SUBSCRIBE: Newsletter

Human Resources



10 ways to tell if a candidate is lying

Human Resources magazine and the HR Bulletin daily email newsletter:
Asia's only regional HR print and digital media brand.
Register for your FREE subscription now »

In a competitive job market, candidates are making an effort to present themselves in the most positive light possible. But how do you know whether your interviewee is simply putting their best foot forward, or making stuff up on the spot? Below are a few tips to help you cut the liars from your candidate list.

1. They’re not moving
Ever noticed an interviewee sitting particularly still? They might have been lying. According to a post on, people tend to feel uncomfortable when lying. To compensate for this feeling, they might sit unusually still.

2. They’re making rapid head movements
Conversely, specific movements could also be warning sign. For example, a quick change of head position right after you ask your candidate a question could indicate they’re about to tell a lie, according to body language expert and FBI consultant Dr. Lillian Glass.

3. They’re pointing at you
Pointing is another movement Glass warns against. When you find yourself being pointed at repeatedly by your interviewee, this could mean they’re feeling defensive or hostile as a result of their own lies.

4. They’re making excessive eye contact
You’ve probably found yourself across from a candidate making an abnormal amount of eye contact more than once. Apart from uncomfortable, this could be a sign that you’re being deceived. Too much eye contact could mean you’re dealing with an experienced liar, who will stare you down in an attempt to convince you of their story. On the other hand, a complete lack of eye contact could indicate a bad liar.

5. They’re faking it
Without making excessive eye contact yourself, try to pay close attention to your interviewee’s eyes. It could help you determine how excited they really are about the job. If they’re faking it, their smile won’t reach their eyes, meaning their eye muscles aren’t playing along, psychologist Erin Heery explains in an NBC article.

6. They’re building a wall
Even a seemingly small gesture like putting a restaurant menu or purse on the table suggests a candidate is distancing themselves from you, according to TED Talk speaker Pamela Meyer. So take note next time you spot someone putting up a physical barrier.

7. They’re covering their mouth
According to Empire Investigations, a candidate touching or covering their mouth is a bad news as it could indicate they’d rather not answer a question. So, unless you’ve just thrown a particularly strange question at them, be wary of job seekers covering their mouth.

8. They’re covering vulnerable parts of their body
It’s not just candidates who cover their mouth that should get your lie-detector skills up and running, says Glass. Moving their hands to vulnerable body parts such as neck, throat, or chest could indicate a job seeker is feeling particularly defensive and might have something to hide.

9. They’re biting their lip
Although someone biting their lip or inner cheeks doesn’t have to mean they’re lying, it is an indication that your candidate is feeling anxious, writes dentist Thomas P. Connely on The Huffington Post Blog. A bit of nerves are to be expected during interviews, but excessive anxiety could be a sign that someone isn’t telling the truth.

10. They’re out of breath
Is your candidate starting to sound out of breath? Unless you’re conducting the interview on the move, this could be a red flag. A change in heart rate and breathing could indicate someone is nervous and tense because they’re lying, Glass previously told Business Insider.

Again, a nervous candidate does not always equal a liar, so use your own skills and experience to assess the truthfulness of their answers.

ALSO READ: 23% of candidates have exaggerated the truth to get hired

Image: 123RF

Human Resources magazine and the HR Bulletin daily email newsletter:
Asia's only regional HR print and digital media brand.
Register for your FREE subscription now »

Read More News


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.