Hiring Process Recruiting

Lies and Half-Truths: How to Spot Deceitful Candidate Answers


There are times when finding stand-out candidates to fill your medical sales jobs seems impossible. However, if you place the wrong talent, you run the risk of them leaving soon after being hired. This reflects poorly on your recruiting abilities.

Still, talent acquisition leaders are increasingly hitting a wall when trying to source and place qualified professionals. In fact, of the 265 recruiters surveyed in the 2017 MRI Network Recruiter Sentiment Study, 63 percent said they have trouble finding enough suitable candidates to fill positions.

When this happens, it’s easy to overlook warning signs of trouble candidates. In other cases, candidates may seem like a great fit in the interview, but end up not living up to the qualifications and character traits they projected in the hiring process.

Here’s how you can spot lackluster candidates and filter them out before making costly placement mistakes:

1) See through their smooth-talking disguise

Good salespeople can easily mask negatives while highlighting positives. While this is an excellent quality when they’re selling products, it’s difficult to get a solid understanding of their skills and abilities when they’re selling themselves for a job.

Every candidate has some flaws and let’s face it, interviews make even the best talent nervous. When questions are answered with a smoothness that makes you think it was rehearsed, it probably was. Trouble candidates analyze and prepare for potential questions from every angle so they won’t be caught in a lie.

In this case, it’s best to try adding in one or two off-the-wall questions to throw the candidate off guard and assess how they recover to answer genuinely. As an added benefit, their responses will also provide you with helpful insight into how they approach problems, adapt, and make quick decisions.

These questions can be simple “What’s your favorite local Italian restaurant?” to slightly offbeat “Which is the best animal and why?”. When the interview doesn’t go as they had planned, trouble candidates quickly become stressed and upset. This will shine through during the interview process.

2) Have them show (not tell) experience

Communication is essential in medical sales. Reps must be able to easily explain sometimes complicated ideas and products. Asking for candidate demonstrations gives you a first-hand look at how they’d approach sales presentations.

Generic terms such as “team player,” “detail-oriented,” and “self-starter” don’t give you any real insight into how the candidate is able to perform. In addition, anyone can become an “expert” on virtually any topic by performing a quick Google search.

But when candidates show you their past accomplishments through a brag book or on-site demonstration, you get a real-feel for how they think and learn.

3) Give them the silent treatment

Trouble candidates love it when recruiters do all the talking. The less they speak, the less chance they’ll get caught in a lie. In addition, these candidates have very little substance. They may be good at banter, but not at proving themselves capable of effectively performing the job.

While you don’t want to give the impression that you’re uninterested, it’s important to keep your own talking to a minimum in favor of really digesting candidate answers and explanations. Most job seekers are uncomfortable with silence, and it’s during this awkward time that you’ll glean valuable information into who they really are, personally and professionally.

For instance, if a candidate answers with a general tone of negativity, this is a sign that they won’t be a good cultural fit for most companies. If they regularly contradict themselves, it’s likely they’re lying about past credentials and work scenarios. This tendency will continue if they’re placed into medical sales job.

In the end, trouble candidates will always give themselves away. The key is to pay close attention to the details of their applications and ask pointed questions so they have to back up claims.

Rather than one long, investigative discussion, have candidates demonstrate their abilities. By using these tips, you’ll avoid a potentially-damaging situation of placing a candidate who is wholly unqualified for the role.

How do you place quality candidates? Let us know in the comments!