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How Do Interviewers Try to Tell If You Are Lying?

Before we answer the question that’s the title of today’s post, let’s say one thing. We are not writing today’s post to help you lie during job interviews, or because we want to teach you how to lie without getting caught. We are writing it because there are times like these when you want to tell the truth, but don’t want to tell the whole story:

Your interviewer asks, “Why did you leave your last job?” and you don’t want to say, “Because my boss was an idiot.” So you answer, “I wanted to stop working in a clothing store and get a job in customer service.”
Your interviewer asks, “Tell me about your biggest weakness,” and you don’t want to say, “I’m kind of shy.” So you answer, “I sometimes have a hard time balancing work with being a parent, but I’m finding some good ways to do that.”
You get the idea. You’re not lying, just finding some creative ways to answer tough questions.

So, what kind of techniques do interviewers use to tell if you’re stretching the truth, fibbing, or lying? Here’s what you need to know.

Interviewers Look for Times when Your Behavior Changes

That’s the biggest clue they look for. They’re probably going to think you’re lying when you do one of the following things when answering a question:

You suddenly sit up straight, slump down, cross or uncross your legs, or do something else to change your body position.
You show a “masking behavior,” like pushing your eyeglasses further up your nose before or while you answer.
You smile or frown, when you haven’t been doing that before.
Your voice suddenly gets louder or softer, or higher or lower.
You suddenly begin to speak faster or more slowly.
You make a hand gesture that is exaggerated or different from anything you have done before.
You wipe your face, adjust your hair, play with an item of jewelry, or use your hands to do something else for the first time.
You look out the window, at the exit door, at your feet, or somewhere else for the first time. That can send a message to your interviewer that you are trying to escape.
You take a little too much time to figure out what your answer will be, or rush to answer too quickly.
You pull your resume out of your briefcase, take your glasses out of their case, or suddenly get involved with some new object.
You get the idea. As soon as you do something that’s a lot different from what you did before in your interview, a trained interviewer starts to think that he or she has discovered something fishy.

How the Smartest Interviewers Try to Tell If You Are Lying

Here’s what some really smart interviewers do to confirm that they have discovered when you have not answered a question with complete honestly:

They don’t confront you at once when they think you have lied when answering a question, but they make a note of times when they think you have.
If they think you fibbed when answering a question, they ask it again later in the interview. If you pushed your eyeglasses up your nose when you answered, “Tell me about your last boss,” for example, they wait until later in the interview and ask the question more aggressively, with a statement like, “So let’s go back to what you hated so much about your last boss.” If you get flustered, push your eyeglasses up your nose again or do something different from what you have done before, they think they have caught you in a fib and will probably ask even more questions about your boss until you “come clean” and explain more.
What Are Your Defenses?

Again, the purpose of today’s post is to help you handle interviews like a pro, not hide the fact that you are lying. But the fact is that you can learn to be more convincing when answering those “tough questions.” Here’s how:

Make a list of the toughest questions you will probably have to answer. Be as hard on yourself as you can when you make this list.
Decide how you will answer those questions honestly and tell the interviewer what he or she will want to know.
Spend lots of time practicing your answers, so you can deliver your answers calmly and believably.
If you prepare this way, you’ll field tough questions calmly and show you are ready to take on a new job. Who knows? You might even turn those little fibs into friends.

Ready to Get those Interviews Started?

If you are, it’s time to get set up on Apploi. It’s easy. Email your resume to apploimyresume@apploi.com. We’ll send you an email with instructions for activating your job search account. It’s as easy as that. You’ll be applying for great jobs in no time and acing those interviews too.

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