document. I told her that, actually, I’d already sent it to her a few hours ago and suggested she re-check her email. She responded with “No you did not.” (She then refreshed her Outlook and OH WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT, there was the document.)

        Different situation in that there wasn’t a lie involved in my case, but it REALLY rubbed me the wrong way in a way that feels along the lines with what you’re describing: overconfident (and false) declaration in a situation where the person should be treading more carefully. I think of it as a yellow-flag-type behavior.

        1. kitryan*

          I would get a lot of this from a co worker: ‘you never told me that’, ‘We’ve never discussed X’, and as I save all my emails and have a very good memory, I found it possibly more frustrating than others would – I had the same, ‘rubbed me the wrong way’ feeling about this unearned certainty that he was correct. So I would look up the email from the last time or two and forward them to him. I always felt petty about doing it, but one of the things he was supposed to be working on was remembering/noting procedures and attention to detail, so it was kind of important to not feed into his narrative about every error being a one off singular occurance!

        2. Feelings... nothing more than feelings*

          It would rub anyone the wrong way because she was communicating that YOU either made a mistake or lied. She was saying it wasn’t possible that she was mistaken — when, in fact, she was mistaken — and not allowing for the possibility that anything beyond your control might have happened, such as an email getting lost. Her response was combative, disrespectful, and unkind.

      3. Better safe than sorry*

        I can see that he may have slipped or told a white lie about not doing Skype interviews before, but the fact that he then basically accused the interviewer of lying is very concerning.
        I had an employee that did this all the time. He would say one thing and then claim he never said it or said the opposite. It was so frustrating. This would even happen via email where I could see exactly what he had previously said. When I’d call him out on it he would try to explain that he meant something else. He was not a good worker and we eventually fired him. I think OP dodged a bullet by passing on this person. It could have been an honest mistake, but it also could have been a huge red flag. Better to be safe than sorry on this one.

    3. KayDeeAye*

      Hmmm, I would agree with you except for the part where he tried to convince them that, no, he hadn’t lied…they were just remembering incorrectly.

      It may not be a deal killer, but it was really, really dumb and very off-putting.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        “but it was really, really dumb and very off-putting”

        And this is the polar opposite of what a successful job candidate is shooting for in their behavior. The goal of an interview is to showcase why you are the best fit for a role while also learning more about how specifically the company views the role. I honestly like the fact they circled back to the job candidate with the new information, and that they did attempt to give the candidate an easy out. Not impressed with candidate’s behavior and totally not blaming the company for taking them out of the running for this particular job opening (not clear from the letter if they were also removed from the other opening).

        1. Hiring Mgr*

          To me though the new (and more relevant) information was that the candidate was already deep in an interview process elsewhere at the company, not that he’d used Zoom before.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Maybe because I know companies generally do two rounds with multiple candidates (speaking from experience in my field only) the fact that he was interviewing and further in the process at another place as well doesn’t bug me.

            It would only bother me if the candidate was continuing to interview with my group after accepting a position elsewhere. But that would be because it gives the optics of wasting the time of people who you know you aren’t going to accept a job with because you just accepted a different job.

            1. Hiring Mgr*

              Yeah it wouldn’t bug me either but i’d just be far more curious about that aspect than whether he had really used Zoom or not – though that could be because when i’m interviewing someone the type of position it is usually means there would be no other role they’d be interviewing for simultaneously,

          2. PollyQ*

            I wouldn’t have a problem with that. Every candidate is entitled to keep job-hunting as hard as they want right up until they accept an offer.

      2. A Feast of Fools*

        20-something me might’ve doubled-down because I was terrified of being seen as less than absolutely perfect and I didn’t have a lot of tools for successfully dealing with mistakes.

        50-something me would say something like, “I said WHAT?? Holy smokes, my interview nerves must’ve gotten to me and my brain just.. erased?… the other Zoom interviews in the moment. Gah, how embarrassing!”

        And I’d say that even if I *had* been lying on purpose to try to ingratiate myself with my interviewers.

    4. Willis*

      I could see this as a mistake during the interview and then a memory lapse afterwards, especially in a “But why would I have said that? I’ve been using Zoom for a year and a half now!?” type way. It would be a really odd thing to lie about initially (and I’m not really sure I would have much of a reaction to the statement anyway, as an interviewer). If I had enough other high qualified candidates I may nix him cause you got to nix someone, but I don’t know that it would be a dealbreaker otherwise.

      1. Observer*

        Yes, but then it wold make sense to actually SAY that. Like “Why would I have said that? Very strange! I always do zoom interviews!”

        1. Willis*

          I don’t disagree that he could’ve explained it better. I just wouldn’t automatically assume he’s a big, red flag liar trying to gaslight the interviewers. And like I said, fine to get rid of him cause of that if you have other similarly qualified candidates.

    5. Prefer my pets*

      Except they didn’t ask him if he had done zoom interviews before where he might just have seized up, he volunteered it (I’m with those who assume it was a way to earn extra points). He might be fine, and if there were no other good candidates I would go ahead and spend the time to really dig in with his past managers (& coworkers if I could find them) to see if there is a history of lying, saying things to make himself look more favorable that aren’t true, etc. With other viable candidates I’m not spending the effort.

      1. tangerineRose*

        I think he said this line the first time he was on Zoom, and it went over so well, he kept on using it. Then when caught in the lie, he figured the only thing to do was what he did.

        1. Public Sector Manager*

          Coming here to say this! It definitely went over well, maybe early in the pandemic, and presumably the applicant kept on using it for every interview.

          Had the applicant reversed course and said they misspoke when called out on the comment, I would have given them props for coming clean. If there were still my top candidate, I would probably extended an offer at that point. But if this applicant was neck and neck with someone else, combined with doubling down the way the applicant did, then I would have done the same thing as OP’s hiring team.

        2. Divergent*

          My autistic masking sometimes works like this. I learn a social thing that works and then deploy it, and my brain doesn’t always stop to consider the *content* so much as the *function* of the phrase. Then I have the impulse to panic and try to hide it when I do something socially incorrect. It’s taken two decades to be able to easily say “I said which? Give me a minute to think about what happened” instead.

        3. Carol*

          Honestly, this is how this reads to me as well. It’s because it wasn’t prompted, he offered it. It’d be different if it was in response to something they prompted.

          The suspicion isn’t that he’s a pathological liar, it’s that it’s a really studied and fake thing to do, which has a lot of softer impacts on what they’re like as a coworker and employee.

    6. Little Lobster*

      I’m with you on this. This is so minor. Also, taking “What ELSE could be be lying about?!?!” from this feels so over-the-top to me. Everyone lies about little things. I lie pretty much any time anyone at work asks me how my weekend was.

      It just feels to me people here are looking for any reason to demonstrate that they would NEVER do these things, they are PERFECT and PERFECTLY ETHICAL workers, and the people in these letters are basically one bad lawyer away from the death penalty over things like this. It’s getting out of control!

      1. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

        But surely being interviewed is the opportunity for the candidate to shine as much as they can, and allowing themselves to be caught in not one but two unnecessary lies is demonstrating they are close to a moral gray area. I don’t think anybody, including LW, is saying don’t tell a white lie at work, often related to personal information that is not your coworkers’ business. An interview setting is different and there are reasonable quality expectations.

      2. Littorally*

        Or maybe some of us have firsthand experience with people who jump to “I never said that, I said something completely different” and know that they’re bad news.

        1. kitryan*

          This exactly. I have definitely had *that* friend and it is not good.
          With only their application materials and the interviews to go on, doubling down on a lie is not a good look when other applicants may have equally good or better materials and didn’t do this. Why risk them turning out to be someone who habitually operates this way when there are other good candidates?

      3. JimmyJab*

        To me, it is not minor to insist that you told the truth when caught in a lie (admittedly the initial lie was small). I’d think not lying in a JOB INTERVIEW is pretty basic, and actually, I don’t lie at work? I mean maybe I said someone’s baby was cute and didn’t really believe it, but I don’t lie to people’s faces about work stuff and then insist they misremembered when I get called out. That’s strange behavior in my experience.

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, that’s my take on it as well. I wouldn’t want to work with someone who constantly tells even inconsequential lies to make themselves look better, and then goes “I never said that, you must be misremembering” when they get caught out. I don’t much care if they’re pathological or habitual liars, or the sort of people who keep rewriting their life story in their heads and have problems separating fact from fiction, I can’t trust people like that, and I don’t want to work with people I can’t trust.

      4. Expelliarmus*

        I see what you mean in your first paragraph, but hard disagree on the second paragraph. Someone trying to cover up a lie (however innocuous it is) by essentially gaslighting the other party understandably sets off alarm bells for people, and rightfully so. A significant amount of people who do this in our society do it for nefarious purposes, so wondering if the interviewee’s lie is a sign of issues to come makes sense, based on the limited information available.

      5. Archaeopteryx*

        There’s been extensive discussion on the side that saying your weekend was fine when it wasn’t is not a lie. The point of that question is general acknowledgment and you are replying in kind, and it’s more within the spirit of that question to respond with a platitude rather than going into a long laborious list of things that were terrible about it. And no, not everyone lies all the time, even about minor things. People who do lie pretty frequently like to tell themselves that everyone does, but this is not the case.

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, that’s true. Although I hope that most people would be prepared to lie by omission to avoid hurting someone else’s feelings. People who are proud of always telling the truth are often quite unpleasant to be around, because they often say every uncharitable thought they have since they identify so strongly with their sincerity and honesty.

      6. Esmeralda*

        Nah. Especially since the interview committee all heard one thing. I don’t care how young and inexperienced you are, if a bunch of people who you want to impress all say to you, We’re wondering why you said X and could you talk about Y, your next step is not You are all of you wrong. But, Oh wow, that’s not what I meant! so sorry, what I meant was…

        And to keep insisting that you are right and the committee is wrong…

        I do understand why this might have happened and it could totally be, the candidate just had a brain fart /got scared/ didn’t know what to do. If I’ve got a bunch of good candidates, I may find this a way to narrow the pool. That’s how it goes.

        Or I may decide, this kid is kind of in a doofus-spiral. Let’s check their references about things like, speaking before thinking, admitting error, accepting responsibility for mistakes / blaming others as a first move, etc.

