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Beware candidates when they ask …

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In the world of job interviews, lying is almost as common as it is annoying. When trying to determine whether someone is a good fit, hiring managers prefer to hear the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, since this will give them the best chance of hiring the right person for the job. Unfortunately, candidates can have a slightly different opinion on the matter and will tell themselves a little white lie won’t do any harm.

Although candidates can be expected to present themselves in the most favourable light, being dishonest is a slippery slope. When you hire a candidate who lied during their interview, they will have to continue that lie for the remainder of their time with the company. No matter how insignificant or unrelated to the job, the constant dishonesty won’t help create the open and trusting relationship you aim for with your staff.

To help hiring managers spot dishonesty during the early interview stages, Jacquelyn Smith and Áine Cain at Business Insider, created a helpful list of 11 phrases to listen out for. We’ve picked our five favourites below.

1. Do you do background checks?

Unless you’re interviewing candidates for a position that requires them to work with vulnerable people or sensitive information, there is no reason for candidates to be even thinking about background checks. Simply asking about it is no guarantee that they have something to hide, but make sure you find out exactly why they wanted to know and proceed with caution.

2. This is the one and only job I’m interested in

This is not true. Ever. Yes, this might be the job that most interests the candidate, out of the multiple ones that they’ve applied for. But it is not the only job on earth they want to do, and you are not the only hiring manager they’re interviewing with.

You want candidates to display an appropriate amount of enthusiasm for the job, but you also want them to remain honest. When they’re telling you this is the only job they want and they aren’t remotely interested in any other options, what else could they be exaggerating about?

3. What are grounds for termination?

If candidates wish to discuss company codes of conduct once you get to the contract signing stage of the hiring process, you can interpret that as a sign of diligence. When they broach the topic of termination during the first interview, that’s a red flag.

4. I was fired, but it wasn’t my fault

Finding out that a candidate was previously fired doesn’t need to be an insurmountable issue, depending on the situation. Having said that, if the first thing they tell you is that it wasn’t their fault, that’s not a good sign.

Situations can be complex and multiple factors may have influenced their former employer’s decision to fire them, but they should at least acknowledge their own conduct may have been one of those factors. If they don’t, they’re not only being dishonest; it also indicates a failure to take responsibility and learn from their mistakes.

5. I don’t have weaknesses

That’s a lie, plain and simple. Everyone has different qualities. Certain ones will help people thrive in their jobs, but others won’t be the best fit for a particular line of work. Those are weaknesses, and everyone has them.

A candidate telling you they don’t have any weaknesses could mean one of two things. Either they have a severe lack of self-knowledge, or they’re lying to your face.

ALSO READ: 10 ways to tell if a candidate is lying

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