Interviews are a stressful process for both parties. On one hand, you want to discover your next rock star employee as fast as possible, so you can go on with your work.
On the other hand, the candidate wants to prove their worth to you and land the position.
Eagerness to look smart – or to get the job – may push some candidates to not be totally honest about their past positions or activities.
While having a background screening is important to catch these lies, until that procedure is under way, there are several ways to find out if your potential candidate is being honest with you or not.
Here are 4 ways you can spot liars in interviews:
1. Body Language
When interviewing, study your candidate’s body language. Start the conversation with safe topics such as the weather, news about your town, or current stories on the news.
Observe their posture and body language, and make a mental note of any shifts or changes as you go through the interview and get to the trickier questions.
Usually, when talking about “safe” topics, people relax and start to feel comfortable. A switch in their behavior, such as fidgeting with their hands, shuffling their feet or sudden shifts in posture are clear indicators they are not comfortable talking about a certain topic.
Chances are, they might be lying.
If your candidate moves while talking and suddenly freezes up, this is another sign a particular topic is a sensitive one and their response might be a lie.
People often say the eyes are windows to the soul.
Study your candidate when talking about “safe” topics and look out for sudden changes in eye movement when you switch to sensitive topics.
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has some good advice on how you can spot a liar.
Sudden changes in voice pitch, or biting the lips, are indicators the topic is one that induces stress. Chances are your potential candidate might be lying, exaggerating, or stretching the truth.
2. They Talk too Much
Good liars will give complicated answers to simple questions.
Don’t be fooled by these answers. Take the conversation back until you get an answer to the question you originally asked. Study their body language and look for nervous ticks. Follow your gut.
Another indicator is repeating words and phrases in an attempt to distract you. Again, remain focused on your questions and always lead back to those when you notice a candidate repeating words.
3. Do Your Homework
Make sure to prepare for the interview, study your candidate’s resumé and online activity and have several tough questions ready.
Sometimes, the reason why a liar doesn’t get caught in an interview has less to do with their “performance,” and more to do with the lack of preparation by the interviewer.
4. Have a Third Person With You in the Room
Having a third person with you in the room to help spot obvious clues can help relieve the pressure off your shoulders.
You will be able to concentrate on the information you want to find out from the candidate and analyze everything at your own pace.
Studying potential candidates and finding out if they are lying or not isn’t an easy task. Be careful not to confuse anxiety generated by the interview (normal for most candidates) with signs they are lying to you.
Follow your gut. If something doesn’t sound right or looks too good to be true, it usually is.