I have only ever stopped an interview early once.

Most of the time, I let an interview run its full course -even if after meeting the candidate I know it’s not going to be a good fit.

I think it’s just the respectful thing to do. The candidate has gone to the effort of completing an application, researching for the interview and dressing the part. In doing so, they’ve earned the right to your time.

So why did I stop the interview?

Simple. He wasted my time.

He lied on his CV.

And I called him out on it.

Let me provide you some context. The role I was interviewing for was a frontline leadership position to a complex team within a highly regulated and technical environment.

In the advertisement and the PD, we had talked at length about needing someone with strong experience in leading dynamic teams. Not hard right? Obvious requirement.

Fast forward to the interview of a candidate whose CV we were particularly impressed with. He had strong technical experience and demonstrated success in leading teams through change.

Or so we thought.

We had built the interview guide around leadership, technical ability and values-fit. The three points of a perfect candidate triangle.

I think it’s fair to say most recruiters and people who work in HR have a strong “BS” detector. People in the business of people generally can sniff out what’s truth and what’s not.

Like, for example, when we started asking the candidate for examples of good leadership and there was a very distinct inability to draw on the “extensive experience” outlined in his CV – my detector starting dinging away.

So I probed.

I asked question after question about his experience, referring to his CV and previous roles.

And finally, content that he had lied, I called him out on it.

To his credit, he ‘fessed up:

Ok – I have no leadership experience, but we all embellish on our CV’s a little, right?

And so for the first (and only) time in my career, I ended the interview then and there.

Here’s the thing though – in a 2017 benchmark report by HireRight, 85% of a group of surveyed HR and recruitment professionals had caught out applicants lying on their CV.

Recruiters don’t just ask questions or do pre-employment checks for the sake of it.

We use behavioural based questions specifically designed to uncover the truth about your experience.

We use employment verification checks to ensure you did what you claimed to do.

We uncover the truth – it’s just part of our job.

So next time, instead of lying about what you haven’t done (because I can almost guarantee that you’ll be called out on it) – write in the cover letter “I have limited experience in this area, but I’m motivated and a quick learner”. Or go and work hard to get the experience and apply the next time it’s advertised.

The moral of this article is this: skills can be taught, and experience comes with time, but liars generally get caught out.

Don’t embellish. Just tell the truth.

Because somehow, recruiters always know.

This article was written by Harvest Recruitment & HR Principal Consultant and Human Resources Lead, Aaron Hussey.

Join our mailing list

Get tips like this delivered straight to your inbox. We promise we don’t spam!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.