Coburg Banks | Multi-sector UK recruitment agency

12 Body Language Blunders That Will Make YOU Look Like a Liar

By James Ball | Nov 25, 2015 | Candidate Tips

anchorman saying ' I don't believe you'55% of human communication is non-verbal. Business Balls

Next time you’re spinning someone a line, you might want to remember that!

Of course, in an interview situation, it’s almost impossible NOT to tell a couple of lies – at the very least you’ll probably exaggerate.

Don’t let your body language give you away!

Below, we’ve outlined 12 of the most ruthless body language blunders that betray lying, fibbing or exaggerating job candidates.

Of course, we’ve related them to interviews, but our tips can be extended to everyday life too (who knows? They might help YOU spot a liar!)

(Also – we’d really appreciate it if you used our words for good, not evil!)

Eye Language

man with dilated pupilsIf you can’t look your potential employer straight in the eye and keep glancing towards the floor, you’re going to look pretty, bloody, sneaky – so try and keep it together!

Keep calm, keep good solid eye contact, without staring someone out.

Myth buster: It is generally believed that right-handed people will look to the right when recalling something honestly however most professionals have admitted that this is a highly inaccurate way of sensing deception.

So – don’t look up to the left in a bid to appear more honest – it’s really not necessary and you could end up looking even more suspicious.

1. Deviating eye movements.

What interviewers will actually look out for is any sudden deviation from your “eye-language” baseline.

So, for example, if you always look up to the left when answering questions truthfully (they’ll check it out when you give them your name – hopefully not a lie) and then all of a sudden, your eyes dart to the right when recalling something, they may suspect you of lying.

Recruiter Pro Tip

We always tell our clients that there’s no foolproof way to lie-detect another human being.

But certain body language signs, like irregular, darting eye language, could trigger natural suspicion (like a sort of intuition).

They may suspect you of lying, without having a clue why!

Try to avoid all extremes, for example, don’t excessively blink but don’t refrain from blinking altogether! Don’t keep averting your eyes, but don’t stare for too long.

Your Voice.

loads of pictures of lips and mouthsMyth Buster: it simply isn’t true that liars give themselves away with strangled, high-pitched tones. In fact, the voice can naturally appear higher due to a heart rate increase, because of stress.

Have you ever gone all high-pitched and squeaky during an interview? Now you know why!

5 things that actually do betray lies (avoid at all costs)…

2. Sudden changes in speech.

If you suddenly drop an octave or completely slow down or speed up your speech, it implies that your answer isn’t coming naturally… now why could that be?

3. Sudden (long) pauses.

Again, this could imply that you can’t quite find the right words to say, so you’re fabricating a story.

Look – it’s OK to pause occasionally during an interview for hard questions and tricky brainteasers – but if a fairly ordinary question like ‘why are you leaving your current company?’ leaves you lost for words, then it will definitely seem suspicious.

4. Sudden throat clearing.

When you get really, really nervous, your throat actually dries up, as the central nervous system reduces salivary flow.

This will mean you have to stop and clear your throat – fine if you’ve been doing it throughout the entire interview – but if certain questions are making you uncomfortable, your interviewer will wonder why.

5. Too much information!

Have you ever listened to someone blabber on for ages in response to a fairly straightforward question and then wondered – what on earth just happened?

Chances are you’ve been lied to! A good liar will take the opportunity to cloud a simple issue, including masses of detail to deflect your attention.

Don’t make the mistake of doing this yourself… at best you’ll come across confused and nervous – at worst, you’ll come across suspicious and untrustworthy.

6. Speaking in the third person.

Bad liars will often try to distance themselves from a lie.

If you ever hear yourself starting to speak in truncated sentences, dropping “me”, “my” and “I” altogether or even speaking in third person, STOP!

You’ll come across weird AND suspicious.

Bodily Conduct

kermit looking nervousNow that you’ve got your voice and eyes in check, it’s time to think about the rest of your body!

Make sure that you’re not…

7. Fidgeting too much.

Are you a fidget? That’s OK (to an extent) it’s expected in an interview.

But, if you are calm and still and then all of a sudden starts fidgeting a lot then that heavily implies that something’s not quite right.

Keep it together.

8. Fidgeting too little.

On the other hand, if you suddenly go really, really still, in fact noticeably so, then chances are, your interviewer will notice.

It will look like you’re feeling particularly uncomfortable and thus, trying extra hard not to give the game away!

9. Shuffling your feet.

Too much shuffling will definitely betray discomfort… like you’re desperately trying to run away!

10. Sudden movements.

We’ve talked about sudden changes from the norm in this blog and your body is obviously the biggest indicator when you suddenly feel nervous/threatened.

Look out for the sudden shifts in posture, don’t move your head too jerkily and try not to pick or bite your fingers or skin (despite anything else, it’s gross)!

11. Covering up.

When you lie, you might feel the urge to cover up your vulnerable organs… it’s a natural response to feeling threatened.

Covering your mouth, throat, chest and abdomen (and any other important body parts…) could ring your interviewer’s natural alarm bells.

Face-touching is a classic lying response – we see it all the time in interviews. Savvy interviewers will be looking out for it – so beware!

12. Lip Biting and Pursing.

When apprehensively lying, the nervous system will stop sending blood to the extremities, as its focus is distracted elsewhere.

So if you feel yourself biting your lip to get some feeling back, STOP! It looks suspect!

Don’t worry…

If you take a glance online, you’ll find heaps of resources, emphasising a wide variety of body language “blunders” that “reveal” all sorts about a person.

In fact we wrote one ourselves, recently… 20 Body Language Blunders You Mustn’t Make During Interviews.

In truth, someone would need a psychology degree (and more) to understand every micro-expression, twitch and movement – so don’t worry too much.

Just relax, compose yourself and try not to make any jerk reactions (you particularly don’t want to betray any negative emotions, such as anger).

If you’d like any more advice on interviewing, CV-writing or your career in general, click here to subscribe to our weekly update!

Good luck!

- James Ball

James Ball

James is the founder and owner of Coburg Banks and a recruitment expert from Sutton Coldfield in the UK.  He regularly advises companies on how to improve and get the maximum ROI from their recruitment processes.

> More blog posts by James Ball

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