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I'm a Recruiting Manager. Here Are 3 Things You Should Lie About During Your Interview to Land the Job. Plus, how to turn a "red flag" answer into a "green flag" response.

By Aria Yang

Key Takeaways

  • Bonnie Dilber is a recruiting manager with nine years of experience.
  • Because of the ultra-competitive job market, the smallest things can prevent you from getting hired.
  • Candidates should think about how to answer these simple questions carefully.
SvetaZi | Getty Images via Business Insider
Bonnie Dilber says there are three interview questions you should be answering with care.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Bonnie Dilber, a recruiting manager at Zapier, a remote-first SaaS company in the automation industry. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

It's a challenging time for job seekers — the market is highly competitive, with hundreds of applicants for every single job.

As a recruiting manager with nine years of experience, I understand that companies want to hire top talent that will grow with them over time.

So to present yourself in this way, here are three interview questions you should be answering with care.

Question No. 1: Why did you leave your last job?

A red flag answer is any response that involves being overly negative or bashing a former employer. It makes the interviewing company concerned about whether the issues were with you or the workplace. They may also worry that you could speak negatively about them in the future.

A red flag answer will look like:

  • "My manager was micromanaging me."

  • "The leadership of the company has no idea what they're doing."

A more positive or "green flag" response would be to focus on what the candidate is seeking in their next role and what excites them. If it's necessary to mention something less positive about a former company, keep it brief.

A green flag answer will look like:

  • "Things were going great, but I wanted to take on more challenges."

  • "I left because I think it wasn't the best culture fit."

  • "What I'm looking for in this role wasn't as interesting as I thought it would be. I'd like to find something that better aligns with my interest."

Question No. 2: Why do you want the job?

If you're exclusively focused on what you're going to get out of the company, like, compensation benefits, and remote work flexibility, the company may think that you don't care enough about that job or the company — you're making them think that you're going for what is convenient for you.

That being said, realistically, a remote company knows that you're excited because the job pays well and it's flexible. However, what they're looking for are candidates who show up better on a question and go beyond talking about compensation and benefits. They want someone who has done their research, understands what the company does, and shows enthusiasm.

A red flag answer will look like:

  • "I'm looking for a remote job so I can be home with my kids."

  • "I want the job because it pays well."

A green flag answer here is one that focuses on what excites you about the job:

  • "I'm excited about the potential impact of the products the company is creating, and I really want to be a part of it."

Question No. 3: Where do you see yourself in the future?

It's expensive to hire and train someone — companies hope to hire someone who will stay long-term. It is important to indicate your hopes to do well in the role and grow with the company long-term.

Also, it's especially concerning for companies if someone applies for a job that they're overqualified for — they might think the candidate will leave soon.

Let's say, someone has been in management for the past five years and now is applying for an individual contributor role. If the person says something like "I haven't been able to get interviews for management roles, so I thought I would give this role a try" the company might worry the person will leave pretty quickly, and then they have to replace and train someone else again.

A red flag answer will look like:

  • "I hope to move into finance but those jobs are hard to come by. So I'm open to doing this support role."

  • "In the future, I hope to go to graduate school."

A green flag answer will look like:

  • "I hope to stay in this role for the next two to three years, and I would like to explore management opportunities if possible."

Minor details like these could prevent you from getting hired

In today's highly competitive job market, companies feel like now they have their pick of candidates, so small things such as a lack of passion, or not being familiar with the company's work could end up being the reason that someone doesn't move forward in the hiring process.

I encourage people to research the company before the interview, so they can come in and authentically speak to why they want to work there.

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