Five Fascinating Facts About Lying Reply







By Chris Simmons

  1. The average person is exposed to approximately 200 lies every day. (Note: this includes white lies, lies of omission, deceptive advertising, and biased media coverage).
  2. The average person can distinguish the truth from a lie just 54% of the time.
  3. According to the job-matching firm, TheLadders, 21% of surveyed businesses reported that they’d inadvertently hired dishonest employees. Almost half of these hiring mistakes resulted from lies told by the applicant during their job interview.
  4. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners reports that fraud costs the average organization 5% of annual revenues.
  5. Seventy-eight percent of all resumes contain misleading information according to The Society of Human Resource Managers.



How Good Are You at Overcoming “Lies of Omission?” Try This “Real-Life” Test! Reply

Brenda’s Story

The incident described below actually occurred. Read Brenda’s statement carefully and then complete the practical exercise that follows her narrative.

“One night I had a visitor. It was a friend – or rather a relative. He was from out of town and he came up for the weekend. When he got to the apartment, I didn’t realize anything was wrong. I invited him into the – my apartment and gave him a mixed drink. Later on, he went back to his car and brought out beer that he had been drinking. He also had a gun that he brought into the apartment. He proceeded to get very drunk. I eventually went to sleep. When I woke up, he was very drunk and there was beer cans and beer bottles strung all around my apartment. He was smoking a cigarette and using an ashtray that was full of paper. There was also cigarette butts in my carpeting. I started raising hell and at one time I thought he was going to get violent. He started shaking me and he wouldn’t let me move. All I could think about was the gun he had brought in and I thought I was going to have to call the police to get rid of him. Finally, I just made him drink the end of his beer and I stayed up till he went to sleep. That’s it.”

In analyzing Brenda’s statement, you most likely realized elements of her storyline are missing. She is intentionally withholding information, which means her account is deceptive.

Now that Brenda has provided her story, you will need to review events with her in an effort to learn what really happened. Before continuing, you may want to review the following posts:

The Forensic Profile of a True Statement 

The Forensic Profile of a False Statement 

Lie-Spotting – It’s As Easy as “1, 2, 3” 

Questions as Verbal Tools – What’s in YOUR Toolbox? 

Now, using the “reply” icon, list at least 10 open-ended questions that could be useful in uncovering the truth. We will provide feedback on your answers to maximize the value of this exercise.

One open-ended question is already provided:

  1. You said, “I didn’t realize anything was wrong….” What did you mean?
  2. ?????

The Forensic Profile of a False Statement 2

By Chris Simmons

[Note: This feature should be read in conjunction with yesterday’s post].

Like a truthful narrative, a dishonest statement has five components and is arranged in a predictable pattern. However, in a falsehood, the sequencing of the core elements is reversed and the Main Information split in half. As such, a deceitful storyline is structured like so: Start, Main Information, Minor Details, Main Information, & the End.

The splitting of the Main Information triggers the “roller coaster” effect many people experience when victimized by a lie. In this scenario, the sub-conscious mind has spotted the anomaly (i.e., a deceptive pattern) but has not yet identified the lie(s).

These behavioral cues are indicative of a false statement:

1. The deceitful interviewee will only include information relevant to the discussion (in contrast to a truthful individual, who includes extraneous data).
2. The deceiver’s narrative tends to be very concise.
3. Almost without exception, the interviewee’s body language will show clusters of deceptive behavior.
4. When the interviewee is providing the Minor Details, be aware that he/she is studying your body language to gauge whether he/she is believed. If they see signs of skepticism, they may alter the second chuck of Main Information to allow themselves a way out.

Test a suspicious story by allowing the interviewee to tell his/her account from start to finish without interruption. After a brief period, ask them to tell their story backwards. Since a dishonest tale is memorized from start-to-finish, you will detect hesitation and stalling as the interviewee replays the story in their head. The timeline will quickly fall apart as well, as items are forgotten, moved around, and occasionally — added.

The Forensic Profile of a True Statement Reply

By Chris Simmons

When interviewing a person, bear in mind that every truthful narrative consists of five components which follow a predictable pattern: Start, Minor Details, Main Information, Minor Details & the End.

1. During the interview, the Minor Details you encounter will be blocks of the interviewee’s personal time or movement that smoothly guide you into and then out of the Main Information.
2. The Main Information, naturally, is the core focus of the interview and answers what are known as the basic interrogatives: who, what, when, where, how, and why.
3. As a rule of thumb, a true account is always told chronologically, like a novel.
4. The interviewee will inevitably include information unrelated to the focus of the interview/discussion.
5. In response to questions or comments, the interviewee’s body language will often be more subdued than their normal behavior.
6. Once the individual has presented his/her story, you can review events with them and their timeline will remain intact.

