Five signs that a candidate is lying

by Santi Arnaiz29 Aug 2017
Sometimes when a new hire seems too good to be true, it’s because they are.

According to a new study by OfficeTeam, a US-based staffing firm specializing in providing companies with contingent workers, nearly half of workers (46%) know someone who included false information on a resume. That’s up 25% from the group’s last survey in 2011.

“It may be tempting to stretch truth on a resume to stand out,” said Brandi Britton, district president for OfficeTeam. “But even small misreprentations can remove an applicant from consideration for a position.”

The study found that 53% of senior managers suspect candidates stretch the truth on resumes, and 38% said their company has terminated a prospect’s application after discovering they had lied. Of all the topics cited, job experience (76%) and duties (55%) were most fibbed about.

The group listed five signs an applicant may be lying to you, and how to verify their claims:
  1. Skills have vague descriptions. Using ambiguous phrases like "familiar with" or "involved in" could mean the candidate is trying to cover up a lack of direct experience. To assess a worker's abilities, conduct skills testing or hire the person on a temporary basis before making a full-time offer.
  2. There are questionable or missing dates. Having large gaps between positions or listing stints by year without months can be red flags. Inquire about the applicant's employment history during initial discussions and ask references to validate timelines.
  3. You get negative cues during the interview. A lack of eye contact or constant fidgeting may suggest dishonesty, but don't eliminate a promising candidate by making a judgment based solely on body language. Consider the individual's responses to your questions and feedback from other staff members who met him or her.
  4. References offer conflicting details. Ask initial contacts about additional people you can speak to about the prospective hire. Also check if there are connections in your network who can provide insight about the candidate.
  5. Online information doesn't match. Don't always take what you find on the internet at face value. There may be multiple professionals with the same name or legal issues with how the information can be used. Verify facts during the interview and reference check processes.
“To verify information and avoid costly hiring mistakes, employers should conduct thorough interviews, reference checks, and skills testing with the help of a staffing firm,” Britton said.


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