Spark a Conversation: Lying Candidates in Video Interview

Here at Spark Hire, we want to help companies utilize the power of online video to find the best candidates. We get a lot of questions from readers about best practices for using online video in the hiring process. These posts will address those questions about how to find your next superstar employee.

Question: How can I tell if a candidate is lying in the video interview? -William from Itasca

Thank you for your question, William. It is so important to hire people who are honest about their background, their qualifications and skills. With the job market still not where we want it to be yet, there are tons of job seekers out there that would do anything to get the job they need. That includes exaggerating, and even lying, on their resume and in the job interview. As the employer or hiring manager, it is your job to do whatever you can to ensure that your candidates are feeding you the truth because even high profile job candidates may be fibbing.

Remember back in May of last year when then-Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson was fired for lying on his resume? Thompson lied on his resume and said he had a degree in computer science when, really, that degree was non-existent for him. So even those that seem as though they are telling you the truth may be lying. This means you need to be on your guard and take special notice of your candidates in the video interview.

Questions
One of the things you can do to ensure your candidates tell you the truth is to watch how they answer your questions on their background and past experience. Do they seem uncomfortable talking about their past work, or do they take too long to answer your questions? It may be because they are searching for an adequate answer since they don’t have an honest one. Are they trying to spin their background and having trouble pinpointing specifics? If so, watch out because they may be lying to you.

Body Language
As hiring manager you should be paying attention to a candidate’s body language already, but especially if you feel a candidate is lying to you. Watch for behavioral clues for the body language of a liar. Are they constantly touching their nose or nonchalantly covering their mouth with their hands? This is a sign that whoever is speaking to you is lying about what they are saying, and they are subconsciously trying to cover it up. Are they fidgety and uncomfortable when you try to discuss their past experience? They may just be a nervous candidate, but if they are particularly fidgety when discussing a certain topic, look out.

References
Of course, the best way to check out your candidate’s validity is to check out their references. Are they who they say they are? No matter what you should be checking the references of your top candidates. You can’t afford to hire someone that is willing to lie about their skills and past work experience. Contact references and make sure everything checks out.

It may not always be easy to tell when a candidate is lying to you, but keep these few tips in the back of your mind and take care to notice body language. The way someone moves and the eye contact they give you can say much more to you than what is coming out of their mouth.

Do you have a question you need answered? Spark a conversation with the Spark Hire team by submitting your question to blog(at)sparkhire.com or in the comments below.