How to spot the faker

It’s pointless filling a job that a candidate can’t do and won’t be able to keep. Likewise, an employer will not want to have to dismiss someone they have recently employed, and undergo expensive recruiting again.

Candidates will obviously emphasise strengths and play down weaknesses, but there’s a point at which a rosy view tips over into a lie, and that doesn’t help anyone in the long term.

So, how can you spot a liar at interview? Here are a few telltale signs:

Signs of deception
According to behavioural psychologist and body language expert David Lieberman, a liar will make limited arm and hand movements — and those that they do make will be toward their own body. A person who is lying will also avoid making eye contact. Their gestures and expressions will also not match what they are saying — such as saying “I am happy to work as part of a team” while frowning would indicate a lie.

Expressions are limited to mouth movements when someone is faking emotions (such as happy, surprised or sad) instead of the whole face.

Eye movement
The direction a person looks in can be a useful indication of whether or not they are making a truthful statement, according to eye movement experts Richard Brandler and John Grinder. When asked a question, a ‘normally organised’ right-handed person looks (from your viewpoint) up and to the left when creating an image in their mind, and to the right and up when actually remembering an image. A glance to the left indicates creating a sound, while looking to the right is a sign of remembering an actual audio.

Consequently, when the interviewee is asked: “Are you a team player?” A response of “I work well as part of a team” while looking to the left would indicate a made-up answer, as their eyes are showing a ‘constructed’ image or sound. Looking to the right would indicate a ‘remembered’ voice or image — in this case, examples of good teamwork — which would suggest that the candidate was telling the truth.

Honesty is the best policy…
Candidates may be tempted to embellish the truth in a desperate attempt to get the job of their dreams. However, it should also be noted that recruiters themselves might not be as squeaky clean either. All those promises of a company car, loyalty bonus and company perks could just turn out to be bait to get a vacancy filled.

It’s one thing to gloss over past mistakes and concentrate on successes, but outright lies will always be discovered later. Nothing beats an in-depth interview when it comes to finding out about a candidate’s skills and experience.


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