Applying for their dream job, or any job, can bring out the worst in some people. Studies consistently show that at least a third of all candidates are prone to ’embellish’ their suitability for the job they want.

The three most common ‘lies’ you may encounter in a recruiting situation are:

1. Falsifying or exaggerating qualifications
2. Inflating experience or expertise
3. Discrepancies in employment dates

Experienced interviewers are good at reading the signs, but even obvious ‘clues’ may be misinterpreted. Body language such as fidgeting or avoiding eye contact can be unreliable as an indicator of honesty, or dishonesty, in job interviews. Additionally, some verbal cues such as the use of fillers like ‘um’ and delayed answers to your questions may indicate incongruence between the facts and what they’ve claimed in their CV.  However, it is possible that anxiety and the general pressure of a job interview, rather than dishonesty, causes these behaviours. How could you be sure?

Some more subtle indicators of untruths in the interview also include generalising and hypothesising when asked a behavioural question, such as ‘Can you tell me about a time when…’ as well as avoiding answering the question altogether.

There are two main steps in the recruitment process where candidates are prone to deception in order to improve their chances:  the CV and the interview. If these are your only sources of information for recruitment decisions, you are at risk of employing someone who may be dishonest in other aspects of their relationship with you, your colleagues and your clients.

Five steps to minimise the risk of hiring someone ‘careless with the facts':

1. Screen carefully for minimum eligibility requirements.
2. Check qualifications with the issuing institution.
3. Use structured interviews
4. Always reference check
5. Use a personality test that specifically identifies deception

Balance at Work can help you reduce your employment risks. To find out more about how we can help you, contact Susan on 1300 785 150 or