Should I be honest at the interview and risk losing the job?

Wednesday March 18 2020

Q: I recently qualified for an interview with an IT company. However, to my surprise, I was required to have knowledge in operating a new software that I have never used before. Should I lie that I am capable of using it and then learn on the job or should I be honest and risk losing the job?

The fact that they shortlisted you even though you don’t have the extra qualification could mean that they are willing to train you to use the new software. It is also possible that you have other desirable qualifications that give you competitive advantage, or that your level of experience impressed the panel, and they are confident that you will deliver in the new role. It is rare to get a candidate who meets all the qualification required, especially in dynamic fields such as IT where technology keeps evolving. What matters is your willingness to be trained, and to learn fast.

Lying will cast aspersions on your character and integrity, and could make you lose the job if discovered. You could also jeopardise the software itself. I am sure you don’t want to start your new job on the wrong footing. Conduct your own research on the software as you wait to be invited for the interview. You can also seek help from your colleagues in the profession who might be using a similar software, so that you understand it further.

During the interview, say and prove that you are a fast learner, and assure the panellists that you are willing to adapt to the new software. Leverage on the other soft skills you possess such as the ability to communicate effectively and contribute as a team member, because these too are important.

Interviews are meant to offer candidates a preview of what employers are looking for as well as the new skills and qualification required in the new organisation or in the new role. When you have been with one employer for long, you may be deluded to think that you have all it takes.

In case you are not considered for this job, take it as a learning experience. Perhaps you could consider registering for additional training on the new software, and check if your current employer can help you pay the required school fees. This way, you will raise your academic qualification and gain more knowledge which might improve your output in your current role, or even give you competitive advantage at the next interview.

Jane Muiruri - Senior HR Manager, Nation Media Group; [email protected]