Can You Spot A Lying Job Applicant?

Written by Andrew Nicholas on Mar 18, 2015

81 percent of people lie about themselves during job interviews; telling 2.19 lies per 15 minute interview – shocking but true and something you, as a business leader, need to have a handle on. So how can you spot whether a job applicant is lying and avoid making a potentially expensive hiring mistake?

Be A Detective

There are fundamental flaws in relying only on CVs and interviews when make hiring decisions and it is naïve to think that all job candidates are going to be truthful. Deception doesn’t have to just be a lie - technically, an exaggeration is a lie, but unfortunately most people don’t see it that way, so will exaggerate on multiple occasions.

Lies are missed because people trust what they see above all else – not what is really there. This can leave you open to a whole host of hiring nightmares, including: legal issues further down the line, damage to client relations, bad cultural fit and a high cost of replacing these hires. If a red flag goes up as you’re reviewing a candidate’s CV or during a job interview, don’t ignore your gut feeling – dig a little deeper and get the answers you need.

Leadership IQ put together a 4 part interview question that is designed to identify candidates who are coachable and ensure they are telling the truth. It begins by convincing the candidate that you are going to speak with their previous boss by asking for his full name and phone number, and then asking them to spell their previous boss’s name (this is important as it implies that you are going to search and find this person). Then you ask them to describe their boss (which gives you insight into whether they liked the methods of their previous boss and whether they are similar to you). Finally you ask them what their boss considered to be their strengths and weaknesses as their response will give you insight into the candidates ability to reflect on their performance and abilities. Using this 4 step method should give you an honest and open assessment of the candidate's abilities.

White Lies Or Complete Fabrication?

58 percent of hiring managers say they’ve found lies on a CV, with one-third of managers reporting falsified academic credentials. The level of deception can range from a small white lie to a full blown fabrication of events. As unbelievable as it sounds, CV-liars have managed to climb high up the corporate ladder. Take for example ex-Yahoo! CEO, Scott Thompson, who falsified his qualifications, stating that he had graduated with a computer science degree.

It’s likely that you won’t have the time or inclination to train yourself and your hiring staff to become human lie detectors so how do you fill the gap and use personal evaluations to make better hires?

Leverage Science & Technology

We live in a world of fast paced technological and scientific change and your hiring methodology should reflect this. Leveraging social media can help attract quality candidates and demonstrate your EVP, while psychometric testing, behavioural profiling and video interviews in your hiring process can help you screen candidates.

What Next?

Read more about how you can use science and technology throughout your hiring process by downloading our ebook “Eliminating Deception To Make Better Hires

hire smarter, find better candidates

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