How to Tell if a Job Applicant is Lying

Anyone who reviews resumes knows that job applicants lie to get ahead. Hiring the wrong person can jeopardize your business's success, employee productivity and bottom line, though. Because you only want to hire qualified candidates, learn how to tell if a job applicant is lying.

What do Job Applicant's Lie About?

According to the Harvard Business Review, up to 81 percent of people lie during job interviews. The most common lies include:

  • Education or degrees

  • Professional training

  • On-the- job experience

  • Employment dates

  • Job descriptions

  • Former employers

  • References

  • Salary claims
How do Job Applicants Get Away With Lying?

Job applicants can lie and still be hired in part because hiring managers are unprepared. They make six key mistakes.

  1. Rely on gut feelings. Intuition can sometimes be right, but gut feelings are not always accurate and can lead hiring managers to miss holes in a resume.

  2. Judge based solely on first impressions. Impressions are made in the first few seconds of an initial meeting. Hiring managers who let those first impressions cloud the interview or their judgment may not dig for the truth.

  3. Use mirroring. Hiring managers may look for job applicants who are like them. They then recommend those candidates instead of verifying facts and looking closely at qualifications.

  4. Rely on a good interview. Experienced job applicants can nail a job interview and win over the hiring managers. They may not tell the truth, though.

  5. Trust everyone. Trusting hiring managers may not even ask for references or check facts. They are too trusting.

  6. They trust referrals and recommendations. If the job applicant comes with a referral or recommendation from someone the hiring manager trusts, the applicant may be fast-tracked into the job whether or not he or she is truly qualified.

How to Spot a Lying Job Applicant

Hiring managers can spot job applicants who are less than truthful. Here's how.

  • Review resumes, online job resumes and LinkedIn thoroughly. Look for inconsistencies like employment gaps or excessive jobs.

  • Perform background checks. Applicants with a criminal record may not share that info, but you need to know the truth.

  • Call references. Check in with every reference on a resume, and take notes. Compare the notes to the applicant's resume and interview to determine if they're telling the truth.

  • Ask strong interview questions. The best interview questions get applicants to reveal their strengths and qualities. They don't lead the applicant to say what you want him or her to say or put words in the applicant's mouth.

Hiring the right people can help your company move forward into greater success. During the hiring process, be sure to weed out the lying applicants with these tips.
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