Signs A Job Candidate Is Lying

Signs A Job Candidate Is Lying

Most recruiters, hiring managers, and organizations are faced with the challenge of going through and perusing multiple resumes from applicants and job seekers. Also, scheduling and handling multiple interviews can be daunting and stressful. Hence, recruiters rarely have the time to verify and carry out thorough background checks on applicants. Although the majority of candidates are presumably honest and sincere, a few tend to exaggerate and lie about their skills, expertise, and experience. When hired eventually, such candidates or workers might turn out disastrous; expectations will eventually not be met, and the Organization’s growth will ultimately be inhibited.


More often than not, recruitment managers get suspicious about information presented on resumes they sift through; some sound too perfect to believe. Similarly, some job applicants and candidates present outstanding cover letters that sound and appear too good to be true. When faced with such a scenario, how do Organizations and recruitment managers ascertain that the information being presented and painted is true? This remains a puzzle that needs to be solved. However, interviewers, organizations, businesses, firms, and recruitment managers are expected to decipher and separate lies from reality; and subsequently, ensure that the best candidate(s) who will sincerely contribute to the growth of the Company is hired.

Also, if an individual lies or exaggerates his/her resume, it creates ingenuity and subsequently distorts the attainment of Organizational goals in the short and long run.  Companies and firms might end up hiring unqualified and unskilled individuals that might eventually not meet up with set standards. When individuals or candidates appear too good to be true, it is paramount and essential to carry out thorough checks to verify and make sure that the information presented is synonymous with the individual’s personality and capacity. Therefore, this writes up is aimed at outlining and giving hiring managers essential tips on signs that job candidates are lying or exaggerating.


Why Do Job Candidates Lie?

Job candidates lie for a number of reasons, among which include;

  • To try to outshine their competition or other job applicants.
  • To enhance knowledge, skills, experience, and expertise they consider insufficient.
  • To cover up or mask something in their work history they believe could put their chances of getting hired or recruited in jeopardy, such as being fired from a previous job.


How to Identify Job Candidates Who May Be Lying

Recruiters, hiring managers, and interviewers should be aware of the following signs that indicate a job candidate may be lying;

  1. Vague or Unrelated Answers
  2. Body Language
  3. Suspicious Resume
  4. Reliance and emphasis on group accomplishments
  5. Their Skills Don’t Pass the Sniff Test
  6. Being Defensive

Vague or unrelated Answers: One of the signs to look out for when trying to figure out if a job candidate is lying is vagueness. Giving unrelated, incomplete, and vague answers to a question should be an indication that the candidate is lying, and not merely unprepared for the interview. Also, when a job candidate fails to make reference to processes, metrics, and roles played by team members, he/she might actually be exaggerating the scope of their work. In addition, when job candidates provide imprecise responses to questions, it indicates that they lack hands-on experience or direct responsibility. Relatively, look out for candidates who use passive verbs instead of active ones; it is a sign that they may be lying. Vague and incomplete answers to questions are a warning sign of embellishment or falsified information.

Body Language:  You may have seen “human lie detectors” that are able to instantly determine or detect when someone is lying. You don’t need rocket science and technology to figure out job candidates that are lying. When job candidates constantly fidget, dart their eyes or completely avoid eye contact when asked important questions, it shows that they may be lying.  Although nerves can play a part during interviews, consistent nose touching, as well as looking right and upwards should be seen as a sign that the candidate isn’t completely honest. In addition, pay attention to micro-expressions such as exaggerated and broad smiles, and unending and increased eye blinking. They are signs that the candidate is not completely honest.


Suspicious Resume: When a resume or curriculum vitae seems or appears too rich, it’s possible it is. However, some job applicants and candidates tend to exaggerate their skills, experiences, and expertise.  When in doubt, become a detective. Ask questions in relation to information provided in the resume. Compare the responses you get with what is displayed or portrayed in the resume.

Reliance and emphasis on Group Accomplishments: It’s true that collaboration and teamwork are essential in the workplace; however, beware of job candidates who only talk about their accomplishments as part of a team or group. This could mean that they are not as individually adept as you might want them to be. Do not let impressive-sounding team achievements sway your opinion without digging deeper.  Personal pronouns like “I”, “Me” and “My” are reflective of first-hand experiences, rather than the use of “they” and “we” which suggests that the candidate is borrowing examples from other sources or people.  If they make reference to group projects, ask them what their specific role was or ask them to tell you about something they did on their own. Job candidates who are lying will be unable to answer.

Their Skills Don’t Pass the Sniff Test: Most candidates exaggerate or lie about their experience with a given skill, especially software skills.  Thankfully, there are ways to verify and assess their competency. For example, a job candidate might emphasize having outstanding Microsoft excel skills.  To verify the claim, simply ask the interview question “Tell me about the most complex thing you’ve ever done with Microsoft Excel”. The candidate lying will beat around the bush and give inconsistent and vague answers.  Relatively, a job candidate’s proficiency in a particular field can be gauged through an exam or assignment.

Being Defensive: Every once in a while, a candidate will give you a hard time if you ask probing questions about his/her background. This is an indication that the candidate is lying. If a candidate you’re interviewing appears to deflect a probing question or dismiss your concerns, the candidate might be lying.

Employer Articles, Interview Tips

Leave a Reply