With how easy it is to background check people in this day and age, it’s a miracle that some prospective job hires are still lying on their resumes and – worse – to your face. What are the quickest ways to tell if what they just said to you is a fib?
According to a study done by Career Builder, 58% of employers have caught a lie on a resume. Fluffing up job experience, skills, and fudging start/end dates were the most common fibs. One-third of the employers stated finding falsified academic credentials was a lie they’d caught.
Lies Candidates Tell Managers
“I wasn’t fired, I quit.”
That’s probably the easiest one to disprove. Whether it’s calling references and asking them, previous employers, or even looking on social media, it’s often very clear as to why they are job searching now.
“My current salary is $75,000.”
It isn’t abnormal for one to pad their current job’s description, as many people tend to do work outside of their job requirements. However, one that is a little less acceptable is if they pad their salary. Interviewees do it in hopes that they will be offered more for the position they’re interviewed for, but it is possible to check someone’s salary.
“I am very skilled in Excel.”
This one could be a simple overestimation on the applicant’s behalf, but more often than not they’re simply trying to impress you, but unfortunately don’t have the skills to back up their claims. The easiest way to handle this is by asking a question that should be known by someone with the level of experience you expect, or better, give them a real-world application test.
How to Tell if Someone is Lying
There are many tell-tale signs of someone fibbing. Shifting eyes, hesitation, and changing the subject are among some of the more obvious ones. But Professor DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, has come up with a set of cues that indicate deception:
- Hand touching
- Face touching
- Arms crossing
- Leaning away
Some common tactics would be to ask the candidate simple questions that they would have no reason to lie about. Their hometown, their favorite TV show, or maybe their favorite kind of food. Watch how they react to these questions, then move on to those that are a little more sensitive, such as asking why they are looking for a job now and what they want out of the position they’d applied for.
How to Address a Lie
So you caught your candidate in their own story. What do you do to make sure they know you’re not falling for their games? Well, you really have two choices. You can either point it out and make sure the interviewee knows that they’ve been found out, or you can continue on without ever mentioning it.
If you were to choose to move past it, depending on the level of severity, you can either decide to not continue the interview any longer and remove them from the running, or give them the benefit of the doubt and let them ride out the remainder of the interview.
If it is a severe infraction, pointing out the inconsistency can be a very uncomfortable, but important topic. The best way to go about it is to be direct, but not necessarily accusatory. You can say something along the lines of, “I believe you mentioned (ABC) earlier, can you confirm you didn’t mean (ZYX)?” or, “We weren’t able to confirm you worked at XYZ Co. Do you have any insight as to why that may be?”
If they start to squirm and are unable to come up with legitimate reasons as to why their answers were mismatched or completely incorrect, it is acceptable to wrap up the interview and dismiss them.
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