Question Proposed on LinkedIn: How to Spot a Half Truth Answer in an Interview?
- While spotting a lie is extremely difficult, learning to spot a half truth is a lot easier. For me a half- truth is when the candidate is giving me a “grain of truth” in their answer, but isn’t quite giving me the full story. Our jobs as the interviewer are to notice when this happening, zero in on it and ask more questions. In order to correctly spot a half-truth, you will need to learn to recognize verbal red flags. Here are a few easy techniques to get you started…Verbal red flags - It sounds off: If it sounds off, it probably is. Why? Because as human beings we are hardwired to protect ourselves from danger; this includes picking up on stories that sound off. Your subconscious processes information a lot faster than your conscious mind; it also has the ability spot potential danger before you are even aware there may be a problem. A half-truth could signal potential danger and that’s what your gut is responding to. Trust your gut and ask more questions. Inconsistent timeline: If the information changes, even slightly, red flag! One trick I use is to have the person give me a timeline and then recount the information backwards. The interviewee won’t be able to recount any information that isn’t true. Why? Because it hasn’t happened and therefore the information isn’t locked into the subconscious along with the real experience.Change in manners: I prefer to have interviewees call me by my first name. I do this for two reasons, first, to put them at ease. Second, when a candidate switches from calling me by my first name to addressing me formally or actually attempts to call me by my last name (trust me, it’s a weird one and hard to pronounce), I know something’s up. Freudian slips: Here’s a trick I learned studying law enforcement interviewing techniques. Take whatever the candidate says at face value. For example, if they tell you they were” fired” then quickly change their answer to “resigned,” go with their first statement and ask them about being fired. The theory is the body wants to alleviate the stress level as quickly as possible. The quickest way to accomplish this…tell the truth. Keep in mind when any of the above occur, it’s not a hard indicator of lying. Instead see the above as indicators your job isn’t finished and you need to ask more questions. Finally, don’t forget to remain neutral as you ask follow up questions. You’ll have an easier time getting the information you need if the other person isn’t on the defensive. Learning to spot half-truth can be fun. Have fun with it! (from Alicia Cuello)
- Tell the truth. Wow, what an ideal to bestow! But honestly, honesty is the best practice. The last thing you want to do is get caught up in ahs, ums, ers, etc. It’s embarrassing and will lead you to the exit sign. I agree in that asking more questions can help, but try to turn your inexperience into experience. If the item they’re describing has any relation to your skill sets, then explain to them how you relate. Don’t justify your answer at the beginning either by saying, “well I don’t have that type of experience, but I can kind of relate along the lines when working on this project back at…” yada, yada, yada. Don’t preface! Just start explaining that project and make sure everything you pull from that project’s work is material related to the interviewer’s question.