Discovering Liars Before You Hire Them: 6 Tips for the Hiring Manager


Most people don’t lie on their resumes or in interviews. However, if you’re not sure about a candidate, here’s a checklist to help you detect the truth about a candidate:

  1. Always check references. I ask for a minimum of three references from a candidate, at least one of which is a manager. Develop a reference checklist or script, so you ask the questions for which you need answers.
  2. Always check the current manager or the employee’s HR department as a reference. If a candidate is currently employed, the candidate may be reluctant to provide his/her current supervisor as a reference. You can always make the offer contingent on an accurate reference of just title, salary, and length of employment. The candidate’s HR rep can supply that information.
  3. If you suspect the candidate is stretching the truth, ask open-ended pointed questions of the reference, “Can you tell me about the candidate’s contribution to that project?”
  4. If a candidate’s background matters enough to you, perform a check on the candidate’s schooling. (If your company is a services firm, the kinds of degrees and schools may matter.)
  5. Verify the candidate held each job listed on the resume for the amount of time on the resume. You can call the HR departments of each company listed on the resume.
  6. Even people who don’t consider themselves out-and-out liars sometimes stretch the truth. If someone claims some number of years of tool, technology, or industry experience, ask pointed questions or use an audition that they should be able to answer

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