How Do I Know Candidates Aren’t Cheating or Trying to “Beat” the Assessment?

 

SHRM reports that up to 53% of resumes contain untruths. If half of the people you screen are lying on their resume, what’s to keep them from cheating or lying on an assessment?

Actually, it’s a lot harder to cheat than you might think. Here are four ways to get to the truth and minimize the likelihood of cheating:

  1. Encourage Candidate Accountability
    How you introduce the assessment makes a big difference. Before giving an assessment, make sure to communicate the purpose and explain why it benefits candidates to answer honestly, as opposed to  trying to guess the “right” answer. If they misrepresent their personal strengths, goals, and preferences, they could end up in a job they don’t like. Also let candidates know that assessments are just one step in the process, and their results won’t make or break the final hiring decision. To catch any untruths that do slip through, our assessment results come with an interview guide to help hiring managers verify candidates’ responses.
  1. Catch the “Too Good to be True” Candidate
    It’s natural for candidates to want to show their best self and sell the hiring manager on what a great addition they’ll be to the team. Usually candidates aren’t lying outright, but they may exaggerate the truth to make themselves look better. To flag this tendency, our assessments include statements like “I was my boss’s best employee at my old job” or “I never get stressed at work.” If a candidate agrees with all of these statements, it’s likely they’re inflating their answers to get positive assessment results. In these cases, the hiring manager will get a flagged report.
  1. Target Ideal Ranges, Not High Scores
    Every trait measured in the assessment has its pros and cons, and the ideal range for any given trait varies from role to role. In other words, a candidate won’t ace the assessment by getting all high scores. Take Sociability, for example. The role you’re filling might call for candidates who score in the mid-high range on Sociability. Someone in this range will find it easy to meet new people, communicate goals and activities, and work comfortably with others. Someone who scores too high on Sociability may distract the team by being overly talkative or unfocused.
  1. Take Advantage of Phrasing
    Some questions on an assessment may seem like they’re strangely worded, but phrasing matters. Many people, for example, think Detail Orientation is an important quality for any job, so they may try to score high in this area on purpose. A question that says “I am detailed in my work” won’t differentiate between people who are and people who want to be. Our questions are more specific: “I focus so much on the details in my work that I often have trouble completing projects on time.” Agreeing or disagreeing with this statement gives the hiring manger much more insight about how the candidate approaches their work.

People will always emphasize their best qualities on a resume and in an interview, but you don’t have to worry about lying if you’re using the right assessment. In fact, an assessment that’s validated and reliable is the best way to cut through the clutter and get an honest, un-obscured picture of a candidate’s natural work style.

This post is part of our FAQs series, where you can learn about the inner-workings of our assessments, as well as best practices to help improve your hiring process.