        We had something like this happen, where we asked How do you handle it when you make a mistake in X siutations? and the candidate said, I don’t make mistakes. And doubled/tripled down on it when we probed. Hiring manager liked the person otherwise, so the search committee asked that the reference check really push on this area of accepting responsibility, etc.

        1. Kevin Sours*

          One thing I want to emphasize is that if you did misspeak out of nervousness, your follow up needs to be entirely sincere. Responding with “what I meant was” is fine if every word that follows in the honest and complete truth. But this is not a moment to spin. If the honest answer is that your mouth momentarily disconnected from your brain it’s better to be upfront about that. (Hell even “I don’t remember saying that and I have no idea why I did because its not true, I’m really sorry about that” is better response than doubling down).

        2. marvin the paranoid android*

          I’m inclined to put it in the awkward gaffe category rather than the sinister category, personally. The fact that the power dynamic wasn’t in his favour and he was unlikely to come out of this looking good suggests to me that he was just flailing nervously, not using Jedi mind tricks on his interviewers.

          Although a lot really depends on nuance that we don’t have. If he came across as obnoxiously overconfident in general, that would definitely colour my impression.

        3. Feelings... nothing more than feelings*

          I need to know how this ended! What did the reference checker find? Was the candidate hired? If the candidate was hired, did they turn out to be someone who refuses to take responsibility, is oblivious to their own mistakes, blames others, etc.?

      7. Omnivalent*

        When you decide that everybody here is disagreeing with you only because they’re self-righteous, egotistical hypocrites, it might be time to step away from the site and take some deep breaths?

        1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

          To be fair, I’ve been accused repeatedly of being “self-righteous, egotistical hypocrites”, so Little Lobster may be onto something.

          Then again, this was someone who would later admit I was the opposite of that, so… \shrug/

      8. Allonge*

        What everyone said, plus: this is not about a value judgment on the interviewee’s entire life.

        OP wants to hire a person. There are more than one candidates. OP will have to not hire perfectly ok people anyway, for no better reason than there was an even more ok person. It’s really normal to not proceed with someone who is a question mark.

        1. ecnaseener*

          Yes. A lot of comments with the (understandable) reaction of “this doesn’t mean he’s a bad person, it might have been a weird fluke” – which, yep, in that case he can join the millions of people who made a dumb mistake in a job interview and didn’t get that job. No one’s blacklisting him from the industry, he’s just not an appealing candidate to this committee anymore.

      9. Humble Schoolmarm*

        I see there being an ethical difference between solicited and unsolicited lies. If someone asks you an uncomfortable question (such as asking you about your weekend or “Can you believe my ex? He refused to go buy me cheer up ice cream and magazines at midnight just because he has an exam in the morning!” – true story) When those interactions come up, I think it’s fine to answer the question in a way that gets you out of the situation without souring relationships or inviting weirdness (in your case, by saying fine even if it isn’t, in mine agreeing that she was well rid of him). This lie was unprompted, though and it seems like a bit of a suck up ploy. That, especially followed by the denial, is concerning.

        1. Feelings... nothing more than feelings*

          I hope that friend is less “it’s all about ME” with you than she was with her ex.

      10. Tali*

        I agree that removing someone from the candidate pool purely based on this is a little overkill in my opinion. It just seems like something so small to lie about, and I haven’t had any gaslighting coworkers to make me overly wary of this. But I do doubt that he is the strongest candidate if his final impression is one of general, vague, weirdness.

    7. Atlantic Toast Conference*

      I can’t help but wonder if what he meant was OP’s company was the first company he’d ever Zoom interviewed at, and that the company does a good job with Zoom interviews? Ie, he’s thinking of all his interviews with OP’s company under one umbrella, rather than as discrete experiences.

      In any case, what an odd turn of events!

      1. Myrin*

        That’s possible but in that case, that would be an excellent explanation to give when OP asked about it! The fact that he didn’t makes me think that this is not the case.

        1. quill*

          Yeah. Ultimately we can’t know if this is a case of “dude remembers what he *intended* to say, not what he actually said” or “dude has a poor memory of things he said in general” or “dude cannot stand Being Wrong ever so he’ll double down no matter how ludicrous it makes him.”

        2. marvin the paranoid android*

          I can definitely see myself absolutely failing to communicate something like this if I felt like I’d been caught in an unintentional lie. I think it’s plausible, but either way, he flubbed it.

    8. Allonge*

      Eh, I don’t know. OP says specifically they value honesty at this org – now, probably most places are not that into hiring dishonest people but there has to be a scale of how important honesty is.

      If honesty is important for the role, ‘I got flustered’ is not a very good excuse, especially not a double-down version. Especially if you volunteer false information in the first place. It’s just not a good fit, and OP has the right to make that call.

    9. Smithy*

      As someone who once lied in an interview, was instantly mortified and then withdrew from the process – my feeling with this often circles back to far more of the fight/flight nervous or anxious response.

      In my case, I had been working for a small organization and was on a team of 1. Looking back on what I did do alone with the resources available, I should have been far more confident in what I had achieved. But I was looking to get a job in larger places on bigger teams and really couldn’t place what I had done with what was necessarily being expected of me. There was one area of work where I didn’t have zero experience, but it wasn’t on my list of top ten focus areas.

      While I was honest about it being a low priority and addressed ad hoc, when asked how many I didn’t really have a clear number in mind. Fifteen sounded about right and then I heard myself say fifty. I was utterly terrified not just that it would ruin my chances with that job, but that they would fact check it with my references and then my references wouldn’t be my references anymore. Reflecting on all of it now, it just so clearly came from a place of being anxious and letting my issues of self doubt creep in.

      I withdrew from that process, and before other interviews really made it a priority to make sure I didn’t let myself get to that fight/flight place where talking well about myself risked turning into out n out lying. I get people making a big deal about this, but I think that so many of these types of lies really don’t come from places of integrity but rather one of fear.

      1. ecnaseener*

        I know this is too late to help you, but all you had to do was reach out to say “I think I misspoke earlier and said 50 instead of 15, so sorry about that!” No one would’ve held that against you. You didn’t need to withdraw!

        But regardless, the candidate in this letter neither corrected the record nor withdrew – he dug deeper in another lie.

        1. Smithy*

          To be fair – I’m not so sure.

          And in the same way that interviewers have limited information about interviewees, the same is true in reverse. It’s hard to know whether an interviewer is going to be sympathetic that when under the stress of an interview, mistakes happen and it’s how you correct them that’s important as opposed to someone else saying “she lies when nervous, she’ll do it when she works for us”.

          The follow up to that is certainly that you wouldn’t want to work for a place that would judge you that way, but again I do think this is where the power differential makes some younger professionals often less comfortable with being judged like that to begin with. Withdrawing was honestly a great lesson for me. as it made it clear what some of my negative coping mechanisms in interviews were (carelessness in speaking, exaggeration) and it felt like a very reasonable consequence.

          I say all of this with a lot of sympathy because I really don’t see these habits coming from places of widespread dishonesty or indicative of larger attempts at fraud. But in a context as limited as an interview, you only get a snapshot of who a person is. And when part of that snapshot is that poor, it can often feel easier to throw everything out and start over entirely. And I think that likely applies to both the OP and the applicant.

    10. Observer*

      but this feels like a slip of the tongue/memory to me. I would hate to found out that I lost out on a job because of this.

      You know what this makes me think of? Do you know that the DOJ and EEOC deal with retaliation cases far more often that actual discrimination cases? It’s extremely common for them to get a complaint of discrimination and retaliation where they throw out the discrimination case, but then go after the company for the retaliation. In other words, the behavior was fine, their response to someone bringing it up was NOT fine.

      Same here. Someone said something silly, no big deal. The response to bringing it up is where the real problem is.

      1. Candi*

        I remember one comment (not here, and anonymous forum over there, so grain of salt) by someone who said they were with the EEOC that the biggest problem with the discrimination cases are the lack of documentation; even a diary would help, since it would be the victim’s (or a witness’) recordings of what happened close to the time.

        But retaliation is much clearer and brighter, with situation B happening X amount of time after complaint A being very easy to track, the victim’s been informed of what to do if B or similar happens, and the retaliation is expected and watched for.

    11. BadApple*

      I do feel sort of icky about this as well because of the power dynamic involved in interviewing. Like, perhaps he said this random weird line, and just didn’t know how to respond when being confronted on it? Yes, he should have come clean but interviewing isn’t a “meeting of the minds” it’s one person offering their services towards an institution in order to support their livelihood (physical needs). He needs to be ethical, and if he’s using this as a cutesy little line then bleh, but it’s not a “fair” or “level” game.

  4. Littorally*

    I’d be completely okay at the first lie if he’d come clean about it when asked, but “I didn’t actually say the thing I said, what I said what completely different” is an immediate no-go from me.

    Anyone can mess up in the moment, and saying something weird is (as we see from Alison’s examples!) not uncommon. But what speaks to character is how someone handles messing up, and admitting to one’s flub and squaring it is a sign of integrity and self-confidence. Conversely, refusing to admit that you made a mistake and insisting that you did or said something different from what actually happened is a sign of bad things to come. At best, a revisionary memory; at worst, a fundamental dishonesty.

    1. Librarian of SHIELD*

      This is where I fall. The initial lie was weird, but there are a lot of ways he could have responded to OP’s follow up that could have fixed that. But he decided to go with a reply that makes him seem even less trustworthy, and that’s the bit I find disqualifying.

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      An initial weird sentence or two I think is okay. None of us are perfect, and we all have said that thing at some point in our professional lives that the next minute we mentally go “did I really just say that?!?” The big problem I have (and why I have no problem at all with them walking away from this candidate) is the attempt to lie their way out of what really is just one awkward sentence.

    3. Indoorsy*

      The second lie is just SO weird it makes me worry for him that he was totally misremembering (like he was thinking of a different interview or something) which would suck. But like Alison said, you have limited data points, and this is one soooo…

    4. allathian*

      Yeah, this is all about trust. I can’t trust a person with a revisionary memory any more than I can trust a fundamentally dishonest person, and I don’t want to work with people I can’t trust.

