Lying on a psychological test – to try or not to try?


It is used in all possible situations, especially before elections, during war and after hunting. It is also used in the procedure of staff selection.

What is lying? The answer to this question is: Directly and knowingly not saying the truth when answering the question. It is used in all possible situations, especially before elections, during war and after hunting (as Churchill said). It is also used in the procedure of staff selection and not only by the candidates (code: „everybody does it, especially now when there are no jobs), but also by the employers (code: „we make false promises“).

Lying pays off if no one discovers we lied and if no one suspect what we said wasn’t true and starts checking facts. When discovered, all of a sudden lying causes a lot of trouble, because employers need someone they can trust, while workers need someone they can trust – a boss they believe and they can rely on.
It is known that the „atmosphere of mutual trust“ contributes to a stabile work atmosphere, which consequently contributes to a smaller fluctuation of workers and a lower number of sick leave and „false sick leave“. Fluctuations, sick leave and false sick leave cost the employee a lot. Also, lying on the first interview can cost you advancing in your career and sometimes even lead to terminating the business cooperation. However, if the candidate who is applying for a job is applying for the position of a spokesman for a politician, maybe lying is a good recommendation?

Apart from the conversations, that you are lying can come out in the tests. Firstly, personality test results can differ from the results of the interview. Because in the personality tests there are control scales of giving socially acceptable answers, scales of saying only the best about yourself, scales of giving uncommon answers and so on.

If the cheater wants to do „a good job on the test“, he will have to be careful about the questions that can reveal his intentions. This will take more concentration, energy, time to answer the questions, and actually more imagination that the average person needs (when someone wants to cheat, they have to be imaginative!). All of this is very noticeable, and sometimes it becomes obvious – for example, in the whole room there is one candidate left who is thinking very hard about a personality test.

Nevertheless, let’s say this step has been successfully completed. The next thing the candidate faces is the interview. During the interview it is possible to determine, using some paralinguistic signs, which are the candidates weaknesses and why. To tell the truth, if something is the candidate’s weakness, this doesn’t mean that he is immediately lying and that he has bad intentions. Today in Croatia there are some „amazing“ employers about who we cannot say anything good, so in these circumstances the candidates will probably say a couple of polite sentences and seem insincere while doing this.

However, if identical, unconvincing and empty structures are used throughout the interview, the interview will start doubting. Specifically, this implies the following:

  1. unusually long pauses while answering clear, direct and exact questions
  2. using buzzword verbs „I think that“, „I believe that“ and the words „maybe“, „certainly“ and similar (talking without substance and repeating words which don’t mean anything the speaker is just trying to buy time to think)
  3. a sudden stutter
  4. leaving out key parts and over-using emotional words
  5. jumping from topic to topic and using counter-questions
  6. tension and getting angry when there is no reason for it
  7. unnatural movements of the body and the face

If the potential liar has passed even this test, the next method is checking out facts. Every interviewer will write at least a couple of words on the candidate, and any kind of suspicious information (including letters of recommendation) can be verified, now easier than ever. Also, the interviewer can ask for additional information with which he will verify what the candidate claims.

Interviewer can confront the candidate, he can act that he’s hooked (thus the liar believes he can lie even more) and he can simply write a NO on the candidate’s CV, calmly end the conversation and leave the candidate thinking he made a great impression.

And after all of this, if the candidate really makes a good impression, it is possible that the company will recommend such for a similar job position in, for example, a business partner’s company. The opposite also applies, if we catch the candidate lying at the interview, his chances of getting a recommendation are getting smaller.

And if the liar passed even this, final step and got the job he wanted, I am not sure he will be satisfied on the given workplace, because people of such amazing skills are desperately looking (and paying very well) for a job in another place – Hollywood.