Past Blog: Lying During an Interview?

The Gerson Lehrman Group, a consulting firm, recently posted a blog about deception during employment interviews.

According to the article, studies have shown that around 49% of job applicants lie during the interview process, and about 40% of employees steal from their employers.

Jim McGuffey, CPP, the author of this article, has 38 years of interview experience. He states that background checks and drug testing, the main litmus tests employers have been using for new hires, aren’t always 100% accurate.

For example, many employers won’t release negative information regarding a former employee for fear of legal action. Also, depending on the type of drug test that is conducted, some substances may go undetected.

McGuffey argues that the observation of an interviewee’s body language and facial expressions during the interview plays a large part in determining their future behavior, and that employers’ tendency to rely solely on background checks and drug tests is one of the reasons why employee theft, violence, and misbehavior are so common.

While McGuffey concedes that evaluating non-verbal behavior is difficult, he still talks about establishing a baseline for behavior, and then comparing that baseline against the interviewee’s verbal and non-verbal behavior.Contradictions between non-verbal and verbal behavior are referred to as ‘hot spots.’

Establishing a baseline is difficult during a job interview, since there aren’t very many questions one can ask that would definitely result in a true answer. If this baseline cannot be established, there is nothing to compare the applicant’s verbal and non-verbal behavior to.

Furthermore, there is no single behavior that is absolutely indicative of deception. Also, most people have difficulty reading non-verbal behavior. Microexpressions, for example, come and go so quickly that most people don’t even notice them.

Do you think that most interviewers would be able to accurately judge a potential employee based on their non-verbal behavior?

Regardless of these factors, observing an interviewee’s behavior is still important. Most people can at least say that a person ‘gives them bad vibes,’ and that impression should not be ignored. Background checks and drug testing, despite their faults, are still important in evaluating a future employee.

Do you believe that there are any other ways to determine a prospective employee’s credibility?

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