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Dig for the truth in job interviews

by on
in Hiring,Human Resources

About a third of job seekers lie on their applications, according to John Reed & Associates, a Chicagobased consulting firm. The main way they falsify their applications is to leave off jobs or other information.

But in this tight labor market, you need to give every applicant a fair shot, even if that means clarifying work history and possibly exposing little white lies. Here’s how:

Shove aside the application. Most hiring managers put the application in front of them during the job interview. That’s a mistake.

By using the application to guide your interview, you make it easier for individuals to lie. Saying, “I see you spent three years at First National Bank. What was that like?” prompts the respondent to fib.

Put the application away before the candidate arrives. Then say, “Let’s review your background. Where are you working now?” Follow up with “Where did you work before that?” Make the person restate what’s on the application and listen for any discrepancies.

Note abrupt shifts in nonverbal cues. While there’s no foolproof way to tell if someone’s lying, it helps to establish a baseline of behaviors. As you ask pointed questions about work experience, education and relations with past bosses, notice any changes in body language.

Seek more references. Urge the applicant to give you the full names of former colleagues and bosses, beyond a prepared list of “safe” references. Ask how you can reach them today. If you keep hearing, “Oh, he left and I’ve lost touch,” that’s a red flag.

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