When hiring managers go through a candidate’s resume or conduct an interview, it’s normal to take what they share at face value. However, while most job seekers are honest in their applications and when speaking with hiring managers, some may be exaggerating – if not outright lying – about their experience.
As a hiring manager, knowing how to separate fact from fiction when interviewing candidates is essential. Fortunately, there are some classic signs that a job seeker may be being less than honest about their capabilities. Here are a few signs that a candidate might be lying about their experience.
In some cases, a hiring manager might assume that a vague answer during an interview is merely a sign that the job seeker didn’t properly prepare. However, if the question focuses on a fact that a professional of the level they seemed to be based on their resume would typically know, it could also indicate that they weren’t fully honest about their experience.
If a candidate answers vaguely, hiring managers should sit silently for a moment, as that can encourage the job seeker to provide more details. Alternatively, they could ask the candidate to simply elaborate on their answer. If they’re unable to do so, keep that in mind as the interview progresses, and gauge other responses to similar questions to see if the candidate may be lying about their experience.
If a job seeker wasn’t fully honest about their experience on their resume, they might get defensive if you ask probing questions about their capabilities. Any noticeable hostility about the nature of the skill or experience-related questions should, at a minimum, be treated as a warning sign.
Similarly, if you present the idea of having the job seeker complete a skills test, candidates that weren’t fully honest about their skill level will typically resist. Usually, it’s because they know an assessment will reveal they’ve exaggerated their capabilities. As a result, asking a job seeker about their willingness to take a skills test – even if you don’t necessarily intend to conduct one – can help you gain clarity in this situation.
“We” Over “I”
At times, job seekers will mask a lack of experience by giving more attention to group achievements than their personal accomplishments. It’s a way to share impressive details without lying outright, essentially encouraging hiring managers to assume that they played a bigger part in the equation.
Pay attention to the candidate’s language. If they use “we” and “they” more than “I,” “my,” and “me,” that’s a red flag. Should that occur, make sure to follow up and ask them to outline their precise role in the project or request that they discuss an independent project instead, as both can help you more accurately gauge their actual capabilities.
As a hiring manager, it’s wise to keep a copy of the candidate’s resume in front of you during interviews. That allows you to compare what’s being shared with what’s written on the application. Along the way, if there are notable discrepancies regarding dates and timelines, discussed skills or achievements, or similar points, that could be an indication that a candidate isn’t being honest.
Reach Out To Us
Ultimately, any of the signs above could suggest that a candidate is lying about their experience. If you’d like to learn more about how to find the best candidates or are looking to fill a vacancy on your team, the staff at GoSource wants to hear from you. Contact us today.