6 Ways to Detect Interview Liars & Avoid a Bad Hiring Decision

January 26th, 2016

Elaine Bellio Toronto Sales Recruiter
By Elaine Bellio, Senior Sales Recruiter

If you say that you don’t lie during job interviews, then you are probably lying. According to recent research from the University of Guelph, 94% of people lie during job interviews. The researchers recently conducted a study and videotaped more than 100 participants taking part in a mock job interview.

Another takeaway from the study is that most interviewers are not good at detecting liars. “A big finding in the research literature on interviews is that interviewers are pretty bad at being able to detect when people are lying during the interview,” says the study. They also found that those who smiled less and talked more were more likely to lie during a job interview.

How to Detect Interview Liars

interview liar

Interview liars can be a big problem for organizations during the hiring process. Obviously, you want to hire the best candidate for the job, but how can you be sure if a candidate is telling the truth or fabricating some of the details about their experience and skills?

Here are a number of things to look for:

1. Physical signs: Watch a candidate’s body language. Do they look calm and relaxed? Are they nervous? While some nervousness is to be expected, make note when they suddenly get anxious, start fidgeting with things, or you see a change in their posture.

2. A shift in demeanour: Pay attention for when a candidate has a sudden change in tone. This is a sign they could be lying.

3. Rambling: Providing details is one thing, but liars tend to go above and beyond to provide extra, and often unnecessary, details as a way to convince you of something.

4. Repetition: Liars have a tendency to repeat words and phrases. This points back to a lack of detail or experience. They may even repeat very similar answers for multiple questions.

5. Change in pitch: Listen for changes in the pitch of a candidate’s voice. Their pitch could vary when they are lying.

6. Ask behavioural questions about past experience: Ask candidates questions about specific events and situations in their previous jobs and what they did in these situations. Behavioural questions are a great predictor of future behaviour, and it’s more difficult for candidates to make up these details.

Candidates Lie on Resumes Too!

liars

According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, job candidates’ lies tend to start with their resume. They found that:

  • 78% of resumes are misleading
  • 53% of resumes and job applications contain falsifications
  • 70% of college students would lie on a resume to get the job they want
  • 33% have inaccurate job descriptions
  • 21% list a fraudulent degree

While each person is different, and there is no concrete way to tell if someone is lying (unless you already know the truth), use the above as indicators that a candidate could be lying.

Learn more about improving hiring by reading:

The Best Interview Technique There Is

3 Useless Questions NOT to Ask Candidates During a Job Interview

What to Do When an Interview Is Going Really Badly

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IQ PARTNERS is an Executive Search & Recruitment firm with offices in Toronto and Vancouver. We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. We have specialist teams of recruiters in Financial Services & Insurance, Marketing Communications & Media, Emerging Tech & Telecom, Consumer Goods & Retail, B2B & Industrial, Technology, Accounting & Finance, HR & Operations and Mining & Engineering. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.

Elaine Bellio

Elaine is a Director, Client Services with IQ PARTNERS with a specialty focus in recruiting for B2B & B2C Marketing and Sales across a number of industries. She has amassed a total of 18 years in sales, sales management, and recruiting at the agency level – selling both contingent and retained search – and has a deep understanding of the sales and marketing processes and what it takes to build a successful team.