How Job Interviewers Can Spot a Liar (and How to Avoid Looking like a Liar)

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Do you conduct job interviews? Ever suspected the job candidate wasn't telling the truth? Here are some of the clues used to identify the 10 to 200 lies individuals tell each day:

  • Minimal self-reference or distancing language
  • Negative language
  • Overly simplistic
  • Convoluted sentence structure

These clues, laid out by Noah Zandan, CEO of Quantified Communications, in his TED-Ed presentation, "How to Spot a Liar," can help attorneys on both sides of the hiring table. For hiring attorneys, legal recruiters, and other interviewers, these are clues might alert you to delve deeper into the subject matter to find out if the job applicant is lying -- the estimate is some 53% of resumes are embellished and lawyers are no exception. Attorneys seem to be particularly prone to the little white lies surrounding rounding up their GPA, bar admission status, dates of employment, degrees and majors, and job titles.

For lawyers looking for jobs, it *should* go without saying that you shouldn't lie or misrepresent. Of course you want to present your background advantageous, but that's a far cry from lying or misleading. Everything you say -- whether in your resume or in your job interview -- should be able to pass a background check.

But it's also important to avoiding appearing to be dishonest. Practice talking about yourself and answering typical questions from job interviews so you don't inadvertently give off these clues and tank your job interview.

And, in case you were wondering, convoluted sentence structure is the problem I see most often for lawyers of all levels.