By Rosanna Talese, Account Executive
In my 8 years as an HR professional, I’ve seen it all in the interview room—for better or worse. Yet there’s one thing that, without fail, always makes me cringe—when a job candidate lies to me.
Whether you’re meeting face-to-face or conducting the interaction virtually, here are three ways you can tell if you’re being lied to in an interview.
- Your candidate can’t make eye contact.
According to an article by Business Insider, “you can tell someone’s lying to you by watching their face.” This is true, especially regarding eye contact. If a person looks down at the floor more than they are looking at you, that usually means they’re lying.
In other cases, a person who is nervous might move their eyes from side to side, sort of like a cuckoo clock. This does not usually indicate a lie as much as it does their discomfort, so judging eye contact can sometimes be a tricky thing.
- Your candidate’s speech is inconsistent.
Time Magazine published this article on how to tell if someone has lied to you, and one of the body language indicators is the way a person speaks. According to the article, speech patterns that indicate lies can include:
- Sudden changes in speech
- Sudden pauses
- Throat clearing
- Too much information
- Speaking in the third person
Aside from these speech patterns being generally off-putting in an interview, they could also mean your candidate is flat-out lying, too.
- Your candidate’s skills don’t make sense.
In an article by Fast Company, an HR expert explains how a job candidate’s skills “don’t pass the sniff test.” For example, if a person markets themselves as a proficient PowerPoint user, you should ask them, “Tell me about the most complex thing you’ve ever done with PowerPoint.” If a person stumbles in their response, backtracks, or just can’t answer the question, they either overestimated their abilities or – you guessed it! – they were lying.
Pro tip: Don’t ever try to “trick” a candidate into lying. You’re not conducting a cross-examination or deposition—just keep an eye and ear out for any suspicious behavior.
For more interviewing tips and HR tricks, connect with Rosanna on LinkedIn.
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