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Dishonest candidates - What to do when a candidate lies

Dishonest candidates

You found the perfect candidate - they had the right experience, the right qualifications and they said all the right things. But what happens when things aren’t as they seem?

While it’s normal to put forward the best version of ourselves when applying for a position, a dishonest candidate is someone who misrepresents their suitability for the role.

Dishonest candidates can cause big problems for companies if they end up being hired. That’s why it’s so important to conduct rigorous candidate screening, including psychometric testing. 
 

How to spot a dishonest candidate

It’s not always easy to tell when a candidate is being dishonest. Sometimes, they may exaggerate their qualifications on a CV, or embellish their level of experience at an interview.

Add to this that an interview should never feel like an interrogation. We shouldn’t be using the application process as an opportunity to ‘sniff out’ a dishonest candidate. In fact,  68% of workers would be hesitant to work for  a company if the interviewer was aggressive or confrontational, according to our research.

So, how do you avoid being caught out by a dishonest candidate? There are a few steps you can take:

Follow a detailed candidate screening process

Carefully check all applicants’ qualifications and experience against your job description, and consider setting some simple aptitude or psychometric test pre-interview to weed out unqualified candidates.


Ask competency-based interview questions 

Candidates should be able to give specific examples of times they performed similar tasks and responsibilities to those required within your role. 


Set aptitude tests

For those who make it past the first interview, consider setting more complex aptitude tests such as verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning. This should reveal whether the candidates’ claims about their abilities are accurate. 


Check qualifications as well as references

It’s commonplace to check references, but less common to verify a candidate’s qualifications and education. If you’re in any doubt about whether you’re dealing with a dishonest candidate, you can verify their qualifications by asking to see physical copies of their certifications - such as a diploma, degree or membership of a chartered association. 
 

What to do if you hire a dishonest candidate

What happens if you’ve already hired a candidate who later turned out to have lied on their CV or application?

Although a tricky situation to navigate, there are steps you can take to protect your company.

Don’t accuse the employee of lying 
Your employee’s performance may cause you to question whether they lied on their CV or during an interview. But, it’s important never to make claims about an employee without proof. In fact - you don’t necessarily even need to prove that the employee lied, because…

HR can help 

You should involve your HR team as soon as you suspect an employee may have fudged the truth to secure their role. HR can help by checking whether the employee’s performance is meeting the conditions of the role. If not, this may be grounds for contract termination. 



Conduct a thorough investigation

If HR deems it necessary, they can help you to conduct a fair and thorough investigation into the employee’s application, experience and qualification. They may retroactively ask for documentation or speak with the employee directly. This may eventually lead to dismissal. 

Take legal advice

In addition to following HR processes, you should also seek legal advice to protect your company and ensure you cannot face legal action for unfair dismissal. By following HR and legal advice to the letter, you can make sure the process of dismissing an employee who lied during their application takes place correctly.


Finding the right candidates

CV screening and psychometric testing are some of the first steps to take when searching for the best talent for your team. Find out how to interview candidates in our new report.

 

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