  5. PT*

    So I had a boss years ago who told me, whenever you give someone a reference, mention that they don’t interview well, especially if they’re someone on the more reserved side, so they will get a “boost”on however they did interview.

    I wonder if he was given it as a tip/pointer like, “Say it’s your first Zoom interview so they will hold you to a lower standard and give you more grace for any awkwardness.”

    1. WomEngineer*

      The Zoom thing initially sounds like the candidate was expressing their interest in the company. Still an odd thing to lie about (and double down on).

      I don’t like your manager’s advice though. I’m inclined to believe that would reflect negatively on the candidate, as the interviewer would anticipate a bad interview. To me it just creates unconscious bias on top of any other judgements/thoughts they have. Or the interviewer could say something encouraging that comes across as patronizing.

      (Actually, it *would* feel patronizing if someone I trusted as a reference said that about me!)

      It’s also untruthful. Aren’t you better off declining the reference than submitting a negative one?

      1. What Comes Next May Shock You*

        > … the interviewer would anticipate a bad interview.

        Do you typically review references before an interview? I’m used to them being one of the final steps, done before an offer, but I wouldn’t be shocked to hear it happens earlier in the process for some. Not shocked, just dismayed (I hate that part).

      2. Anonym*

        Yeah, I wouldn’t want someone “helping” me in this way. If I were the hiring manager and a reference said they were bad at interviews but they weren’t… I’d wonder if the reference was just thinking of someone else entirely. Don’t introduce confusion to a process. It’s hard enough already for the candidates (and the hiring managers).

    2. Expelliarmus*

      That’s possible, but if that was the case, admitting to that would have been significantly better (in my opinion) than trying to gaslight his interviewers.

    3. Indoorsy*

      When I was training as a waitress I made a few big mistakes (I think I spilled a whole drink on the floor, mixed up chicken for beef at another table). The customers seemed annoyed until I told them “I’m so sorry, it’s my second day!” Then they gave me a great tip. I eventually realized that the tables I made big mistakes and did my flustered eyelash batting apology for gave me the best tips.

      For the rest of my time there if I made a really big mistake I’d say it was my first day. I feel ethically not particularly awesome about it looking back now, but it always got me a big tip.

  6. BK*

    To me this is a bigger red flag than Alison is crediting it as because he didn’t say he misspoke or there was a miscommunication of some kind. He tried to gaslight the interviewer, it sounds like somewhat forcefully. I have been in enough conversations with people like this that it’s one of a few character traits I would find it impossible to work with so I absolutely would have removed this guy from consideration.

    1. Oakenfield*

      I actually searched the comments for “gaslight”.
      F*ck gaslighters. OP did the right thing.

    2. Despachito*

      I think LW absolutely did the right thing to remove him from the candidates’ pool.

      Red flag 1 – as it was already mentioned, he was not prompted to say anything about his FIRST time (wouldn’t a “I am really not used to online interviewing and I am very nervous” do the same job?) And I also think he was very much aware of its endearing aspect.

      Red flag 2 – he was lying about an easily verifiable thing and must have known that – did he really think that if he was interviewing WITHIN THE SAME COMPANY, it was impossible that this info would leak through? (Not that lying less blatantly would be a good thing but this is outright stupid)

      Red flag 3, the biggest one: the gaslighting. I find this absolutely infuriating, manipulative technique which is likely to harm his relationship with his boss, his coworkers and his potential clients, with a bonus of them feeling stupid for a while before they discover it.

      Whatever he did that for, I cannot think of any mitigating circumstances. Good riddance!

      Red And the circumstances are also very weird – as it was already

      1. Expelliarmus*

        In my most charitable interpretation, the first two red flags are yellow flags because, as some people have mentioned here, sometimes we say weird things under stress that maybe didn’t even need to be said at all! But the gaslighting is unequivocally problematic.

      2. NotJane*

        I’m surprised more people aren’t mentioning point #2. Not only was he interviewing for another position at OP’s company, but he was “in negotiations” for that position. Does no one else find it strange he wouldn’t mention that? It seems like relevant info that someone in OP’s position would want to know.

        But also, that makes it not only possible, but likely, that his lie would be discovered. I mean, it sounds like he was also OP’s top choice. If OP hadn’t learned about it “through the grapevine” (potentially a big “if”) she would have if/when she offered him the teapot assembly position, and HR or whoever was like, “Uh, that guy is currently in negotiations for the teapot painting position.”

        And I can’t help but think that all these things – meaning, the candidate’s actions – are somehow related in ways that say nothing good about his character or motives. Because, as I was reading through the post, I thought the most obvious explanation for the lie would be that his interviews, plural, with the company were his first Zoom interviews, and the fact that everyone, across multiple departments, were “so organized and relaxed” put him at ease. Not great, but plausible.

        But the fact that he lied a second time when confronted with his first lie? Why would he do that? I have to think it’s because he didn’t want OP to know that he was already offered a position in another department, and he’s either too stupid or arrogant to realize that OP would eventually find out one way or another. Which, again, says nothing good about the way he operates.

        Personally, my take is that he was drawing out negotiations for job #1 until he saw where it went with job #2 (on OP’s team), because he wanted to keep his options open, see which offer or position was better, and/or keep #1 as a backup plan in case #2 didn’t work out.

    3. Gerry Keay*

      Yup, I had a boss once pull the whole “No, I actually told you the opposite of what you think and it worries me you don’t remember our conversation” on me, and luckily I had coworkers to back me up and remind me that I wasn’t, in fact, crazy, and he was definitely lying to cover his own ass.

      Later on, he saw the writing on the wall that he was going to be fired, so he put in a complaint to the Dept of Buildings and then claimed the firing was retaliation for that and sued for wrongful termination. Red flag is right.

    4. What Comes Next May Shock You*

      Please be careful with the term “gaslight.” It wasn’t meant to convey mistruths or lying in a general sense, but rather a systemic one. It’s reflective of a pattern of behavior as well as deliberate malicious intention.

      I say this mainly because watering down gaslighting really diminishes the depths to which this form of emotional abuse can go, and trivializes the behavior as something people do all the time just to be mean or protect themselves. It’s the pattern that makes it so dangerous — repetition is one of the ways humans confirm their observations, so the gaslighting overrides natural instinct and wears away one’s self-image, leaving behind mostly what the abuser is substituting.

      Anyway. The guy might be in denial, he might be trying to lie his way through the interview, but he can’t have been gaslighting.

      1. Mich*

        Yeaaaah this is really a completely mundane interview blunder. I think using the term “gaslight” here and even making broader judgements about the person’s character is taking it way too far.

      2. Gerry Keay*

        Ya know I actually think when lying crossing into trying to convince a person that their perception of reality is wrong, it errs into that gaslighting behavior. I think his behavior is way more of a red flag than a garden variety lie, and it’s helpful to name what this behavior can turn into when repeated. While this single instance doesn’t rise to “he is gaslighting,” if he was hired and continued this behavior, it definitely could turn into that.

        1. Smithy*

          I think the reason for the pushback against gaslighting is specifically because there isn’t a pattern.

          While this is a market that favors employees right how, it’s still a historic system that overwhelmingly favors employers and those types of power differentials make people nervous and very inclined to resort to poor coping mechanisms and face saving. Embellishing/Lying being at the very top of that list of poor coping mechanisms. In my field, goodness knows how many people have kept language skills on their resume that were side eye worthy right after their last grad school class of the language, and here was are fifteen years later…..

        2. 4th of july gave the whole town tinnitus*

          it’s helpful to name what this behavior can turn into when repeated


          The LW who asked about her sister’s salary said her mom told her she shouldn’t have asked. If her mom criticizes her every time she talks, that would be a pattern of emotional abuse. Is it helpful to say this anecdote is a sign of emotional abuse?

          Take the LW with the friend who wrote an overly-long cover letter. If sufficiently repeated, this behavior could turn into hypergraphia, which is associated with temporal lobe epilepsy. Is it helpful to say the cover letter is a red flag for temporal lobe epilepsy?

          There are all kinds of serious personal problems that boil down to “something normal, repeated way too much.” Repetition really isn’t incidental to the definition of gaslighting.

      3. Analytical Tree Hugger*


        Yes, thank you! Words lose their power if we use them incorrectly. Gaslighting is a pattern of behavior.

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, a single occurrence isn’t a pattern, but it’s still enough of a red flag to take this candidate out of the pool.

      4. Candi*

        Gaslighting may be a pattern, but a pattern has to begin at some point. This reads like the first step in such a pattern. Calling it gaslighting, as meaning the first step of trying to establish the pattern of gaslighting, isn’t wrong.

    5. Hippo-nony-potomus*

      Agree. I know people who lie and rewrite history like this, and that’s always the tip of the iceberg. Everything that follows is such a horror show. Surely you have other candidates who don’t lie about something verifiable, then double down when caught?

    6. marvin the paranoid android*

      I’d be hesitant to call this gaslighting, because that implies a degree of power or control that he didn’t have in this scenario. If the interviewer were lying about things the candidate said, to me that would be a much bigger issue.

      1. Candi*

        One of the uses of gaslighting is to gain control and power -the was the point in the original Ingrid Bergman movie, to have her involuntarily committed so he could gain control of her wealth.

  7. lyonite*

    To me, what matters here is that the initial lie was entirely unprompted. You didn’t ask him if he had done a Zoom interview before, or commented on his nervousness or lack thereof and he panicked in the moment–he came up with it out of the blue. And the fact that what he said was endearing to you was maybe not entirely unintentional. I wouldn’t have said it was a disastrous decision if you had decided to go ahead with him, but combined with the doubling down, I don’t think dropping him at this point is at all unreasonable.

    1. EPLawyer*

      Yeah he was trying to seem endearing. Then when caught, he double downed.

      This is someone who will try to schmooze over his work product, then when given constructive criticism become defensive and turn it back on you.

      It’s not about the lie. It’s about how he handles situations.

      1. Pool Lounger*

        This is what I thought—he was saying this to flatter them and sound endearing. This apparently wasn’t a lie in response to a question, it was a comment the candidate made without prompting. I wonder if the candidate has used the same line on other interviewers.

