Martian Thoughts

Proficient liars


Some folks excel at selling their virtues. They walk into the room and speak with such ease and aplomb that the hiring panel has no choice but to agree an offer must be made. This art of embellishing, manipulating or outright obliterating the truth is not a guarantee that they won’t be any good at the job. Indeed, those who lie but prove themselves as assets to the hiring venture will never be found out – and one could argue in favour of their chicanery, necessary against the unfair, rigid gates of professional experience.

Of course, the problem is those who are discovered – swiftly – to have no clue how to perform all the tasks they promised they’d be able to complete. Suddenly we’re stuck with a great seller of snake oil with nothing to sell and the job that doesn’t get done. When I was involved in hiring, the few occasions in which I encountered such individuals scarred me – it’s hard not to take it personally when one is responsible for the decision to trust somebody else.

Yet, it’s the liars we should focus on, not the lied to. Perhaps we shouldn’t care so much about certain criteria so that people don’t feel the urge to lie about who they are when they know they are genuinely capable of meeting a challenge that nobody is willing to trust them with. The issue with setting certain bars higher is that the filter tends to work better on honest people than on the charlatans out there.