5 Fibs Candidates Tell in Interviews (and How to Avoid Them)

As much as you’d like to believe that job candidates always tell the truth, that’s simply not the case. Chalk it up to them being nervous, or even being desperate to get a job they’re not quite qualified for. But you as an employer want to make sure you spot the lies so you don’t […]

As much as you’d like to believe that job candidates always tell the truth, that’s simply not the case. Chalk it up to them being nervous, or even being desperate to get a job they’re not quite qualified for. But you as an employer want to make sure you spot the lies so you don’t end up hiring someone that’s not up for the job.

Here are some common falsehoods to look out for.

1. Periods for Past Employment
An applicant may not want to have to explain a giant gap in her job history, or may want to fudge the fact that she only stayed at her last job three months. In fact, 35% of applicants stretch the truth in some way on their job history! While it’s easy to be general on a resume by just putting years and not months, you can zero in on exact dates if you ask about them in an interview.

If the applicant gets nervous or has trouble stating approximate dates she worked at a given job, take that as a red flag.

2. Skills
If a job candidate knows you’re looking for someone who can get media coverage in a specific area, she may allude to having some success getting placements in those media outlets. Confirm that she has these relationships by asking for coverage samples, contacts at specific outlets, and her approach. Many agencies will give a test to assess writing and planning abilities that are essential for success in the role. That will quickly weed out anyone who’s not actually qualified with the skills you want.

3. Past Job Titles
Everyone wants a better job title than they’ve had in the past, so don’t be shocked that many may inflate themselves from being an Assistant to a Director. A person’s knowledge of the job they’re interviewing for should be a dead giveaway of whether or not they actually held the position they say they did. And you can always confirm the job title when you check references.

4. Education
If you require a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, you may see a few faked degrees in your stack of resumes. This is one of the top lies that people tell on their resumes. And while a degree may not always indicate a person’s ability to do a job, if you require the degree, do your best in the referral check process to confirm that the candidate does indeed hold the appropriate degree.

5. References
This one’s tricky. A candidate could ask a friend to pose as a former employer, in which case, it’s up to you to determine the validity of anyone you call to get a reference from. They may also use references that worked closely with them, but not close enough to give you the insight you need to evaluate their candidacy. An actual reference will likely answer professionally and in detail all of your questions. Giving some direction to the candidate about the types of references you would like to speak with in the process will should help you get the information you need.

It can be a challenge to spot every lie in an interview or on a resume, but, to the best of your ability, assess how honest each candidate is being. If anything on the resume looks too good to be true, dig deeper.

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