      2. Lacey*

        Yup. I’ve worked with one of those. Charmed everyone the first year he was there, but by the time he left only the company owner (who rarely worked with him) had anything nice to say about him.

    2. Person from the Resume*

      This is what I thought too. He’s quite possibly a charming liar who you will be glad not to work with.

      That initial unprompted lie was designed to give himself an edge (it’s my first zoom interview ever) combined with a nice and memorable compliment to your team. Charming but when caught in the lie he denied it to the extent of trying to make you doubt your own memory rather than falling back on something like “I was nervous and really misspoke.”

      I think this is probably a bullet dodged.

    3. Isben Takes Tea*

      This–it wasn’t that it was a panic response, or a whoops. It was an intentional statement, and one that was designed to paint himself in a favorable light (whether to make the interviewer give him more slack, or to make the interviewers feel better about themselves). It’s manipulative, and would make me extremely uncomfortable.

      1. Expelliarmus*

        Maybe it was bad advice he got from somewhere? I’m still on the fence as to whether this aspect is a problem; to me the fact that he tried to double down on the lie later by attempting to make the interviewers forget what he really said first is the worse issue.

        1. Humble Schoolmarm*

          I agree. I think the initial statement was a bit manipulative, but there is all kinds of odd and weird advice out there. The second lie is the absolute nail in the coffin, although even if it wasn’t, I might still be doing some digging with the reference checks to see if he regularly tries to charm his way out of things at work.

    4. Allonge*

      Yes. And as an unprompted statement it’s especially stupid: you can easily say ‘I have not had many Zoom interviews’ and achieve the same effect.

  8. Mitsuko*

    Yeah, I would have not hired this person either if I had a strong alternative. I do understand that it might just be an interview stress-thing, but I’ve managed enough people who were ok with editing the truth (and insisting on their version no matter what – to the extent that it looked like they convinced themselves of their own lie) to know that this kind of person can be a nightmare to manage.

    1. tangerineRose*

      Yes, this. I can sort of picture him saying something like this at an interview under stress and then wondering why he said it and then when asked about it just blurted something out because he didn’t know what to say. So maybe this was an innocent thing.

      However, it seems equally likely that he said the thing about this being his first zoom call to endear himself and then when caught in a lie, doubled down. That’s not someone you want working for you.

  9. tiny*

    I think some ways of doubling down would bother me less than “no, you remember that interaction vastly wrong”. Even if it was a panic response, I REALLY don’t want to risk working with someone who rewrites history like that.

    1. Betty*

      Yeah, I could maybe see a “oh, you misunderstood me, I meant you were the first interview I had that was so organized and relaxed– I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear” But “no, I definitely said the opposite” is eyebrow raising,

      1. RagingADHD*

        And the OP clarified in a comment that they asked the follow up question in an email. So the candidate had plenty of opportunity to make up a much more plausible explanation, and just didn’t bother.

  10. Elenna*

    I’m reminded of the recent Captain Awkward letter where someone was talking to new neighbors and randomly claimed that they didn’t have fish when there were actually obvious fish tanks on their balcony, or something like that, and then wrote to Captain Awkward like “omg why did I say that, how do I recover, help”.

    So yeah, they could definitely just be mortified and unsure what to do. But they could easily also be a habitual liar. Given that you don’t really have any way of knowing, and you presumably have other good candidates, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for you to drop him from your candidate list.

    1. Alexis Rosay*

      Yeah, exactly. Sadly I can see myself doubling down on an inadvertent lie just from sheer mortification, but I would not blame anyone for judging me for it. They would have no way in this situation of knowing if it reflects my character or not.

    2. Nanani*

      I was just checking if anyone linked that!
      It could be a similar awkward situation, perhaps combined with mixing up two different interviews?
      More information is definitely needed. I’d say yellow flag.

    3. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      I haven’t read the CA letter but my probably wrong first impression is that the neighbor was trying to “bond” over pet fish because they saw the tank, and the letter writer — not wanting to have a shared “thing” with a stranger, just tried to pretend that they don’t have fish, ie.: “nope, we are not simpatico… I do not want to have any conversations about my fish…because I …don’t have fish…please move along” because that might be my awkward immediate response too.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        I read the letter and if memory serves, it was more along the lines of:

        “I got really into keeping fish during the pandemic. I now have a fish tank in every room in my house and one on the balcony and am totally ‘that strange fish person.’ New neighbors moved in and casually asked about the fish tank on my balcony and I said ‘nope, I don’t have fish’ so they don’t know how totally obsessed with fish I am… but I clearly have fish and now my neighbors think I’m a liar. Help.”

        So not about trying to keep the neighbors emotionally distant, more about trying to downplay the levels of their fish hobby.

        1. Xenia*

          That was my impression too! Less “go away” and more “I do NOT want to be known as the crazy fish lady so I’m going to stick my foot in my mouth instead”

            1. Hlao-roo*

              The person who wrote to Captain Awkward fully realized how ridiculous they had been and they were asking for advice on how to move forward with their neighbors after lying about something easily observable.

  11. Salad Daisy*

    If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember what lies you said. I think Judge Judy says something like that.

    1. tangerineRose*

      I think Mark Twain said something similar “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

    2. NotJane*

      JJ’s line is, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to have a good memory.”

      And also, somewhat related, “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.”

      (Yes, I love Judge Judy, and, no, I’m not ashamed to admit it.)

      1. Salad Daisy*

        Actually I like Judge Milian better. She and her husband are so cute!

        Judge Judy can be kinda shrill.

        1. Candi*

          Judge Judy is way past zenith, while Milian still is on the ascendant.

          Milian has a rapid-fire way of questioning she uses when people are telling their stories -and it’s frequently clear which pauses are for rearranging thoughts or in surprise at being questioned, and which are the people trying to remember the lies they told.

          I think one of the worst was a gorgeous custom prom dress where several seams ripped during the dance. The maker tried to claim it was because she gained weight (no bueno so much), but the father and daughter had already proven she’d been to her last fitting the day before the dance, and Milian pointed out it shouldn’t have ripped anyway, not to that degree. (They brought the dress into the courtroom.) That was after several rounds of the maker trying to dodge responsibility for his dress ripping at least four inches straight up two seams.

          1. New But Not New*

            BTW all of the judges are good at parsing out liars. Nothing wrong with being an OG, Judge Judy is not hardly “past zenith” whatever that means. Casual ageism rears it’s ugly head on this site yet again.

    3. Nanani*

      “The truth is easier to remember” comes to mind but I have no idea where I first read or heard that.

    1. Littorally*

      The OP was adding additional detail in the comments but I don’t believe we’ve had a follow-up yet. I’m hopeful for the upcoming update season!

    2. Prefer my pets*

      I was just coming to ask the same thing! If not, can we please add it to the update request pile?

  12. cmc*

    My take on it was that he was being manipulative. Finding something that would make him stand out in your memory (who has never done a Zoom meeting at this point?) and would endear him to you. Then when caught, he gaslighted you as someone else mentioned. Maybe not a big deal in the scheme of things, but I would find it at least off-putting.

    1. Littorally*

      That possibility — that the original Zoom lie was deliberate, not a flub — had occurred to me, but I’m not wholly sure it matters in the grand scheme of things. That it was false is proven; the motivations for it are unprovable. I figure, he could be trying to stand out, he could be trying to mount a preemptive defense for any perceived shortcomings in his interview (“Ah, I’ll cut the guy some slack, it’s his first time on Zoom!”), or he could have just blurted out something wild in the moment. I imagine the OP will never find out for sure.

    2. Bucky Barnes*

      I actually haven’t ever been on a Zoom meeting or used any of those types of platforms except WebEx.

      1. Candi*

        I’ve been in Zoom classes, and meetings with my (awesome) advisor, but I sincerely doubt they’re all that similar to interviews and work meetings.

    3. cmcinnyc*

      Another cmc coming here to say I would ask the other interviewers if he used the exact same line on them!

  13. Nope*

    Sure it was a weird thing to lie about, but I think it was weirder for OP to ask about it for clarification.

    1. Presea*

      I disagree. When you’re interviewing, you’re trying to get a grasp on how someone ticks… if you have reason to believe they lied to your face, that’s a red flag about their entire candidacy, its extremely reasonable to ask for clarification. Not to mention, literally any answer the candidate could have possibly given would have a lot of extremely valuable insight into how they operate, as it did here.

      1. tangerineRose*

        Yeah, when someone lies to you like that and such an unnecessary lie, it seems important to check it out.

    2. Momma Bear*

      I do think that was weird. Would OP have cared if they didn’t have this outside knowledge about his interviewing?

      1. Despachito*

        But she DID have it, and it makes all the difference.

        Actually, I think that asking him about it was a kindness to him, as opposed to removing his candidacy immediately – it was well possible that he would come up with a honest and believable clarification.

        If I interviewed and something in my presentation sounded weird to the interviewer, I would like them to give me a chance to clarify.

      2. RagingADHD*

        You mean…if they didn’t know he lied, would they care that he lied?

        How does that work, exactly? How does someone care about things they have no idea exist?

        Of course they care. He would just get away with it because they had no opportunity to screen him out until he started pulling the same crap on the job.

    3. mlem*

      Why? Because you don’t think they should dig into a blatant discrepancy, or because you don’t think they should’ve given the candidate a chance to clean it up?

    4. earl grey aficionado*

      Why do you think it’s weird, if you don’t mind elaborating? To me it seems much kinder to give the candidate a chance to correct themselves, but I’m also someone who errs on the side of over-communicating about these things, so I’m always curious what people who feel differently think.

    5. Allonge*

      Nah. ‘Honesty is an integral part of our position’. This is not a negligible issue, they had to follow up.

    6. Escapee from Corporate Management*

      For those saying this is a minor issue or it’s weird to follow-up on this? That’s not how hiring for a professional job works. In fact, I’m wondering how many of these commentators saying this have been part of a hiring team. I’ve helped hire several hundred candidates, almost always as part of a group of interviewers. These groups sometimes focused on minor issues (e.g., candidate mispronounced a scientific term) that are not relevant to the job. But catching a candidate in a lie? And then having them double down in this way? Every one of the these interview groups–across multiple companies–would focus on this. And not in a good way. Given the limited information you have a candidate, this behavior would almost certainly lead to rejecting the candidate and no one would think that was weird.

