by Dan D. 8/13/16

Yeah, it’s an entertainment blog, but organizational behavior interests me, and entertainment is a business, so there’s how this all fits together. If you don’t buy that logic, we’re done here—I think Forbes, Inc, and MBAHole have content that’ll be far more to your liking.

Now to the topic: Have you ever read a blog entry that looked something like this—a hiring “expert” who claims to have a foolproof way to tell if a person they’re interviewing is telling you the truth? Ever felt during a job interview that the person on the other end was less interested in getting to know you and more focused on indulging their Lt. Columbo fetish?

If so, you’ve borne witness to a quotient of humanity with an unfortunately cynical view of the world. The job-interview-as-interrogation crowd is out there and dying to Voight-Kampff the truth out of you. It’s an approach rooted in fear that doesn’t get us the answers we want and may, in fact, make liars out of those who set out to tell the truth.

Why do some of us choose to treat others in this fashion? “Bad hires cost the company money, we can’t afford to bring someone on who can’t handle the job!” OK, yes, turnover is bad for the bottom line. We want to keep employees around we’ve invested in, not just because it’s fiscally wise to do so but because we care about them as people and want to provide them with a rewarding vector through which they can sustain their livelihoods.

One way to do that is to minimize workplace negativity from the get-go. Treat your new potential employee with respect from the moment you meet them, including and especially creating and maintaining a welcoming environment during the interview. Naïve and idealistic? Maybe. “How do we have time for that?” I don’t know, but don’t be a manager if you can’t figure out how to make difficult scheduling decisions.

Are there people who will lie and cheat to get the job they want? I don’t doubt it. I also think most people lie to a certain extent and that it’s a far more nuanced behavior than we give it credit for. We also aren’t as good at detecting duplicity as we believe ourselves to be.

If you’ve read through this and it’s reaffirmed your choice to treat job candidates as liars until proven truthful, so be it. All I ask is that you own your decision and perhaps consider switching in to a fulfilling career in law enforcement where society can make use of your built-in polygraph.