In the interview, there’s a difference between small white lies “My morning’s going great!” (actually, I’m a ball of nerves and spilled my coffee on the way here), and exaggerating skill sets or experience. This St. Patrick’s Day, here are some ways to ensure the candidate isn’t stretching the truth:
Test their talents
One technique is to test the candidate on skills required for the job. Do they need proficiency in Microsoft Office programs like Excel? Once the candidate explains their proficiency in excel in the interview, administer a test to confirm their skills.
Proveit! and Job Test Prep are great tools to use for this.
Ask the right questions
Situational interview questions can be a great way to gauge if a candidate’s experience is credible. For example, start with “Describe a time when…” Depending on the role, you could ask them to illustrate a situation when they worked on a team or used a specific software program. See if the candidate elaborates on their stories with examples, details and numbers to back it up. If they’re overly vague with their responses and unable to provide specifics, you could have a fibber on your hands.
Here’s a great resource that provides interview questions to ensure candidate quality.
Be conscious of body language
Be careful when assessing body language. Fidgeting, stammering and a lack of eye contact can be indicators of dishonesty, but they also might mean nerves. Before jumping to conclusions, make sure the candidate feels comfortable. Offering to give the candidate a tour of the office can be a good way to get the candidate to relax and open up. If you’re still suspicious of their tone, have the candidate speak with another hiring manager to see if they get the same vibe.
Columbia University’s study on nonverbal communication is a great resource to help you assess body language.
Whether you feel a candidate is lying or not, reference checks can verify information gleaned in the interview. Ask at least two professional references to describe the candidate’s strengths, responsibilities and progress at company. Did they really get those promotions they mentioned? How was their communication? Listen carefully to verbal hints like “um’s or ah’s.” People may be reluctant to relay negative information about a candidate, but tone can give them away.
Here’s an additional resource on navigating reference checks. These tips will help ensure your candidate isn’t putting the “sham” in shamrock.