    7. OP*

      Hello, OP here. If it helps, we asked for the clarification as part of a post-interview debrief email, so the candidate wasn’t put on the spot for a quick response to our inquiry (and another possible impulsive lie). We worded it by saying “You had mentioned at the end that it was your first zoom interview, but based on the (other office) hiring timeline we may have misheard you. Can you elaborate on what you meant by that?” He wrote back less than 5 minutes later saying he’d said the opposite of what we’d heard.

      1. tangerineRose*

        Good for you for not putting him on the spot. I think you may have dodged a bullet there. I guess it’s possible that he fumbled the first time and then didn’t know what to say when you followed up, but it seems at least as likely that he may be a manipulative liar.

      2. Former Usher*

        Thank you for giving the candidate a chance to explain, and for not putting him on the spot. It’s too bad he didn’t make better use of this opportunity to correct his mistake.

      3. Escapee from Corporate Management*

        That’s even worse. He had time (which he didn’t use) to put together a reasonable explanation. Instead, he responded very quickly with another falsehood. And did so IN WRITING!

        Kids, this is not the way to get hired.

        1. Kevin Sours*

          He didn’t even need a reasonable explanation, just an honest response. “I have no idea why I said that, it just came up in the moment and I was hoping it passed unnoticed” said with some sincerity would have probably been sufficient.

      4. Tuesday*

        That’s an interesting part of the story. I was thinking that being put on the spot may have made him embarrassed or nervous enough to say something else stupid. But the fact that he had time to think about his answer makes it seem that much weirder and less like a one-off thing.

      5. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Oooh — that puts me solidly on the side of “can’t hire.” I was already pretty much there (as I said in the post, when you have limited data, you have to go with what you see, and what you saw was someone doubling down on a lie, even if the lie was weird and random) but this makes it seem like much worse judgment and a clear comfort with lying.

      6. Double A*

        Ok so I may be alone in this, but I actually think the fact that the follow up was in writing means there are more possibilities for misunderstanding here. The fact that he wrote back quickly means he could have misread the email or missed a few words in his response. For instance, the difference between writing, “What I said” and “What I meant” completely changes the meaning. Now, rushing through an important email and communicating unclearly might be a deal breaker of its own, but I do think a miscommunication in writing is even more likely than in person.

        This depends on what he actually said in the email. I’m a bit confused by how he claimed the “opposite” of “This is my first zoom interview.” Did he write, “Oh no, what I said was that I’ve had a lot of Zoom interviews” (which would be the opposite of what he said). Did he say, “I never said that”?

        Basically…if you otherwise really liked this guy, I would say it’s worth picking up the phone and having a clarifying conversation. But this, at best, a case of poor communication on his part and it makes sense if that’s enough to pass him over, even if there’s a possibility he’s not lying and/or lying about lying.

        1. ecnaseener*

          The letter itself clarifies that the candidate claimed to have said he always does zoom interviews these days and never in-person. That’s the opposite part. Not something that could’ve just been misheard.

      7. ecnaseener*

        OOOH yes the fact that the second lie was over email makes a big difference.

        Since it was such a quick response, it’s still possible this was a freakout-induced lie, but you can’t have someone on your team who does that instead of taking another 10 minutes to calm down and make a better decision.

        1. Candi*

          Yeah. A blood-and-fire emergency needs to be taken care of right now, but most emergencies you can usually take two minutes for a deep breath and shaking out your thoughts so they settle in a more discernable pattern.

          Replying to a “hey, this is odd, something happen” email like OP sent is something you can let sit for an hour or two if need be.

      8. marvin the paranoid android*

        As the veteran of many weird verbal miscommunications, I was willing to give this guy the benefit of the doubt as majorly awkward/nervous, but this being in writing tips the scales against that. If anything, I’m more fascinated by why he thought he could possibly get away with it.

      9. Uncivil Servant*

        So, he said something in an interview that you later realizdd could not possibly be true. You send an email asking for clarification, and he replies by explaining that he did not say what you thought he had said, and his explanation in the email fits the known facts?

        I am confused. Genuinely confused. Are you sure that you did not mishear him the first time? I’m just saying, as someone who is deaf in one ear, this is a really really really common thing. In my experience it is orders of magnitude more common than someone telling a lie and then immediately telling the truth.

        Just FYI, a while back in a meeting at a new job after being hired, I mentioned that I had recently moved back to state A after living in state B for a few years. State A is where my current job is, and it is where I grew up. Somehow despite explaining this, the message that a bunch of my coworkers heard was that I was from state B.

        Thank God I didn’t get fired for “lying” about my job history.

    8. Kevin Sours*

      The interview is the start of the working relationship. If you lie to me in the interview, you’ll lie to me when I’m managing you. It’s not the least weird to dig into it and see how the candidate responds. People say stupid shit under pressure. It’s not great but it happens. Failure to own it is a big problem. Even if it’s doubling down out of mortification (but also calls into question whether it was an honest mistake in the first place).

      1. Esmeralda*

        Right. Are you the kind of person who will acknowledge your mistakes? or are you the kind of person who lies about them?

        And to lie about such a small thing (I mean, the emailed response that he said the opposite, not the initial blooper)…even if it was an I’m-panicking-lie, this says to me: doesn’t stop to think, and, the first thing out of this person’s mouth will be a lie and I can’t trust him/can’t trust that he will be honest when I’m not listening and don’t have additional info.

        1. londonedit*

          Exactly. I’ve worked with people who refuse to admit when they’re wrong, or refuse to admit that they’ve messed something up – whenever something goes wrong it’s ‘Oh, Fergus must have given me the wrong information’ or ‘I wasn’t told to do that’ when you know full well that’s not true. There’s absolutely no sense of accountability with these people and it makes it hard to trust them to actually do their job properly and in a way that will support the rest of the team. I’m not really bothered that this guy made a silly comment in the interview – we’ve all said something and then had our brain catch up two seconds later and realise we’ve somehow gone off-piste. But the fact that when he was asked about it he defaulted to ‘Oh no that’s not what I said’ makes me think he’s going to be one of those people who never admits to their mistakes.

  14. Hiring Mgr*

    If someone said that to me, I’d assume they were making a joke given how ubiquitous Zoom is now. I wonder if he did this because he wasn’t sure if he’s supposed to mention that he’s already interviewing elsewhere in the company?

    I wouldn’t move him along for your role, but it sounds like he may be a finalist for another job there –

  15. Presea*

    Even if the doubling down in the second call was a second panic/nerve response… it’s extremely reasonable to not want to work with someone who’s panic response is to try to rewrite history and tell you you’re wrong. What will he do in other situations, if this is how he acts at what’s supposed to be his most put together and polished?

    1. I’d Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      And also….it’s all the info you’ve got. At a certain point, hiring is about making assumptions — you can’t always know for sure and sometimes you err on the side of caution.

    2. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

      +1. I am dealing with an employee who showed yellow flags in the interview process and we hired them anyway. Every one of those yellow flags is manifesting at work and now it’s my problem. LW made the absolute right choice.

    3. tangerineRose*

      “it’s extremely reasonable to not want to work with someone who’s panic response is to try to rewrite history and tell you you’re wrong” This!

    4. Candi*

      I can get someone having the impulse in their head -been there. It’s letting it out and be a thing he does that’s the problem.

  16. breamworthy*

    The lying can maybe be excused as nerves, but the gaslighting brings up real concerns for me. I think that in the absence of a lot of other information you don’t have access to around gender and power dynamics in his previous work relationships, you made the best decision.

    1. Lacey*

      Yeah, someone stupidly saying something untrue, meh. I have totally accidentally lied to someone before and felt it was too trivial to correct – like telling my husband I took out the trash before work, but I actually forgot and did it after. It’s a memory lapse, it effects nothing.

      But, if my husband came home before me one day and said, “I thought you said you took the trash out?” it would be wild for me to say, “No, you misunderstood me, I said I would do it later!” instead of just saying, “Yeah, I meant to and forgot that I hadn’t actually done it”

  17. Poker Face*

    If someone is going to lie…they really need to do a better job of lying well.

    How easy it would’ve been for this candidate to say “Oh, I must have mispoke. I meant to say, no matter how many Zoom meetings I do, they always feel like the first time and I just really did appreciate the organization of the panel which helped me feel relaxed and that it wasn’t my first Zoom interview!”

    Still shady, but much more palatable. This guy is a liar, and not a good one. Pink flag at best, and provided there are other strong candidates, would definitely opt out on him.

    1. Budgie Buddy*

      Right??? Doubling down in such an obvious way is such a rookie mistake, especially when all the power is on the other side. Even I, a chronically literal person who overshares rather then tell a white lie, know that.

      Also mega cringe points to the candidate for adapting the “It’s my first time / you’re the best I’ve ever had!” spiel to the job interview circuit. Boooo get some new material!

    2. Candi*

      The OP posted elsewhere that the question about wait, they’re interviewing in other parts of the company, and the candidate’s reply were by email. The guy could probably have come up with something like this if he’d taken more than ten minutes to reply!

  18. Tobias Funke*

    I am old enough to remember when gaslighting meant a sustained campaign to make someone question their own reality in order to control and manipulate them. Someone who appears to be just run of the mill full of shit over the course of two (2) interactions doesn’t meet that threshold.

    1. Despachito*

      I understand that it does not necessarily have to be sustained (that it is basically lying to your face that what you see with your own eyes is not real), and anyway, he did not have any chance to MAKE it sustained during the interview.

      1. Tobias Funke*

        Going through the comments, it becomes clear I am in the minority on this. But I feel like nuance is important, and calling someone a full on psychological terrorist when he may just be a run of the mill bullshit artist or someone who talks out of their ass without thinking (or any number of other explanations) is doing a disservice to both folks who has been tormented by a gaslighter and to our understanding of the concept. I am in no way saying hire the guy. But it wouldn’t kill us to tap the brakes on gaslighter.

