Did you know that around 81% of candidates have lied about themselves at some point during a job interview?
As an HR person, having conducted scores of interviews, you have most probably encountered this. So, what can you do about it? That’s exactly what we’ll talk about today… Read on…
Most people are socialized to take refuge in white lies right since childhood. A child, in all innocence, will compliment their aunt about how the food tastes, even if they do not really like it! So, if lying comes this naturally to us, how can we not expect candidates to lie during job interviews?
Most candidates are very keen to land the job that they are interviewing for. For instance, if a candidate is interviewing for a managerial position in a company, he knows that he has to put his best foot forward and demonstrate the right managerial skills to get selected for the position.
Two candidates, two answers
During an interview, the candidate is asked the following question:
Interviewer Question: Would you call yourself a good leader? Can you share some instances where you managed a group of people at work, or a team?
How do you think a candidate will answer?
Who do you think will get the job? Well, unless Candidate B gets extra brownie points for telling the truth,
It is obviously Candidate A.
With increasing competition to get the best job, most candidates will put their best foot forward during interviews and even indulge in modifying the truth, or then, in plain straight lying! This is because most people believe that even if they lie about knowing a particular skill, they can always pick up that skill over a period of time and so, it is okay to “lie a little”.
Two models that explain “How” and “Why” context plays a role in lying during interviews
- The Dracula Model : David Weisburd came up with this interesting model and concluded that even if criminals are like Dracula, driven by their own dark impulses, they do not commit crimes everywhere. There are “certain streets” where the crime rate is higher than at others.
The street was so specific that it was restricted to a single block at times, with the block next to it being completely fine. He concluded that “people ought to be more concerned with places and contexts.” The same way, candidates are more likely to lie when they are in a particular context, such as: a job interview.
The Coupling Theory: Malcolm Gladwell talks about Coupling Theory in his book, ‘Talking to Strangers’. Coupling theory is the idea that behaviours are linked to very specific circumstances and conditions.
When people are coupled with certain contexts (time, place, or situation), they behave in very specific ways. For instance, a candidate might not be prone to lying, but when put in an interview situation (candidate coupled with interview situation), they most likely will lie.
A Pre-Filter for detecting lies
Context is a complex thing. There is no possible way to create an ideal interview context where the candidate will never lie.
But there is a possibility to create a pre-filter that guarantees you will:
So, what if we told the candidates that we already have a pre-filter to spot who lies, and therefore they should respond truthfully? Most probably, the candidates would think twice before lying. This is because the fear of getting caught, and the resulting embarrassment, would be much bigger with severe consequences.