Liar liar, pants on fire? Not always. In interviews, it can be hard to know if a candidate is outright lying or merely stretching the truth. Do they really mean what they say? Luckily, you don’t have to be the Mentalist to figure out if what a candidate is saying is true.
New research indicates most people have good instincts when it comes to spotting a lie. But even if you don’t, these body language secrets can help you tell:
1. Their voice changes.
When someone is lying, their voice adjusts. Start the interview by asking the candidate basic questions like their name, where they’re from and how they heard about the position.
Pay attention to how the candidate responds, because this can help you determine if their voice changes later on. Of course, this can be affected by nerves. But if their voice dramatically changes, it could be a sign they’re not telling the truth.
2. They look away.
Candidates who are lying may feel uncomfortable looking their interviewer in the eye. While answering the question, they may look down at their hands or across the room. During a video interview, they may look away from the camera.
Or vice versa, the candidate may go overboard with eye contact in an attempt to seem genuine. If during the interview the candidate leans into the camera and seems a little too genuine, it could be fake.
3. Their breathing changes.
Lying causes a physiological change in a person’s body. Their heart rate and blood flow literally change. This can cause a change in breathing, as well as the feelings of being tense or uncomfortable. Additionally, your mouth literally dries up when you’re uncomfortable. If a candidate starts breathing shallowly or swallowing a lot during the interview, they could be lying.
4. Their posture changes.
People who are lying may shift abruptly, lean back or stiffen up. In a video interview, posture is harder to determine, so keep an eye on the candidate’s hands. If they are using their hands to cover their mouth or throat, it means the candidate is literally closing themselves off from the truth.
Look too at how they hold themselves. Do they seem relaxed and comfortable? Or are they stiff and uptight?
5. They overshare.
People who are lying often fabricate more details than necessary in order to make their story seem more truthful. They may think the more information they give, the more likely you are to believe it.
If what a candidate is saying doesn’t match what their body is doing, they may not be telling the truth. Pay attention during the interview to make sure you find a candidate who is the perfect fit for the position.
Also, try to use unique, out-of-the-box questions that will throw a candidate off their carefully-planned game and get at the truth of their passion and cultural fit. Everyone comes to an interview prepared to discuss their past experiences and what they can bring to an organization, so think of some questions specific to your organization that will have a candidate thinking on their feet.
What are other ways to tell if someone is lying or stretching the truth?