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5 ways to combat lying job applicants at interviews

By Juliet Soh

Remember those whodunit stories? It’s always hard to tell who the real criminal is because they all look like good people and have strong alibis. In a similar way, when most job applicants come in their best suit, show lots of enthusiasm about the position and have good resumes to prove that they’re suitable for the job – all thanks to great career guidance in school or training seminars – it may be hard to tell if any of them are lying or exaggerating about their credentials.

That’s why recruiters may be “fooled” into hiring an unsuitable candidate by their performance during interview and their exaggerated resume. How can you sieve out the wheat from the chaff? Here are five tips:

#1: Tell them you’ll do checks
At the start of the interview, let the candidate know that the company practises reference checks. By pre-empting them, candidates will naturally be deterred from lying during the interview, because they know that they may get found out eventually.

#2: Get them to talk
Always ask open-ended questions and follow-up questions. For instance, if a candidate said he was top salesperson for six consecutive months, ask questions like “How far did you exceed your sales target?”, “How did you manage to achieve consistent results?”, and “Which clients were most challenging and how did you convince them?” to get him to talk more.

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