How to Spot Lies in Job Interviews

Employers – have you ever wondered if you’ve hired a job candidate who has lied on their resume?

Well, guess what: chances are you have. In HireRight’s latest Employment Screening Benchmark Report, a staggering 85 percent of hiring managers report having found misrepresentations or outright lies on job applications and resumes – even at the most senior levels.

Here’s an even scarier statistic: More than 80 percent of people who have lied on their resumes say that those falsehoods were never found. Oh, and here’s the scariest statistic of all – nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of the hiring managers HireRight surveyed reported that “finding qualified job candidates” is considered their top business challenge.

True or False? How to Spot Lies in Job Interviews

So, how can you uncover these falsehoods before they lead to a hire you’ll regret? Here are six steps to follow.

1. Check References

It sounds obvious, but many employers don’t bother to ask for references or if they do, don’t bother to call them. No matter how well the candidate appears to fill the bill, begin by requesting and contacting references. Lying about dates of employment, job titles, or responsibilities is common. Some people even make up phony employers.

2. Check Employment History

Get job title and dates of employment at least for the background employment history check. Former employers are often unwilling to give details about a candidate’s job performance for fear of a lawsuit during a background check/employment history. However, they will confirm a former employee’s job title/s and dates of employment. You may also be able to confirm previous salary history. This employment history background check is absolutely vital to selecting the right candidate.

3. Verify Educational Attainment

Did the candidate actually attend the school? If so, did they complete the degree or certification? Some job candidates use meaningless degrees from “diploma mills” to make themselves sound more skilled, so if you’ve never heard of a candidate’s alma mater, make sure it’s legitimate. If you’re suspicious, try verifying their education. The Society for Human Resources management recommends contacting the National Student Clearinghouse or reviewing the FTC’s tips on spotting diploma mills.

4. Check Out Their Social Media

A little sleuthing on social media can reveal discrepancies in the person’s work history or educational claims. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen job candidates. If the job candidate has a LinkedIn profile, for example, make sure it supports the information on their resume.

5. Use Common Sense

If a candidate’s claims sound vague or fishy during the job interview, probe deeper and get specifics. (One scientific study found that explaining a job in vague, general terms during the interview–“It was really, really great”–can be a sign that a person is lying. Pay attention to body language. If analyzing body language isn’t exactly in your strike zone, try a team interview with someone on your staff who’s more in tune with people.

6. Conduct a Background Check

Since background checks cost money, many small business owners are reluctant to go this far. However, doing some advance work can protect your business from costly future problems. Background checks are especially valuable for jobs that involve handling money, working with children or overseeing sensitive data. The good news is, you don’t need to do a background check until you’re ready to make a job offer – so hopefully, you’ll only have to do one.

7. Use One of the Global Screening Services to Provide a Thorough Check of the Candidate

A screening service – such as USA Fact, Inc. – can provide several of the services needed to make sure you really know the person you’re hiring. These services can include a preemployment drug screening, a review DMV driving records, a check of citizen status (US) and drug screening testing; additionally, the service can be used to check citizenship status and check employment history. Utilizing these types of services might save you quite a bit of money by making sure you don’t hire the person with a closet full of skeletons.