        1. A New CV*

          I see what you mean, for sure. If we label a run of the mill dishonest jerk a gaslighter, it makes it harder for those who have never experienced a real gaslighting to see how prolonged, invasive and deliberate that form of abuse is. There is a difference between walking away from/ not hiring a liar and getting away from an abuser who uses gaslighting. All we know about this guy is that he’s a liar.

        2. Escapee from Corporate Management*

          Bearing in mind that being a run-of-the-mill bullshit artist or someone who talks out out of their ass without thinking is sufficient rationale to decide not to hire the person.

        3. Despachito*

          Fair enough. I think I get where you are coming from.

          What we saw here was ONE INSTANCE of what might or might not be a pattern. However, given that when interviewing you only have a short time slot to impress, the interviewer necessarily has to extrapolate, and I think that the behaviour of the candidate looked quite like what would a gaslighter do.

          Of course – and you are right to say that – this also can be a one-instance brain fart, who knows? But the interviewer does not have time or resources to investigate this, and it would seem logical to me that if they see anything they consider a red flag, they have to go with their gut feeling and just not hire the person because it is not worth risking that it IS a pattern (but we don’t disagree on this one).

        4. James*

          I agree that armchair psychoanalysis is bad, especially when you’re not trained. I frankly don’t care why teh guy did it. The fact that he lied, then doubled down, is sufficient–not someone I want on my team. Anything more than that is overboard.

        5. marvin the paranoid android*

          I’m with you on this one. I think it’s possibly more useful to think of gaslighting more as an effect than an action. If it leads you or others around you to doubt your own perceptions and judgment, that’s a very different experience than your garden variety BS.

    2. RagingADHD*

      I must be old, too. Just telling lies isn’t gaslighting.

      Gaslighting also involves attacking the person’s own self-concept and either accusing them or leading them to believe they are irrational and unstable. This isn’t that.

    3. Meep*

      As someone who has been gaslit to the point I don’t remember all of Summer 2020, I agree it is a bit much. I think the guy’s choices were questionable and he doesn’t deserve the job over them, but the way people want him striped, beaten, and hung in the streets by his balls is a bit too much.

      1. RagingADHD*

        It’s a weird split between “this is the worst thing ever, he’s a psychopath” and “this is totally fine! You’re the weird one for caring! Even if he was totally lying, what difference does it make?”

        It’s shady, and I wouldn’t hire him either because I wouldn’t want to manage someone that I constantly have to check whether they really did what they said or were just covering their butt.

        But then again, I don’t think declining to hire someone is the worst thing in the world, so it doesn’t need a whole lot of justification.

    4. Tuesday*

      I’m with you. We don’t always have to use the most extreme word to describe something. Black and white thinking leads to poorer communication.

    5. Feelings... nothing more than feelings*

      And I am old enough to remember when the word “literally” meant something actually happened. I tried to remind people not to use “literally” when they meant “figuratively”. However, that was a losing battle. As CNN reported, “Gizmodo has discovered Google’s definition for literally includes this: Used to acknowledge that something is not literally true but is used for emphasis or to express strong feeling.” Merriam-Webster and Cambridge dictionaries have also added the new definition for the word “literally”.

      I’m pretty sure we are going to see something similar happen with the word “gaslighting”, where it will come to mean someone trying to confuse people even a single time.

    6. Batgirl*

      But one of the things that make gaslighting so difficult to spot and defend against is that each isolated incident seems like nothing. You rarely believe the first attempt and tend to think “Oh he’s just bullshitting/mistaken/freaked out”. I wouldn’t say the interview panel were successfully gaslighted, obviously, because it takes a sustained amount of time. As someone who was successfully gaslighted, I would a bit cheesed off if the impact on the panel was described as such, or compared to the impact on someone like myself. But I do get all the red flags from someone who goes straight to “Oh no, I said the complete opposite thing to what you think I said”. For that reason I don’t have a problem with the term being part of the discussion.

    7. Candi*

      The pattern of gaslighting has to start to become a pattern. This was likely this guy’s start, and if he’d been hired, he may have continued.

  19. Cal B*

    Sometimes nerves can do very strange things to people. It is a very odd thing to do, however if we give the candidate the benefit of the doubt, we could assume that his interview with the OTHER department was his first and it all went well and he ended with that speel and it was received well. He may have then used it again/repeated it without thinking it through. His sentiment might have been that you guys made it really easy for him, however he inadvertently copied the first few words as well. He may not even realise what he said if he was nervous

  20. anon345*

    Having the instinct to lie in situations like this gives you valuable information about the person’s integrity. Sure, interview nervousness probably played a role, but what’s going to happen the next time the person is nervous? They might lie again. Especially since this isn’t a situation where the person was being pressured for information–they could have said nothing, and they volunteered a lie.

    So yeah. That would be a black mark for me too, even though I consider lying morally fine in some situations.

  21. Ellen*

    Devil’s Advocate here – Is it possible that he never lied and didn’t misspeak, but that there was a tech issue? Like, if he said “This *isn’t* my first zoom interview, and I was so nervous because of the format before this interview. Thanks for making it great experience. This is a new way of interviewing for me, so I appreciate it.”

    If there was a computerfutz on the word *isn’t*, that drastically changes the meaning and implications of his statements. But, including the *isn’t*, his first statement would be consistent with his second: he always interviews over zoom *these days*, and it makes him nervous, but he’s not a complete neophyte.

      1. Loulou*

        It does make sense — the implication is that because the speaker has had other zoom interviews before (where something went wrong or could have) they were nervous about the format and pleasantly surprised this one was fine.

    1. Presea*

      Assuming OP is reasonably close to the candidate’s exact words, this statement seems so clear-cut that it’s really hard to believe that technical issues would have interfered with the delivery. And even if the candidate genuinely did mean to say that it wasn’t their first zoom interview… doubling down defensively the way they did and not giving the benefit of the doubt on having misheard/misinterpreted/misremembered is still a weird look.

    2. RagingADHD*

      Except in the follow up conversation he claims to have said a whole bunch of other stuff that clearly wouldn’t fit into this carefully constructed scenario.

      And except for the fact that computer “futzes” are noticeable to the person watching and listening.

      And except for the fact that people who were misunderstood tend to be confused about the situation, rather than flatly telling the other person they remembered it wrong. A person who was misunderstood is more likely to say something like, “What? I can’t imagine why I would say something like that, I think I must have misspoken. I’m sorry if I gave you that impression, it wasn’t what I meant at all.”

      Rather than, “Nope, I said this totally different thing which I remember with perfect clarity.”

      But other than that, sure. Coulda happened.

    3. Meep*

      I sometimes have a habit of mixing up my words. I could see trying to say “Before the pandemic started, I hadn’t interviewed with Zoom before” and getting tongue-tied and saying “I hadn’t interviewed via Zoom before.” and just being too embarrassed to correct it even when prompted.

      In my comment below I could even see him think that the remark was so insignificant that he completely forgot he said it. I could also see him trying to cover up the fact he was interviewing elsewhere because he was afraid to hurt his chances.

      There are a dozen subconscious reasons for why he told the first lie and another dozen for why he doubled down. As innocent as I think it is from having to play ball with actual pathological liars on a daily basis, it was a big deal to OP. They may be overreacting or they may not be, but he will end up exactly where he is meant to, regardless of that.

    4. Candi*

      Zoom meetings can be recorded by host, and I’d expect them to record them as part of record-keeping. (“No, EEOC, we didn’t not softball X candidate who has [quality] while hardballing all the candidates who weren’t [quality].”)

      Recordings make it easy to check if there was a glitch. And I’m pretty sure after they got the candidate’s email (OP posted elsewhere the question about his other Zoom interviews as asked via email), they double-checked, just to be sure.

      1. Chalk Dusted Facsimile*

        The Fortune 500 I work for definitely doesn’t record interviews by default. Someone who was conspiratorial might argue that said evidence would be discoverable and make genuine cases easier to prove; and while the company certainly tries to train interviewing staff to recognize and avoid bias, that isn’t to say they want to make it easy to make a case against them when that training isn’t followed.

  22. Almost Empty Nester*

    Not only would I have removed him from contention for my open position, I’d have alerted the other team he was interviewing with. It seems HIGHLY likely that he was trying to be charming and endearing, and when he got caught tried to gaslight you. I would have definitely shared that with the other team. A candidate has such a small window to create an impression, and the one he created is not flattering!

  23. Casey*

    Yeah no, maybe I’m cynical because I work with a lot of schmoozy people, but the fact that he brought up “it’s my first Zoom interview” unprompted seems like it was a deliberate attempt to come off as endearing/memorable (which I guess initially worked). And his follow-up reaction kind of confirms that for me, most people who have those “omg why did I SAY that” moments aren’t going to respond by going on the offensive when called out.

  24. Bookworm*

    It IS weird but maybe saying it was the first Zoom was his way of trying to buy a bit of favoritism and hoping you’d go easier on him (video interviews on any medium can be awkward). In any case, hopefully he’ll figure it out.

  25. WantonSeedStitch*

    Even being generous and assuming he was babbling with the first lie, and actually MEANT something like “I never interviewed on Zoom before the pandemic, and it still makes me feel nervous,” doubling down and trying to make the interviewers think they just remembered wrong would absolutely make me reject this guy.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Yep. I can come up with all sorts of charitable reasons for the first lie. The second lie makes it a problem.

  26. Calliope*

    The thing about all these comments is you don’t actually have to decide this guy’s character definitively. You just have to say ‘ok, there are concerns, we’re moving on to another candidate.” Done. We don’t know what was going on in his head and we don’t have to figure it out to decide not to hire him. We don’t hire people all the time despite them being perfectly lovely people; we don’t have to determine they’re evil gaslighters first.

    1. CBB*

      This is where I land too. Based on LW’s account, I don’t know if he’s a compulsive liar or someone blurts out weird stuff when nervous. But it doesn’t matter — as long as there are less-questionable candidates to consider, there’s not much reason to keep this one in the running.

  27. RagingADHD*

    I’d point out that this wasn’t a completely random lie. It benefitted the candidate by making him seem even more charming and appealing. It endeared him to the interviewers. It was manipulative.

