Though most candidates give honest interviews, there are always a few who invent or exaggerate achievements, skills, previous jobs, etc. Here’s how you and your managers can tell when someone’s lying.
There are several non-verbal signals people typically display when they’re telling a lie. These are some of the most common ones you and your managers should watch for during interviews, according to Wayne D. Ford, author of How to Spot a Liar in a Job Interview:
- Touching the face — for example, scratching the nose or covering the lips or chin
- Avoiding eye contact, (or, in some cases, looking the listener directly into the eyes for a long time because they’re trying to control eye movement, knowing it’s a giveaway)
- Sitting farther away from the interviewer than the interviewer intended
- Using a tone of voice that’s inconsistent with body language
- Putting a briefcase or other object in the lap
- Playing with objects (e.g., a pen or coffee mug) or placing them between themselves and the interviewer
- Using the exact words of the question when formulating an answer
- Looking down before or while answering a question
- Using only the mouth when making facial expressions — for example, a natural smile will utilize muscles in the entire face, whereas a liar will only make select movements.
Of course, spotting a liar isn’t an exact science. A perfectly honest person could display any of those signs for a number of reasons — for example, the interviewee may just be nervous.
But they could give you or a manager an indication that more probing questions need to be asked, or tell you what you’ll want to ask about when you check references.