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4 ways to catch a lying interviewee

Sonal Mishra
5th Nov 2016
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Interviews are one of the best ways to get acquainted with candidates.However, since it’s a matter of securing their future, almost everybody tries to oversell themselves during an interview.

Prospective employees tend to project their resume and capabilities in a certain light to secure their place in an organisation. As an interviewer, you need to understand that everybody exaggerates and makes up at least one or two things on a job application, which usually gets followed by a face to face interview, where the candidate is bound to lie at least three times according to Robert Feldman, psychologist and lying-specialist.

 

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You know that there are some candidates who blatantly lie about their achievements, experience, and even their last package drawn. While emphasising and using power verbs to describe oneself is, at worst, overselling,pointing to achievements that never ever happened is far worse; it is misleading and proves to be bad for the company’s interests in the long run. Since hiring the right candidate is pivotal to your company’s growth, it becomes necessary to be sure that the candidate you are interviewing is reliable. Let us look at a few signs to spot a liar in an interview:

Pinocchio Effect

A good aid to an interviewer is the Pinocchio Effect, where when a person lies, they experience an increase in the temperature around the nose and in the orbital muscle in the inner corner of the eye. If an interviewee sweats in an air conditioned room even 15 minutes into the interview, it could be a hint of lying.

Body language

One of the classic ways to identify a liar in an interview is a change in body language. In your role as a recruiter, there are some body language signs that you should be able to read. The feet are a great indicator, so make sure that you are able to see them. Shuffling feet is a clear indication that the candidate wants to walk away from the current situation. You can also look out for signs like nervous twitches, picking at their fingers, changes in posture and restricted body movements. But wait! Not everyone functions the same way. What if the candidate doesn't move at all? When caught off guard, some people do not move when they have to fight through the encounter. Thisvariety can be far more devious and damaging to the company.

Verbal Signs

Someone might be hiding something if he or she is not willing to give direct answers to your questions. For example, you might ask the candidate, “Did you have a smooth exit from your previous company?” If the person responds, “I left to find better opportunities,” you should take note that he or she skirted the actual question. Make sure you ask the same question in a different way and listen for instances where the candidate changes his or her statements. Another possible sign of deception could be the overuse of qualifying phrases like “As per my knowledge” or “I believe”.

Hindered Fluency

While some interviewees stammer out of nervousness in an interview, in some cases, this happens because of trying to keep up with a lie that they were unprepared for. The critical thing to look for is inconsistency and sudden changes in speech patterns and body language. If an interviewee is comfortable in an interview for the most part, but becomes self-conscious when answering a particular question, you can bet that you have spotted a liar! Some of the signs to look for are increased mispronunciation, leaning back, pursed lips, clearing of the throat, insincere smiling and an overly detailed answer.

While a lie detector could have eased things for interviewers considerably, we don’t see it becoming a legit approach anytime soon. As a recruiter, it is your obligation to arm yourself with the best possible techniques to identify subterfuge on the part of a candidate.

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