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Why candidates lie on their CV and how you can detect it?

The last few years have been very tough on the unemployed. People are sacked or made redundant with no warning, go on maternity or leave work due to ill health and don’t have a job to return to. By Ruth Fenton, Body Language Expert at Inspired Star.

The psychological impact of losing a job for whatever reason should not be underestimated. When people are at their lowest and desperate to pay their mortgage they have to start applying for jobs. This is where it starts getting interesting. Studies have shown about 20 percent of people in the UK have lied on their CV to get a job. Some people have even ended up in jail as a result. But why would you take the risk? And what counts as a lie or misleading information? When I was at law school a lawyer admitted they lied on their CV to get Training Contract. Not sure if they ever got found out but when a law firm says “we will not consider anyone unless they have a 2:1 or above” desperate people do desperate things. Thousands of £’s in debt, maybe pressure from family are two main reasons why people might lie.

How about people with a disability? On an equal opportunity form it often says do you consider yourself to have a disability? If you put no, but do have something which falls under the Equality Act as a disability is this lying or is this you trying to keep your private life private? Disabled people often have a very hard time deciding whether or not to disclose a disability. Unfortunately people do make judgements and discrimination does happen. Detecting lies is a fascinating subject when you take into consideration why people feel like they have to make up the lie and how the physiology of our bodies changes when we tell a lie. Interestingly it’s not possible to be 100 percent accurate in detecting lies especially if the person believes the lie themselves. Also there is no one signal of lying, which means signals need to be read in context and combinations.

So how do you detect lies? If anything seems suspicious it probably is. People’s intuition should be given more credit. Run background checks, check exam results with Universities directly not through the candidate. Spot check employees, if your business has a reputation for providing the best service you need to know your employees are authentic and truthful. We often hear in the press about people in important positions of trust whom lied to get their job. Learn Micro Expressions and Body Language. Learning to read people is key to detecting lies. It’s easier than you think to see on a person’s face if they are telling the truth, if you know what you are looking for.

Perfect your interview questioning. Barristers are masters at catching people out. If you ever get the opportunity visit a criminal court and watch how the Barristers set the accused up for a fall. But also carefully watch the body language of the accused for giveaway signals even though they might not be saying anything. It’s fascinating to watch. In an interview, if you see signs that someone might be lying change the subject and see how relieved they are. Then come back to the same questions later and check their demeanour again. If a lie is told often the person will find it hard to remember what he / she told who when, so consult with colleagues and contacts. Just putting these 6 points into action will help you uncover about 80 percent of lies. The next challenge for an HR Professionals is deciding what to do with the information, but that’s a whole new topic. 

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