Don’t believe most job candidates are lying to you?? Findings from a research paper by the University of Massachusetts showed 81% of people have lied about themselves while speaking with employers.

Scary finding for employers. So what are these people lying about? Well it ranges from little white lies to big nasty ones!

Here are the top 10 lies many candidates will tell you:

* Dates of Employment.

* Level of Education.

* Previous Salary.

* Previous Title.

* Criminal Record.

* Future Goals.

* Technical Skills.

* Reason for Employment Gaps.

* Project/Task Results.

* Reason for Previous Termination.

So just how do you, as an employer, protect yourself and learnt to know when a candidate is lying to you?

1. Read Resumes More Carefully.

Did you know that an 2015 Career Builder survey or more than 2,500 HR and hiring managers found that 70% of the time, less than 5 minutes is spent reading each resume during the recruitment process. Less than 5 minutes! Reading the words can be quick but employers must spend time reflecting on resumes to read between the lines and find quality interview questions that test the truth of what is being presented. Especially watch out for ‘fluffy’ words or jargon that can aim to distract you from core missing facts or information. For instance “drove new business” is a fairly fluffy but common theme on resumes for sales people. If you find loose language or gaps, either discard the candidate or, alternatively, make a list of direct and challenging questions for the interview to test these statements for validity.

2. Social Media.

Facebook tends to show the reality of a person and is often a great reflection of how they will perform at work. Although many people claim social media is an exaggeration of someones life, it will reveal a lot about their attitude and personal qualities. Linkedin is also a great source. Connect with candidates on Linkedin, look for common connections you share, and reach out to them for references. Also take a look at the types of posts a candidate is making, not to look for inappropriate behaviour, but to see their involvement in the industry. If a candidate claims to have 10 years of marketing experience, but follows no one else in the marketing world or never shares marketing related posts on social media, chances are he/she’s not being truthful.

3. Ask Direct Questions. 

Open questions like “tell me about yourself” and “what do you enjoy most about you last job” are nice interview questions to open the conversation, but make sure you also have a prepared list of direct questions to test the truth of the candidate and their resume. “Walk me through your wine list and what you would recommend to customers in your previous waitressing job.” “What was your sales target and what specific strategies did you use to achieve them.” Ask for stories and examples about a candidate’s experience and skill levels, and listen for specific answers. The more details a job candidate gives you in their responses, the less likely it is that they’re exaggerating. Also, pay attention to whether candidates are just rehashing their resumes to you word for word. If a response sounds memorised or overly rehearsed, take it with a grain of salt. Even better, challenge the candidate by asking “are you telling the truth?” to see how they respond.

4. Body Language. 

Words are easy to fake. Body language is much harder. When asking specific questions take note of body language as much as what is being said. If the candidate looks nervous when answering, this may be a indication as to the truth of their response.

Candidates exaggerating or even lying is a fact. 81% of those you interview will fit into this category so don’t rush the selection process and keep you whits about you.


Simon Ingleson

CEO/Founder @ RosterElf

Magically Simply Staff Rostering