A quick way to tell if somebody is not telling the truth during an interview

I see the good in people and give everyone the benefit of the doubt, unless it is obvious that they are being deceptive.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you see it) I have become adept at noticing certain patterns of behavior that reveal when people are trying to shade the truth.  This is not limited to candidates; partners in law firms do the same things.  As a recruiter, part of the value I add is to do my best to find out the truth and cut through the bull – this way, candidates and law firms can make the best, most informed decisions and minimize the chances of making bad choices during the lateral hiring process.

When I first started recruiting, I used to beat around the bush regarding difficult questions.  I was reluctant to ask somebody if they were laid off, so I’d circle around the question such as, “How were your reviews?”  As I became more experienced and comfortable recruiting, I started being much more blunt (in the most respectful way) and figured out numerous interesting patterns.

Here’s one particular strategy you can use – it’s called narrow-pause (yes, I made that up).  When you ask somebody a narrow question that requires a yes or no answer (for example, “Were you asked to leave your firm?”), if the person pauses right after you ask the question, this often indicates they are processing the question to determine whether the honest answer will help or hurt their goal.  For example, if I ask a candidate, “Were you asked to leave your firm?” and they reply with, “Was I asked to leave?” or “What do you mean?” this is essentially a pause that buys them time to figure out how to answer the question.  If they immediately answer a narrow question with a “yes” or “no”, this is most likely to be a truthful response.  This can also be used by candidates with law firms: if you ask a partner a narrow question such as “Do you like practicing here?” and the partner responds with, ”Wow, that’s a great question”, the partner is grasping for a pause to enable a second to process how to best answer the question in the most politically correct fashion.

If you think this type of stuff is interesting (especially litigators who do a lot of investigation-type of work), check out Janine Driver, an expert on deception techniques: http://www.lyintamer.com/.

Here is the original post: Lateral Attorney Report