    Also, there’s a big flaw in this reasoning that it shouldn’t be disqualifying that someone panics and lies under pressure: If you know they lie under pressure, then you can only trust them in situations where there is zero pressure. If you know they are prone to panic and made bad decisions, that’s absolutely relevant!

    Interviewing makes people nervous, but unless someone has really specific anxiety triggers, it isn’t a special edge case of super-awful-unheard-of pressure the likes of which you will never encounter in an ordinary job. Most jobs have some kind of element where you’re on the spot, where you have to make a good impression on strangers, or where making a mistake would have bad consequences for you or other people.

    Show me a job with zero pressure, where nothing is ever at stake for the employee, and where panicking and/or lying under pressure never matters. If you can find one, that’s the job where you can rely on this person. It’s not a wide selection.

    1. Kevin Sours*

      It’s not ideal, but people do have weird reactions under pressure. The question when it happens is if it’s something that is going to continue into the job in a problematic way. Frequently once people settle into the job that sort of on the spot gaffe isn’t a problem any longer. And, even if it does happen, an occasional “I misspoke in the meeting this morning, the real answer is” might be something you live with for an otherwise strong performer.

      So the initial statement is concerning but not disqualifying. The follow up, though, I don’t know how you get past that.

      1. RagingADHD*

        Yeah – I misspeak and correct myself all the time. It’s no big deal. The OP said in a comment that the follow up question was *by email*, so the guy had all the time in the world to come up with a decent explanation, say his misspoke, etc. He was totally not on the spot /under pressure for his reply.

        And his reply was not the kind of thing you say to make it better. He made it worse. So even if the whole thing was a mistake, he’s really bad at dealing with his mistakes.

        No matter how you slice it, there’s no upside to hiring this guy.

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, I agree. The initial lie was minor, but doubling down on it was a poor response. People who want to be and stay employed need to learn to own their mistakes. Obviously with the expectation that employees aren’t subject to excessive punishment for messing up.

  28. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

    If your gut says something’s off-especially in a trust role–I don’t think you need any more justification than that.

    1. Viette*

      Yeah, this is all questionable enough and off-putting enough to be a fine reason to turn someone down. I do commend the OP for writing in to AAM to check and make sure they weren’t doing something questionable themselves.

  29. Meep*

    I work with a pathological liar and has been gaslit to the moon and back under her so maybe my perception is a bit different, but…

    On one hand, I get why you don’t like liars. Especially liars about something so minor and ones that double down and get caught in the lie. On the other hand, while in my case, she is a pathological liar who also gaslights, she is also very careless with her words. So for example, while she told me that it was inconvenient for her if I got pregnant and I remember it clear as day as it was a big deal to me, I 100% believe her when she says she doesn’t remember saying that, because well it wasn’t a “big deal” to her. It was a normal thought running through her mind on a Tuesday when she heard her female employee was so sick she was throwing up. I am not saying it is ok. She is 100% an evil person and definitely a psychopath. But as the recipient of her hurtful words and actions, it is something I remember more clearly than the person who didn’t think saying something like that was gross to begin with.

    But in this employee’s case, it sounds like he said something flippant without thinking it through and forgot about it, while it was a big deal to YOU. No one is right or wrong. But it happens.

    1. RagingADHD*

      This kind of sounds like the equivalent of the person who got their cheekbone fractured by a violent employee telling another manager that it’s no big deal if a candidate “only” screamed at them in the interview.

      I mean, yeah – you’re stuck with a bad situation, and this situation isn’t anywhere near as drastic. It doesn’t mean this situation isn’t a problem, or is only a personal hangup.

      I think you may be experiencing the effects of normalization, and not in a good way. I hope you can get out of there soon.

    2. Wants Green Things*

      According to the OP, when they emailed him for some other follow up info and gave him the chance to clarify what he said, he responded within *5 minutes* and claimed they had all heard wrong, he’d never said that.

      That is, in fact, wrong. It’s flippant. And your gaslighter is succeeding in making you think this is normal.

    3. Batgirl*

      I think this is very insightful and relevant. A lot of dishonest people don’t keep track of what they say very well because it isn’t a big deal to them. I think very often when they remember their words later, they are going to be off base because it was never based on truth.

    4. Candi*

      I hope you get out of there soon. You sound like the fictional toad -you’re so used to the slowly rising temperature of the water you don’t realize how dangerous it’s getting to you. :(

  30. Khatul Madame*

    LW made the right call. You’d want to hire people smart enough to keep their stories straight. This includes not just the “Zoom newbie” aspect, but interviewing elsewhere in the company and the chance that two groups will learn about this and even compare notes.
    Doubling down on the lie would be very off-putting to me, too.

  31. Ashton*

    Some of my friends still give me crap for this – I was interviewing in college to work at an animal shelter and I told them I was SCARED OF DOGS. This is not, nor has ever been, true. Luckily, I lived close and was willing to take low pay so they hired me anyways. I love dogs. I still have no idea why I said it.

    1. ecnaseener*

      Omg that is hilarious. Lying to make yourself look like a better candidate? Snoooooze, anyone can do that. Lying to make yourself look like a WORSE candidate and still getting the job? Iconic.

      1. Paris Geller*

        It’s a test of bravery! Terrified of dogs but still willing to work in an animal shelter? That’s someone who’s not going to shy away from the worst parts of the job!

        (I, too, love this.)

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I’m curious –did they put you to work with cats & other critters like ferrets & rabbits & reptiles?

        1. Candi*

          On a humorous note, we had ferrets and cats several years ago. A cat and ferret having a play wrestling match is hilarious.

  32. nnn*

    I don’t think this changes anything for OP, I’m idly wondering whether this was part of a script he rehearsed in preparation for his first ever zoom interview, and then it just came out of his mouth at a subsequent interview.

    (If this were the case and you were on the fence about whether to hire him, a thing to look at might be whether speaking extemporaneously to strangers – and recovering if he misspeaks – is relevant to the job.)

    1. Kevin Sours*

      Recovering when you misspeak is relevant to pretty much every job. The problem is that given what we’ve seen it’s impossible to rule out that this is a pattern of behavior. The interview is the the start of the working relationship and you have to ask if you can work with somebody who behaves that way.

    2. ecnaseener*

      This dead horse has been beaten pretty thoroughly throughout the comments, but: that would explain the first lie, not the second.

  33. Detective Eames*

    I messed up and said something untrue in a recorded video interview recently. It was one of the ones where you get the question, some time to formulate your answer, then you hit record. You can rerecord once, but once only. I accidentally said that I chaired a committee that planned a major event, when I chaired a different committee that planned a different event. I realized that I was on my second take so I couldn’t redo it and I froze for a second and then kept talking. I almost sent a note explaining my mistake because it could have been checked on, but I didn’t. I landed the next round interview, and was going to make the correction that day with the hiring manager, but was pulled out of the process due to salary requirements. I understand how someone could say something strange in the moment. I don’t understand doubling down. I was mortified and was eager to make the correction.

  34. M*

    I’ll be waiting for a letter in about a month from a recently hired job candidate asking, “For some reason during my interview, I blurted out that I have never done a Zoom interview before. I don’t know why I said that! Should I say something to my manager?! I’m worried they’ll think I’m a loon!”

  35. 1st time poster*

    Did he maybe really think he DID say that he always did Zoom interviews? As a waitress I’ve taken a customer’s order, delivered the thing they asked for, only for them to claim “I didn’t order that!” Luckily someone else at the table spoke up and said “Yes, you did.”

    1. CleverGirl*

      One time I ordered pancakes with bacon and I meant sausage (I don’t even like bacon) but I somehow said bacon (probably because I was reminding myself NOT to get bacon) so I got bacon. Our brains do weird things sometimes.

    2. Purple Penguin*

      That was my first thought – what came out of his mouth wasn’t what he intended to say so of course he remembers it differently. So I’m kind of appalled at rejecting a good candidate because “he’s a liar”. But even in the case that’s genuinely not what he thought he said, I do kind of get the desire to reject a candidate because he never admits he’s wrong, which would be true in that case.

  36. Tiger Snake*

    See, I automatically assumed that saying it was his first Zoom interview was just meant to be a segway into the compliment so that you ended the interview with good, fuzzy feelings (and so you’d have good, fuzzy feelings when reviewing the results again later on).

    Aka, I would have taken it as a flippant remark, tossed it out of my brain, and it wouldn’t have even occurred to me later on to question – because I was already assuming it was a somewhat exaggerated comment.

    I guess that does means that, since it was technically manipulation (though not something I’d consider an issue on itself), the inability to recover when questioned does kind of cross out all the extra charaisma points the first compliment was trying to earn.

    1. Rainy*

      I don’t want to be a jerk, but I would want to know if I were you–Segway is the electric conveyance, and the word meaning “uninterrupted transition” is actually spelled segue.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Many of us use speech to text.
        Many of us also have devices that autocorrect very poorly. I do not recommend nitpicking on two words that have identical pronunciation.
        You should see what my phone does to my real-world last name even now, years after I added it to the dictionary.

        1. Candi*

          I can’t get the voice assistants to even work with me. And I KNOW they work, cause my younger (adult) kid can make my phone sit up and yak!

  37. CleverGirl*

    I’ve said a lot of stupid stuff that was the opposite of what I meant to say, and when asked about it I *remembered* saying the thing I meant to say and not the thing I said. One time in a presentation in school I said “gigayears” instead of “megayears” but I MEANT megayears and so when everyone freaked out (because those are VERY different amounts) and started asking me about it I just got confused and didn’t understand their questions. Maybe he meant it was his first time with zoom interviews but was thinking of all the interviews with the company as a group? And prior to that he hadn’t had any. And then he just got nervous when asked to clarify and tried to make the thing he said make sense? Or maybe he really did mean “all the interviews I’ve had with your company have been zoom interviews, and it was my first time doing them so I’ve been really nervous”. The fact that the other interviews you know about are also the same company could easily make it so he just kind of grouped them all together in his mind as one series of interviews.

  38. Blood Orange*

    I once caught a candidate in a lie during an interview, and whenever I think about it I wish I had called him out!

