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Nicolas Roulin, Asper School of Business

Dealing with faking in job interviews

March 7, 2014 — 

Nicolas Roulin, Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management at the Asper School of Business, wants to understand what makes applicants fake it in job interviews and how companies can deal with it.

This research is mainly motivated, he says, by an interest in helping organizations improve their hiring process:

“When I talk with recruiters, hiring managers, or HR professionals, many of them emphasize how important it is to hire the most competent applicant, while eliminating those only pretending to be. Interestingly, many professionals think they can see when applicants lie to them in an interview. Yet, when asked how they do it, the most popular responses are generally I just know or I listen to my gut feeling, but there is no clear strategy nor any evidence that their approach is effective. My own research suggests that detecting faking is a very difficult task, even for experienced interviewers.”

Roulin’s methods of investigation include field studies and surveys to understand the factors influencing applicants’ use of honest and deceptive influence tactics (i.e., faking), experiments to see how interview format can help reducing such behaviours, and real-time video coding to examine to what extent interviewers can actually detect such behaviours.

So far, he says, his findings suggests that “when applicants use influence tactics, interviewers can correctly detect only about 20% of them. This is alarming, because it suggests that faking may help less-qualified applicants to get hired instead of more-qualified but honest ones,”

Fortunately, Roulin and his collaborators will continue their research to better understand what pressures applicants to fake, how companies can reduce the opportunities for applicants to fake, and how to train interviewers to be better faking detectors.


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