Detect Lies in the Interview These 6 Ways

Joe Weinlick
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In a survey from HireRight, around 85 percent of hiring managers reported they detected lies and misrepresented information on applications and resumes. A full 80 percent of candidates say they lie and no one discovers it. Examine six ways to spot lies before, during and after a job interview so you can truly find the perfect fit for your team.

1. Check References

Professional references and former supervisors and co-workers offer a way to double-check whether a candidate is telling the truth about accomplishments, how long he's worked somewhere or how many people he's managed. Before a job interview, thoroughly vet an applicant's references and employment history. Some candidates may fudge working dates or job titles or make up an employer altogether.

2. Look into Educational Background

Asking about educational background during a job interview seems like a sure thing. However, some places are diploma mills that merely exist to give people degrees and certifications without getting much of an education, if at all. Call the college or university to check on those credentials, especially if you don't recognize the name of the university. Even better, make a certified copy of a college transcript a requirement ahead of hiring.

3. Obtain Information on Job Titles and Dates of Employment

Employers are reticent to talk about a person's employment history or job performance for fear of a lawsuit. Minimally, get the beginning date, end date and employee's job title for when the employee was there. You might even try to get a salary history, which gives you an idea of job skills.

4. Head to Social Media

As many as 70 percent of employers check out candidates on social media. This type of search goes beyond LinkedIn, although LinkedIn is a popular social network for business professionals. Take a look at connections through a candidate's Facebook and Twitter accounts. You may find discrepancies about a previous employer the candidate failed to mention on the resume or in the job interview.

5. Pay for a Background Check

Background checks cost money, but they could save your company money in the long term if you make a bad hiring choice. They add an extra layer of security for financial positions and jobs that involve working with children and for positions with access to sensitive information. However, you don't need to run a complete background check until you're ready to make an offer.

6. Rely on Common Sense

If a candidate makes claims during a job interview that sound strange, exaggerated or overblown, ask follow-up questions to probe deeper. When the candidate stumbles and fumbles on subsequent questions, you may have some lies on your hands. Watch out for vague answers to questions or responses that don't go into detail beyond a single sentence. Pay attention to body language to see if the person seems nervous, uptight or unsure of himself.

Spot lies before, during and after a job interview to save yourself a lot of effort later when you have to make up for a bad hiring decision. You have plenty of tools at your disposal, so use them wisely. Have you ever caught an applicant in a lie?

Photo courtesy of Miranda Melton at


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  • Cindy A.
    Cindy A.

    Employees can fudge and blacklist, but so can employers. If you find an employee "wanabe" that seems off, why then would you believe whatever an employer says that seems off? It is not just the employee that needs to be checked, but also their former employer(s). Study the former employers too, as you may pass up a great employee that has been (is being) blacklisted.

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