He was also right to say that if you want to catch a liar, you have to be smart. To make it somehow easier, I would like to give you some hints how to spot a liar.

According to research conducted in Poland, the majority of candidates lie on their resumes and most frequently they lie about foreign language knowledge. Some of them even lie until the first day of the new job, and when they have to say a bit more complicated phrase or write a longer email – everybody finds out the unfortunate truth.

Imagine how wonderful it would be just to follow a few simple rules and be able to detect all the lies during a basic job interview without the need of any assessments or tests! We all have some common knowledge about how to spot a liar.

Unfortunately, most of tricks around identifying liars are only myths.

Let’s take a quick look at some of them!

  • Definitely number 1 myth – pupil dilation is a sign of lie!

Well, not necessarily. Pupillary response can tell you very much about you partner in discussion – but not exactly if s/he is telling the truth or not. Pupils have tendency to get bigger and bigger when someone is talking about something exciting.

  • Liars are avoiding eye contact, so the more eye contact, the better.

This myth comes from the general opinion that you tend to be nervous when lying, and when you are nervous you have a tendency to look around when talking. There is some truth in it, but there is also a well-known fact – some people will stare at you unblinking in an attempt to convince you they’re telling the truth.

  • Lying people are trying to cover up their lies by covering their mouth.

This myth has deep psychological roots. You can almost feel it is at the subconscious level. Mouth-covering can be a sign of emotional distress and it is completely normal during a job interview. The same rule applies to playing with hair or fingers – it can be just stress.

  • Using high-pitched voice is a sign of lie.

This myth contains some truth – some people speak in a higher pitch when they lie, but more importantly, you need to stay tined to changes in our candidates’ voice – melody, tone or stuttering.

  • Telling a lot of details is a guarantee that someone actually experienced something.

It is exactly the opposite – an intelligent liar will use many details just to make his/her history more plausible. If you are not sure if the person is telling you the whole truth, try to rephrase your question and ask about something that has already been discussed. If it was made up, there is a chance that s/he will hesitate before answering your question.

  • Quick answer to a question is a sign of a well-prepared candidate.

We have our first truth statement! Things that really have happened to us come to our mind quicker that the ones that come from our imagination. However a response that’s too quick may indicate that a person may have already prepared the answer before the interview, and we can’t be sure if it contains only the truth.

Let’s look through some most popular myths. We now know what not to do.

But what we should be looking for to spot a liar?

  • candidate uses too much phrases like ‘basically’, ‘I cannot be sure’, ‘the answer is not so simple’
  • after you ask a question, the person is trying to confront you – ‘how do you know that?’
  • using the same words all the time
  • tendency to start a sentence but never finish it and start over again

The most important thing in discovering a lie is to look at a bigger picture – one unfinished sentence or a very long and detailed story about the skills of our candidate do not mean straight away that s/he is lying. You need to be attentive and don’t rely too much on your ‘Dr House – type’ skills. It is very hard to catch a liar and be able to sense someone insincerity requires a lot of experience – so don’t be very hard on yourself is someone deceives you. It just may happen…

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