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Spot a Liar: How to Tell a Candidate Is Not Being Honest

Spot a Liar: How to Tell a Candidate Is Not Being Honest

When considering a new candidate for your office, it can be difficult to assess whether they are the right fit for your company in only one interview. Additionally, it can be quite difficult to see whether they are being truthful about their qualifications. This is why it is important to be able to assess whether your candidate is in fact being honest. Here are eight surefire ways to unmask a liar:

  1. Ask Industry – Specific Questions: If a job applicant is interviewed for a very specific position that requires years of industry experience, then be sure to ask them key questions about the field. If they are not able to provide accurate answers, you will instantly know that they misrepresented their qualifications for the position.
  2. Look Into Their Qualifications: It is very easy to obtain pertinent information regarding job applicants such as successful completion of degrees. Be sure that you research if the person has in fact worked where they said they did and graduated from the same school. For lawyers, be sure to look into whether the applicant successfully passed the bar exam. By doing so, you can be sure whether the applicant is being honest on their resume.
  3. Ask Them Detailed Questions About Their CV: Ask questions about the content of your candidate’s CV and make sure it is not in front of them. If they are lying, there will be a hole in their story or they will not be able to provide you with detailed descriptions of their past duties. In extreme cases, your candidate might even try to avoid answering a question and change the subject to distract your attention and move on to the next stage of the interview.
  4. Check Foreign Language Abilities: It is quite common for candidates to exaggerate their foreign language abilities. Thus, require any applicants to take a proficiency exam in person before you interview them. Optionally, you can follow up with an oral test by asking some of your questions (or more general ones in the case of lower levels of proficiency) during the interview in the language you want to verify.
  5. Watch Out For Hesitation: When a candidate is being honest, they have nothing to fear or hide. However, if that is not the case, they will pause and ponder the answers to your questions. If an applicant is doing this, there might be more to their story and they are going for the extra time to provide you with the answer that you want to hear rather than the truth. Beware of mistakes, however, as hesitation may also be a sign of nervousness or trying to craft the best possible response.
  6. Conduct Multiple Interviews: If there is a part of an application that you believe is false, have two other colleagues interview your candidate and ask them similar questions, but worded differently. Have your helpers take notes of the answers and then compare the responses. If the answers do not match up, the person is not being honest.
  7. Investigate Their Social Media: One great way to get an insight into an applicant’s true nature is to look at their social media accounts. This is a spectacular way to really get to know your candidate without even interviewing them. Thus, be sure to join all major social media options for the best possible applicant screening process and analyze their posts and comments in detail to see whether they are the person they claim to be on their cover letter and CV.
  8. Body Language and Lack of Eye Contact: Ideally, you want to hire someone who is confident and ethical. If you see any signs of lack of eye contact and nervous body language during the interview, the applicant is most probably lying and you should not hire them to join your team. Again, be sure you are able to tell the difference between dishonesty and simple contemplation.


Detecting whether an applicant is lying can be quite difficult for human resource managers. The best way to really assess whether a candidate is who they say they are is to look into their background and credentials as well as watch out for any suspicious gestures or answers during an interview. Only then, will you be able to ascertain whether they are being truthful and whether they should be considered for a permanent position at your company. Remember that the due diligence you perform in the hiring process could save you a great deal of headaches later on.

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Sophia Mest is a Content Manager at BizDb, where she aspires to put her writing passion into practice and spread her words across the world. She spends her free time travelling and exploring the wonders of nature. Follow her on Twitter @MestSophia

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