The Can’t-Miss Signs That a Job Candidate is Lying

lying candidate cartoon

Can you tell when a candidate is lying on a resume or when interviewing?

When you are screening applicants, your goal is always to get to the truth. Is the applicant sharing the whole story? There’s good reason to be worried about the accuracy of what candidates tell you. In a CareerBuilder survey, more than half (56 percent) of employers said they’ve caught a lie on a resume.

Wouldn’t it be great if the warning signs a person is lying were so obvious they were practically lit up in neon? Take these examples:

  • The applicant develops a Pinocchio nose while interviewing.
  • When you refer to the PowerPoint skills on his resume, he says, "I love working with spreadsheets."
  • The person graduated high school in 2014 but somehow has "extensive" experience as a legal assistant.
  • You ask about the applicant’s degree from Harvard and she says she enjoyed going to college in Texas.
  • The candidate has been developing mobile apps "since 1985."
  • An applicant who’s fluent in Spanish suddenly becomes "rusty" when you initiate a conversation in Spanish.
  • The person claims to have made $200,000 last year … as a file clerk.
  • An administrative assistant says she's an expert with Word, but you can't even read her resume because the formatting is such a disaster.
  • When you ask for references, the candidate claims that he doesn’t have contact information for any previous managers or colleagues.
  • An applicant repeatedly mispronounces the name of a previous employer.
  • The person’s start date at an employer is before the company was even formed.

Most of the time, it isn’t as easy to tell someone is lying on a resume or when interviewing. It pays to be suspicious and verify information carefully. Learn how reference checks can help you uncover the truth by reading: 5 Red Flags to Look for During Admin Reference Checks.