How to tell if someone is lying

Shifty eyes aren't necessarily a sign someone is lyingPhoto: ShutterStock

While most people may interpret darting, unfocused eyes as one of the classic signs that someone is lying, it’s vital to consider the context of the behaviour. For example, experienced poker players are careful not to make too much of eye “tells.” People usually look to the left or right when thinking about an answer. Someone not making eye contact should arouse suspicion, but eye contact, cautions Woods, can be a tricky evaluation tool: consider that a psychopath can look you in the eye and lie with ease. And in some cultures, it’s considered inappropriate to maintain eye contact.

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How to read body language for signs someone is lyingPhoto: ShutterStock

Photo: ShutterStock

4. How to read body language for signs someone is lying

Even though a high percentage of communication is thought to be non-verbal, no single part of the body—such as the eyes or hands—reveals the whole story when it comes to lying. Campbell says people who are lying often become more still: Hand gestures that normally accompany talking may occur with less frequency or intensity, and there may be fewer arm and leg movements. “The person becomes more focused on telling the lie,” explains Campbell, “so they get quieter in their body.”

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Trip up a liar by asking questions quicklyPhoto: ShutterStock

Photo: ShutterStock

3 Areas For Consideration

  • There are also a few factors that I would like to point out for assessing someone that should be considered which will give a strong guidance as to their suitability to a role: Do they typically dress the part? Do they speak with the right terminology? Do they have the right level of confidence that should be associated with the position being interviewed for?
  • During an interview there are many factors that can work as disablers for the interviewer to tell if the candidate is actually coming across as strong as they should be. These factors include: interview jitters, lack of preparation by the candidate or just poor communication skills. These factors should gradually lessen as an interview continues and the interviewer should sooner or later get what they need.
  • So that leaves us with the main problem of the screening process, is the candidate telling the truth or are they simply lying at interview? And by this we need it to be an accurate truth, not an exaggerated version that is tailored just to please the interviewer.
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3 Ways to Tell if Someone is Lying at interview

  • Detailed Content “ This is the best possible way, in my opinion, to catch out an individual who may be lying at interview is to drill down on the details! This involves delving into the details of a project or role that will really show the knowledge a person has for that process. The information questions that need to be asked here will need to be thorough and relevant. An example here would be to analyse a specific project: How many people involved in the project? Exactly what percentage improvement was made and where exactly? How long did it take and what resistance was met? Anyone that cannot respond to detailed questions did not have the control over the project to the extent that perhaps they lead to believe.
  • Over compensating“ If a candidate is over stating the same point or skill, time and time again, to an unnecessary extent it should cause doubt in their ability to actually do what they are saying. This may be the candidate trying to convince themselves that they are able to do a task and therefore increases the importance of drilling down on the details. Most ambitious people believe that they are able to take on the next level, but this doesn’t mean they have already gained the necessary experience yet.
  • Body language“ the use of body language plays such a large role in any face to face communication. When a person is lying at interview they usually show one of the following attributes; a change in their style of communication from their normal style, to a less animated, more closed style of communication. A change in their eye contact patterns with the interviewers, usually the avoidance of eye contact is another big indicator someone is not being 100% honest about the content of their conversation.
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Although when selecting a new member for your team or division there is usually a references check that can establish if the candidate has delivered on what they have said during an interview process, however, this will typically be after 2 or 3 interviews, plus perhaps phone and skype calls also, which are all time consuming and use company resources. Identifying a candidate’s suitability in a 1st stage meeting can save time and money.

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