Why are Candidates Untruthful During the Interview Process?

Written by EO Executives on Jul 05, 2018

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Why are candidates untruthful during the interview process?

It may come as a surprise to know that a tremendous 81% of candidates (2015 report) have admitted to lying in a job interview. For the candidate it might seem the only way to land a new role, but for the employer this is likely to have a costly impact when the candidate does not have the right knowledge or skill set to lead a crucial business initiative.

Inevitably, providing false information on your CV or in an interview will backfire.

So, why do candidates feel the pressure to stray from the truth during the interview process?

1. You are in competition to win the race

Any job market is competitive and with businesses and recruiters receiving an influx of applications at any one time, the CV is a powerful marketing document that needs to stand out. Candidates know this and as a result some may feel the pressure to ‘elaborate’ on their skill sets to get infront of the business. However, you run the risk of putting yourself in a complicated situation when the employer uncovers that you are not qualified for the role.

Instead, if there is an area for improvement on your CV that you know will distinguish you from the competition, make it a priority to enrol yourself into courses (online/offline) and ensure you are continuously learning.

After all, how else are you going to develop?

2. Everyone else is doing it

Given that so many candidates ‘lie’ in the interview process it can be easy for others to follow the crowd and shift any accountability in their decision to create an inaccurate CV. When you get into the mindset that ‘everyone else is doing it’ you may not initially see the associated risks and complications.
Just because other people are lying it doesn’t mean you will not get caught out. After all, what are you going to say when you are questioned in the interview but do not have the knowledge to answer, even though your CV claims you do?

Even if you don’t get caught out at the interview, you are bound to at a later date when you are left in charge of a critical business decision.

It is also the responsibility of any hiring manager to ensure the interview process follows a clear set of objectives, which will truly identify the best candidate for the role. For example, you will need to ensure the candidates experience checks out with their references.

Now, it is unsurprising that more organisations are using behavioural assessments to uncover if candidates are the right fit. 

3. Recruitment processes do not work

A poor structured recruitment process will no doubt let unqualified candidates slip through the cracks. These hiring mistakes are detrimental for any business and one bad hire can cost a business a lot of resources. Find out more about the true cost of a bad hire below:

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Once again it should be standard process to check more than two final references before the candidate is offered the role, as a lot of people will exaggerate the success in their career history.

More and more employers are using social media platforms like LinkedIn to screen candidates, identify skills and headhunt them for the most relevant roles. On the other hand, if you want to ensure your candidate is the right cultural fit, you will need to carry out a behavioural assessment to uncover their behavioural traits (which could have a significant impact on their suitability for your business).

4. The Job Brief is too demanding

Some businesses insist on providing an exhausting list of required (and desired) skills that they are looking for in their next hire... most of which are unrealistic. Even when a candidate has the relevant skills or experience needed for the seniority of the role, they may feel pressure to elaborate the truth if they do not meet all criteria. It is extremely unlikely any candidate will meet every expectation but when the competition is tough they may feel pressured to bend the truth.

To avoid this companies should aim to provide job briefs which outline the behaviour and essential skills/qualifications the role demands. It is then the responsibility for the recruiter to interview the candidate for the above and ensure they are worth sending to the hiring manager/client. This gives the opportunity to align on expectations and call out any potential ‘bad hires’ early on.

Key learning's?

Identifying the best talent is a challenge that a lot of businesses face and due to the competitive job market, candidates are feeling the pressure to lie during the interview process.
However, the best candidates will stick to what they know because they understand the risks associated with taking on a role beyond their skills set.

As for clients, they will need to be more educated on the true risks that come from a poor hiring process and how to avoid this. You can download our complimentary e-book which outlines the key steps for de-risking the hiring process here.

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