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How to Tell If a Candidate Is Lying in a Job Interview

by | May 11, 2021 | interviews

Some candidates will do anything to get a job, including lie. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to tell if candidates are lying?

With some observation skills, you may be able to catch someone lying in a job interview.

How to tell if someone is lying in a job interview

Want to know how to detect a lie during an interview? Use the following interview tips to judge a candidate’s verbal and nonverbal communication.

Body language when someone is lying

There are typical body movement signs that might signal that a candidate is lying.

If a candidate is fidgeting a lot, they might be lying. This can include tapping or shuffling their feet, playing with their fingers, or shifting in their chair.

Sudden movements might also be a sign of lying. For example, a candidate who was calm and relatively still suddenly starts fiddling with their hands.

Lip biting is another sign someone might be lying. It might indicate that they are nervous about what they are saying.

Also, look for gestures that conflict with what the candidate is saying. For example, a candidate confirms that they have 10 years of experience and excel in the job duties. But while the candidate is saying this, they are shuffling their feet and shaking their head. This might tell you that the candidate is lying.

Eye movement

A candidate’s eyes can tell you a lot about their truthfulness.

If a candidate won’t look you in the eyes, they might be trying to hide something. See how long they look at you. They might look away or frequently shift their gaze away. Looking at the floor or their feet is another sign the candidate might be lying.

Changes in voice

Listen to the candidate’s voice as they talk. How they say things is just as important as what they say.

Changes in a candidate’s vocal pitch might be a sign they are lying. For example, a candidate’s voice might get higher or lower if they are lying.

Also, the candidate’s tone might change. If they are lying, they might get loud, become monotone, whisper, or make another tone adjustment.

Sudden pauses and stammering are also possible lies of deception. A candidate might be trying to stall for time so they can think through their story.


Pay attention to what candidates actually say.

Listen for the details in the candidate’s responses. If there is a lack of details, it might be because the candidate doesn’t have any real information to support what they’re saying.

Also, watch out for the opposite. If a candidate overshares, it might be because they are trying to cover up their lack of information.

Make sure what the candidate says matches what they said on their resume. If their interview responses don’t match the resume, they may have lied during the interview or used common resume lies.

After the interview

When the interview is over, check up on what the candidate said. Use your applicant tracking system to store candidate information so you can easily reference it.

Do a job reference check to verify the candidate’s work experience. Also, check the candidate’s educational background. Make sure the candidate got the degrees and certifications they claim to have.

Also, research the candidate on the internet. A quick internet search can pull up information about the candidate’s past work experience, education, and other background information. Check their social media profiles. Their posts, photos, and interests can tip you off about potential lies.

Other considerations

While the above tips can help you spot someone lying in a job interview, they aren’t always accurate indicators of deception.

While some verbal and nonverbal signs can tell you that a candidate is lying, they might not be a true indicator for all people. To combat this, observe how the candidate behaves as a whole. Watch for body language and responses that deviate from their norm. These deviations can tell you more than the typical lying signs.

Remember, candidates might be stressed they are being interviewed. As a result, they might act strangely. For example, a candidate might be shifty because they are nervous, not because they are lying.

You should also consider the different body language norms of other cultures. What you might consider to be lying behavior might be normal, desired behavior in another culture.