How recruiters tell you’re lying in an interview

November 25, 2014
2 mins

Experience is gold and that is one of the main things that you should show in any kind of interview. Hiring decisions are made much faster if you’ve had the experience of working in the job position the company is hiring for. Also, if a company is about to embark on something that you’ve already done, you’re already a valuable asset.

Lying in an interview isn’t uncommon. And the best kind of lies is half-truths. It’s really effective, as you sound as if you know what you’re talking about. Many candidates are guilty of this.

Of course, with bigger companies, there are checks and balances and background checks, where you can immediately call their bluff. But for smaller companies, where the budget is not available, unworthy candidates can slip through the cracks, costing the company a lot in the long run.

But, there’s a way to stop that too.

In a recent interview, Elon Musk shared his mantra of catching a candidate’s bluff at an interview. He believes that the way a person learns is through books, resources and talking to people. But beyond that, problems are the biggest teachers for a candidate.

The question that catches the bluff is – What is the biggest problem you’ve faced in your previous job, and how did you overcome it?

The recruiter may or may not know the answer to that question. It is in the way the candidate goes about answering the question that the recruiter figures out whether the candidate is lying or not. Someone who has struggled with a problem will never forget it. The learning imparted by the problem is something neither a book or a conversation with a person can ever give.

The recruiter will look for how detailed your break-down of the problem is. They will see how much you struggled with the problem and how many times you failed in your attempts to solve the problem. Also, they will look for clarity in the way you speak, which will come naturally if you’ve really struggled with the problem. (Also read – Technical interview tips – Beyond Fizzbuzz test)

As a candidate, you must remember to talk about how you’ve overcome your problems in your previous job. It is also a great idea to talk about your failures too, as long as you’ve learned something from it. Don’t shy away from these things, thinking that they make you look vulnerable. They not only show that you’re a learner, it also shows that you’re not lying!


About the Author

Raghu Mohan
Raghu is an engineering grad handles Marketing at HackerEarth. Prior to this, he was an editor at When he’s not working, you can find him at the nearest music shop having a jam session.

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