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8 Credible Steps To Become A Successful Interviewer

Have you ever conducted an interview and were unsure if the individual was being 100% honest? If so, then this article is for YOU! We all know that the largest cost in any business is usually payroll. In order to have loyal, hardworking and HONEST team members, you NEED to hire appropriately. As private investigators, we have an obligation to our clients to ensure the highest levels of integrity and that all starts with us as business owners and who we HIRE. This article will assist you with hiring the ‘right’ candidate within your business. 

According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, $50 billion is stolen annually from U.S. Businesses by their employees. That is almost equivalent to $137 million a DAY that comes right off the bottom line from all of the companies combined throughout the nation. This is a staggering amount, which can possibly be blamed on our economy, maybe a company’s culture but I personally believe it ALL starts and can be prevented during the hiring process.

There have been dishonest people throughout the world for thousands of years and obviously this will continue but the question is not one’s level of integrity but why are we hiring someone who is being dishonest during the interview?  Since, I am sure no one would knowingly hire someone who was being deceptive during an interview; I could only assume it is because the interviewer is not aware of the non-verbal modes of communication that occur during every conversation. 

We are going to cover eight CREDIBLE steps that will assist you within the hiring process as well as make your interviews more effective, which in turn will help you make a better choice when attempting to hire the ‘right’ person for the job. 




According to the Society of Human Resource managers, 53% of people lie on their resume. So, that means more than half of the people you interview will have inaccurate information on their resume/application. If reviewing a resume, you should be aware of time gaps, numerous employers, education level and experience in the position they are applying for. If you are reviewing an application, you should be pay close attention to the reasons for leaving prior employment, criminal convictions and missing names/numbers of previous employers. This is the information you can use to base some of your questions on during an actual interview.




Now, some business locations will not give you any information regarding an applicant and may have you contact their corporate office. However, it doesn’t hurt to try and who knows, you may get some very insightful information that you could use in your interview. So, please ensure you are taking notes while conducting your reference checks and use these notes as a guide with regards to their prior employment, education and additional skills they CLAIM to have on their resume or application.




You can do this by placing a ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ sign on the door, turning off your mobile phone, asking them to turn their phone off and/or unplugging any landline phones in the interviewing area. Then remove the barrier that most interviewers have when conducting an interview. You know the barrier I am referring to. Come out from behind your desk and place two chairs facing each other in the middle of the room with nothing in between them. Now, you the interviewer should be sitting in a rolling chair, preferably one with a back and arm rests. The interviewee should be sitting in a stationary chair without wheels or arm rests. This will help you read their body language during the interview and they will not be able to roll their chair to release nervous energy.





You should be doing 20% of the talking as they should be doing 80% of the talking, which can be accomplished by asking open ended questions. For instance, "Tell me about a time you were terminated by one of your previous employers." as opposed to "Have you ever been terminated by one of your previous employers?" The first question is open and will cause the guilty party to think more about the answer, which in turn may cause non-verbal modes of communication or body language markers of discomfort. This can help you identify the dishonest candidate and actually motivate them to be honest about their previous performance issues as well as why they were terminated. We will talk more about that in step # 5. The latter of the two questions is closed and could be easily answered with a simple ‘no’, whether they were or were not terminated in the past.




An honest person will usually speak with confidence and in a timely manner to the question being asked. Using the example above, an honest person after hearing the question "Tell me about a time you were terminated by one of your previous employers." will quickly reply; “I have never been terminated!” if they in fact have not been. However, the dishonest candidate may pause and take a moment to think before answering that question because of how it was asked. Since a simple yes or no doesn’t fit, they will need to think a bit more about the actual time they WERE terminated! That pause in answering can mean a few things such as them thinking about, which job of the many they may have been terminated from or they may be deciding whether to be honest with you or not (Internal Dialogue). That is when your rolling chair comes into play and is used to move in just a bit closer and with a soft spoken tone of voice say something like: “Hey, we're both human and we all make mistakes and bad decisions sometimes. What happened?” This rationalization is how you can motivate them to be more honest with regards to answering that question.




Please keep in mind when reading body language, these markers or ‘tells’ must come in clusters and be timely with the questions asked. Just observing one or two of the body language markers below does NOT mean the candidate in being deceptive. These behaviors are usually associated with individuals who are nervous in general and that would be a normal feeling during an interview. However, we all know that a person being deceptive will most likely be nervous as well. So, be mindful of the following ‘tells’:

·       Tone of voice

·       Eye contact/movement

·       Red/flush/blotchy skin

·       Body alignment

·       Hesitation with answers

·       Breathing pace

·       Open or closed body language

·       Avoiding questions

·       Position of legs/feet

·       Look for unusual reactions

·       Dramatic changes in body position

·       Negative tone on specific questions

·       Wringing of hands/repeated rubbing or scratching

Once again, please keep in mind when reading body language, the aforementioned markers or ‘tells’ must come in clusters and be timely with the questions asked. Just observing one or two of the body language markers above does NOT mean the candidate in being deceptive. You are merely evaluating comfort levels to the questions being asked. 




Another body language marker to pay close attention to are the facial micro-expressions that happen in a fifth of a second, which can let you know what emotion they are truly feeling at the very moment the question is asked. The Seven Basic Emotions are Anger, Contempt, Disgust, Fear, Happiness, Sadness and Surprise. These emotions have been scientifically proven to have a certain facial expression associated with them, which you can see below in the photos that were provided by 

Credible Security Solution’s

Humintell’s emotion recognition training features images of individuals portraying the 7 basic emotions: Anger, Contempt, Fear, Disgust, Happiness, Sadness and Surprise.




So, you feel this is the person you would like to hire? I would strongly suggest having EVERY potential employee read and sign a background check consent form, credit check consent form as well as a drug test consent form.

Once they are provided with these documents, they have been informed that these extra preventive measures are in place, which may in turn make them reconsider employment if they KNOW you are checking all three areas. If they sign the forms, ensure all three checks are actually completed. To learn more about background checks, please click here. 

In conclusion, there are numerous tools you can use to ensure you are conducting a successful interview. The eight steps mentioned above are a few of the basics needed in order to become a successful interviewer and assist you within the hiring process. If you truly want to master the art of interviewing, then you should NOT miss our presentation entitled "Interviews For Success: An insiders approach to reading body language." We discuss open ended questions, facial micro-expressions and how to read body language effectively. We only conduct this presentation publicly ONCE a year so don't miss the opportunity or you can have us speak at your next corporate gathering. To learn more about our class on detecting deception, please see the video below. 

Please share your thoughts in the comment section along with the special hashtag that you found in the article. 

The main points in this article were published in The Texas Investigator Magazine, Winter 2014 edition.

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