    I mentioned during the interview something about our core values, which are only listed on our private company intranet. He responded by saying something along the lines that he had seen our core values on our website and proceeded with a spiel about how he was a good fit. I immediately went through my head how he could have seen them, internally reaffirmed they weren’t public, and could only conclude that he was lying. Perhaps he thought “oh, I bet their values are on their website and I should have seen that, so I’ll play it off like I did.” He could easily have just asked to know more about our core values!

    He was giving us “car salesman” vibes anyway, so we didn’t hire him, but I think I would have handled things similarly if that apparent lie was the only thing working against him.

    1. Despachito*

      You should have asked him “oh, glad to hear that! Which of our core values appeals to you most:”

      (Hope his answer would not be HONESTY)

  39. Budgie Buddy*

    I’m an extremely literal person, but I couldn’t feel comfortable with someone who only lies about “tiny, insignificant” things. Since they’re lying, they’ve reserved the right to judge what counts as significant for the both of us. No thanks.

    OP is right skip this candidate. Even if they only lie under a very few circumstances, who wants the added mental load of trying to figure out where each situation falls under the “acceptable to lie” spectrum?

  40. Pikachu*

    I think it would be one thing if you just asked him about it and he said yes, like the bee allergy. But he spent a lot of time telling a story about it… and the fact that he was actively interviewing at the same company (!!!) and didn’t think about how easily this story could fall apart, it’s just weird.

    He’s a kid with chocolate icing all over his face insisting he did not eat the cake.

  41. IWantToGoToThere*

    I had a slightly more cynical take when I read this situation… I wonder if it’s possible that the candidate lied because they were hoping it would gain them sympathy over anything that didn’t go perfectly in the interview. Like “aw, they flubbed this question, and they didn’t explain this thing too clearly, but it’s their first Zoom interview so we’ll cut them some slack.” I almost think that’s more likely (although more devious) than the candidate nervously lying for no good reason.

  42. Rosie*

    Honestly even if the candidate was completely right and he had said he’d done a lot of zoom interviews, I can’t imagine telling the people responsible for hiring decisions that they were wrong like that. An “oh maybe I misspoke but what I meant was…” is non-committal and deflectory enough.

    1. Velawciraptor*

      Exactly. It’s not hard to say “that’s not the impression I meant to give. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to clarify….”

  43. Wowowow*

    “There’s a labor shortage” “no one wants to work” yet here they are dropping someone for trying to give a compliment. So ridiculous. Guess what they don’t like your tie or blouse either if they compliment it. They’re just trying to be nice!

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      It’s the followup that is NOT nice, not complimentary, and the focus of most objections.

    2. Candi*

      Doubling-down with another lie is a no-go regardless of the hiring environment. If the candidate is the kind of person who constantly lies to cover their tail, it will bite the company hard. It’s perfectly fine to not want to take that risk.

    3. bowl of petunias*

      What? If he’d simply wanted to compliment them he did not need to say it was his first Zoom interview, he could have just said how Zoom interviews in general make him nervous but they ran it really well. And he certainly didn’t need to double down and claim he didn’t say what they ALL remembered him saying. There’s a difference between giving a compliment and being completely dishonest because you think it’s what you think someone wants to hear or you want to cover your ass. I don’t want to hire someone who lies under pressure, because what happens when there’s a problem on his project and he doesn’t want to tell me about it?

      Also, I don’t go out of my way to compliment people’s clothes unless I at least somewhat like them!

  44. Denver Gutierrez*

    I don’t think he was nervous but I don’t think he had ill intentions here either. My take he was engaging in some good old-fashioned flattery/butt-kissing, and never dreamed his lie about zoom interviews would come back to bite him in his butt. Of course, butt-kissers are a different can of worms, so dropping him from the candidate pool may still have been a good thing.

    1. Not Today*

      The weird thing to me is that he’d use that line while interviewing for another job within the same company. I would assume a higher possibility that particular falsehood would come back to bite me in that particular situation than in any other.

  45. MonkeyPrincess*

    Yes, people do weird things under pressure, but you also want to hire someone who can handle a little bit of pressure. When a client asks where the late project is, is he going to say “Oh, it’s all done!” instead of lay out the truth and what the company is realistically going to do about it? Because the client will figure out the lie, and that will reflect much more poorly on the company than just a late project.

  46. Feelings... nothing more than feelings*

    If this guy were smart, he could have said “I meant my first Zoom interview was with your company. It was another department, and it really made me feel good about working for your company.”

  47. Nope…*

    Yes people make mistakes but I would feel uncomfortable with someone who lies this easily. It’s a red flag. I happen to work for someone who seems to default to lies, when he is under pressure, and he is (understandably, I think) difficult to trust.

  48. GeekGirl*

    I was a subject matter expert, recruited to help conduct analyst interviews for another agency. One of the interviewees was from my agency, and had interned in a unit where I had worked. His application mentioned all the units he had worked in and the projects he had participated in, but not his job classification – he was a clerk typist taking classes to become an analyst and interning part time. He brought along a portfolio of “his” work products, claiming they were things he had developed for the unit I had worked for. Everything he had was using templates I had created for that unit, and were standard use for everyone in that unit. After he left the room, I told the rest of the panel about his exemplars. He didn’t make the next round. The following week, he called me at work, asking what he could do the next time to be a better candidate. I pointed out to him that he needed to be honest about his work experience because it was very easy to check when he was exaggerating his qualifications, and to use only the best examples of his own work, not mine. Dead silence on the line. A year later, he emailed asking for a reference. I reminded him of our last interaction, and said it would probably not be in his best interests to get a reference from me.

    1. Analise*

      Is there any chance that he honestly thinks he said the opposite and he just misspoke? I’ve seen people do that when speaking in public. Sometimes it’s clear they are saying the wrong word or they’re talking about the opposite of what they said, and they don’t realize and just keep doing it. Also, not exactly the same thing, but my brain will sometimes mix up words and I don’t even realize it until someone points it out, sometimes multiple times. I once asked for a door when I meant a key, and totally confused the person I was speaking with. My doctor thinks it’s stress related.

    2. pcake*

      We had someone apply for a writing job. The company owner asked me to read the samples the applicant wrote, and imagine my surprise to discover I had written all the samples, which were literally copy/pasted from the company’s site. He wanted to know why we didn’t hire him. I told him, and we never heard from him again. *shakes head in disgust*

  49. pcake*

    Seems like his comment was made to make you feel special, feel that personal touch and say “awww”, and it did. Since it wasn’t true, it’s possible he uses that line in all his interviews. To me, he comes off as calculating and a bit of a con man.

    That he then tried to put it on you all misremembering isn’t charming at all, and you can count on him putting them blame on others in the future. Saying you misremembered also seems short-sighted; doesn’t he know that Zoom can record conversations, and you guys could play back the interview and know for sure he’s lying?

    1. Candi*

      I can think of a darn good reason for a business to record Zoom, too: In case they get an EEOC complaint. The recordings can prove how X interview went compared to other interviews.

  50. anon4eva!*

    I’m not sure about the honesty/integrity questioning of this. I doubt it’s something nefarious, it seems like at its worst it’s a way to artificially foster goodwill towards y’all in a single interview, if he didn’t have much to go on outside of his credentials. This type of thing is to endear you to the candidate, not be the *undisputed truth* of how you and your team conduct Zoom meetings.
    “However, he essentially doubled down and replied that he said the exact opposite of what we remember.”
    You can’t double-down and then say the opposite. It sounds like he clarified the remark and it’s not what you and your team remembers. People can misspeak, or misremember something insignificant, because it’s an interview and he’s the one in the hot seat.
    My bigger takeaway would be aligning candidates a bit better, as to not unknowing interviewing someone whose already in third-round negotiations for another position at the same company.

  51. Yoyoyo*

    This would absolutely cause me to not move forward with the candidate. I had an employee once who used to lie, and it was clearly a result of anxiety and feeling socially awkward. I can sympathize with that, but it had the result of really messing up communication and client care. We had to let her go because she turned everything she touched into a mess, and you could never get a clear, accurate answer out of her. It made so much work for the rest of the team trying to untangle everything after she left.

  52. Liz T*

    Am I the only one who thinks this was kind of a weird lie for LW to follow up on? I know integrity’s important but this was SO inconsequential.

  53. Bossy Magoo*

    Yeah, the gaslighting would concern me too. Based on just what the letter writer said, I don’t blame them for removing him from consideration.

  54. MCMonkeyBean*

    I think is a case where honestly there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” answer as far as whether their lie is a big deal.

    It is such a weird lie, but it is about such a minor thing and it was not a response to a question you asked but more weird nervous small talk. It seems to me like only a small step beyond someone saying “nice weather we’re having” when they actually find it to be uncomfortably hot.

    So if you had decided to proceed with them anyway, I think that would be fine. This doesn’t *have* to be a red flag. But I think it’s also fine to decide it is a red flag and decline to move forward.

  55. Cats and dogs*

    It seems underlying many comments are people who know someone who manipulates through lies and in this case you see how clearly this is an example of this. And others who think it’s a gaff. The second group are lucky.

  56. Uncivil Servant*

    I know that this is a bit late to comment, but I worry about one aspect of this: the OP’s description of what the applicant said in the initial interview is being taken as a given. I am hard of hearing (deaf in my right ear). When I am in a situation like this, my first default is that I must have misheard something.

    I have also noticed that some people with (presumably) average hearing may be more susceptible to this because they do not believe how easily things can be misheard (that whole “laurel/yanni” thing confused me only in the sense that I don’t get why people thought it was strange, it’s perfectly normal and it happens every day).

    Did the applicant actually say “this is the first zoom interview I’ve had without a major technical problem”? Or did he mistakenly believe that this was the first time that the hiring managers had conducted a meeting over zoom and he was congratulating them?

    I guess my point is that sure, the guy might be lying. In my experience, the odds that the OP is misestimating their own hearing abilities is far greater, especially in the absence of other evidence or any other lies. By all means, check his references, but the absolute certainty that the OP heard that they think they heard is a bit disturbing and off-putting. If my supervisor did something like this, and insisted that I was lying about something that they misheard, I’d start looking for a new job that afternoon.

Comments are closed.