How to Spot if a Candidate is Lying about Their Job Experience

By Halyna Divakova 12.01.2022 4 minutes to read

It’s no secret that candidates may not be completely truthful in their CVs or during the interviews. Some may unintentionally lie to make a better impression during the interview. But in the battle to stand out among the competitors, some candidates take it a bit far and fudge the truth. The most common things candidates lie about are the reasons why they left their previous employer, their wage, skill level, job experience, etc. 

If a candidate seems too good to be true, it’s worth putting some extra effort before offering them a job. So how to tell if a candidate is lying or not? In this article, we will discuss both the ways to spot a lie during the screening process and already in person during the interview.

Spotting a lie during the screening process

We’ve compiled a simple checklist for CV screening, which recruiters can use to ensure the candidate is not exaggerating or lying: 

  • Check the dates and months of their previous jobs. Check whether they add up and see if there are any unexplained gaps in the CV. If you find a gap, make sure to ask about it during the interview.
  • Make sure the job title complies with the duties. Job titles reflect what the person does on the job, so if there are some responsibilities that seem odd or out of place for a certain position, it should alarm a recruiter that the candidate may be lying about their experience. This may sound obvious, but double-checking job titles and responsibilities are useful.
  • Check the candidate’s LinkedIn account. As you do so, you will see if the job they mention in their bio is the same they are applying to as their dream job. If they don’t match, ask why and whether they updated their profile or not.
  • Look for previous CV versions. If you have some doubts regarding the candidate and you’ve already contacted them before, see if you have older versions of their CV. This way you can spot any inconsistencies in the new CV.
  • Use platforms that generate CVs. AI-generated CVs don’t lie. AI aggregates information from different sources and may evaluate a candidate’s skills on the ratings like Github and so on. It doesn’t exaggerate someone’s skills and a recruiter gets a better understanding of the skills a candidate has. AmazingHiring, a professional sourcing tool, can help you find tech specialists’ social media profiles, contacts, and information about their professional background. This tool can help you save a lot of time on screening and contacting candidates, as it finds candidates’ accounts across more than 50 professional and social networks. Request a demo here to learn more about the platform.

How to check the candidate’s integrity during the interview

Interviewing is one of the key aspects of the whole recruiting process. As a recruiter, you need to make sure the atmosphere during the interview is welcoming and friendly. Try to avoid awkward and tense silence as it may make the candidate feel uncomfortable. This way you will have a chance to get to know the candidate better. 

Analyze candidate’s body language

It’s hard to accurately interpret body language, as it may get quite tricky and simply mean that the candidate is feeling nervous during the interview. However, you can still observe microexpressions, which usually include increased blinking, an exaggerated smile, unusually high or low levels of eye contact, and long pauses before speaking. 

The fear of being caught in a lie can be noticed through eyebrows that are drawn together or slightly flared nostrils. Still, you should not quickly jump to conclusions, it’s better to use microexpressions as a sign to probe further.

Notice which speech patterns the candidate uses 

A candidate’s answers to the questions the recruiter asks may also provide hints of a lie. If a candidate uses absolute terms like ‘never’ or ‘always’ or variations of the phrase ‘believe me’, this is a red flag that something is not right. 

What to pay attention to when testing a candidate’s skills

To spot lying and see whether a candidate is actually experienced, ask them what they managed to achieve in their previous role. It’s important to ask for details, how they did it, what were their responsibilities, and ask to provide some examples. Recruiters can also ask the candidate how previous employers or colleagues would describe their work ethics and skills. 

Also, it would be good to ask the candidate if there’s anything besides what’s already on the application they would like to add, change, or correct. 

Signs that the candidate used false details about their work experience

If you ask a specific question and a candidate’s response is irrelevant or indefinite, it’s a direct sign to the recruiter that the candidate may be not prepared for the interview or lying about something. When the candidate is done responding to your question, try to make them speak for longer and ask them to expand the answer, provide more details. This is especially useful when you want to learn more about a questionable statement on their CV. 

Of course, the candidate may have already prepared answers to all possible questions and learned them beforehand, however, no one can be over-prepared. So make sure you ask additional questions, as it might help when there is some kind of uncertainty. 

What else can you do to spot a lie? 

Another great way to check whether the candidate is lying or not is to do a reference check. It’s worth conducting in-depth interviews with references to get additional insight into their experience, work ethics, and achievements. Any unrecorded gaps in employment and long periods of self-employment should be noted. You can also call references to verify that the candidate’s job history is accurate.

Conclusion

Candidates lying on resumes can cost employers a lot of time and money. That’s why hiring managers should be highly aware of this and become quick at noticing falsehoods. With the simple tips mentioned above, you’ve learned what candidates lie about and how you can spot questionable statements on a resume fast. 

Halyna Divakova Marketing Consultant Halyna is an HR-tech enthusiast who has been hiring people for her teams in various IT companies since 2015 and knows the pains of attracting and retaining the best talent.

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