Questions as Verbal Tools – What’s in YOUR Toolbox? Reply

By Chris Simmons

“Judge of a man by his questions rather than by his answers” (the French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher, Voltaire)

Whether questioning a child about a fight on the playground or persuading a work colleague to support your latest initiative, HOW you ask questions directly shapes the answer you receive. Questions are tools, and like any tool, designed for specific jobs.

For example, closed-ended questions should result in very brief and precise answers. A “Yes/No” inquiry is the simplest form of this style. Other viable closed-ended questions would include “what’s your name,” “when were you born?” and so forth. This means is often used to verify information. It is also effective in a hostile interview, such as a parent and teenager discussing a broken curfew. In this scenario, closed-ended questions can help set the framework for the discussion AND build momentum with the defensive party by getting them used to answering your questions. The downside of this device, however, is that it does not create/enhance rapport, nor will it calm down the other individual.

One common mistake to avoid is the two-part question, such as “Did you fly to New York or take the train?” By giving the respondent a choice, if he/she took either mode of transportation, they could correctly answer with a simple “Yes” or the more sarcastic, “Yes, I either flew or took the train to New York.” Ask a focused question – get an exact answer.

Like a carpenter building a room, closed-ended questions can set the boundaries of the discussion. You can then use open-ended questions to allow the other party to add narration to your inquiry (e.g., “Tell me what happened.”). By its very nature, this approach encourages him/her to respond. In doing so, they will add detail, context, and insights to the topic of discussion. Additionally, the other party will now tend to relax as they have a greater role in the conversation.

That said, you should always be wary of this classic “red flag” — anytime the other party answers your question with a question, you are about to be deceived. This is especially true when their response is simply a restatement of what you just asked. This trick, especially common among children, is simply a stall. Its sole purpose is to buy time so that he/she can come up with a better answer.

Using Stories to Persuade Reply

By Chris Simmons

Storytelling influences another’s feelings or emotions by allowing a person to identify with a character in a similar situation. Even if the narrative is exaggerated or abstract, the listener understands that he/she is not the first person to have undergone a particular scenario. The storyline reassures him/her that the stress, anxiety, doubt, and other feelings they are experiencing are not unique – others in their situation have felt the same emotions. The teaching point is that others have shared the individual’s dilemma and undertaken a specific action(s) with demonstrable results. By using a story to deliver this lesson, the core truth is more easily remembered because of the listener’s emotional involvement.

In sum, a storyline is a highly effective communicative tool to gently guide the behavior of others. In addition to their inspirational role, stories can fulfill a very practical function – that is, to help get the truth from someone suspected of wrongful behavior. In this setting, the use of a parable can allow the guilty party to admit to an act and save face at the same time. However, the listener’s fear of a bad outcome requires the storyteller to have established solid rapport for the “confessional story” appeal to have any chance of success.

12 Unconventional Interview Questions Entrepreneurs Should Ask Reply

By Dharmesh Shah,

Where potential employees are concerned, obviously skills are important. Yet we’ve all seen fabulously talented individuals become a team that was far less than the sum of its parts.

While expertise is important, cultural fit can be just as – if not more – important. It’s something we obsess over at my company, result in what we call our Culture Code (that describes how we think about talent and culture at HubSpot).

As a result your interviews should focus on more than just skills and qualifications. You also need to ask questions to probe whether candidates will fit into your organization: Are they likely to play well in your particular sandbox? Will their work style and personality complement your team?

Will they not just survive but thrive in a fast-paced, often-chaotic startup environment?

Do your homework before the interview and you should already have a good sense of whether the candidate has the right blend of skills and experiences to be able to do the job well. So definitely dive deeper into an exploration of talent and expertise, but also ask questions to determine whether the candidate can do the job well in your organization – because hiring even one employee who doesn’t fit your culture creates a culture debt you may never pay off.

Keep in mind how the candidate answers is important, but the conversations that follow– since a great interview is a conversation, not an interrogation – can reveal even more:

1. “What concerns do you have about our company?”

Strange question? Not really. No company – and no job – is perfect for any employee (even its founders.) Every company and every job has its challenges and potential downsides.

The candidates you want to hire don’t think your company is perfect; they’ve done sufficient research to know that while yours is not the perfect company and the job is not the perfect job, yours is a company they want to work for because they can thrive, make a difference, develop and learn and grow and achieve… and be a key part of taking your company to even greater heights.

And as a result they’re willing to honestly share their concerns – because they trust you run a company that values openness, honesty, and transparency.

2. “What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?”

Everyone makes tough decisions. (Well, at least everyone you want to hire does.)

Good candidates made a decision based on analysis or reasoning. Great candidates made a decision based on data and on interpersonal considerations – because every important or meaningful decision, no matter how smart it looks on paper, eventually has an effect on and must be carried out by people.

A company at its core is made up of people. Great employees weigh both sides of an issue, considering the “business” aspects as well as the human impact.

3. “Tell me about a time when you had to slog your way through a ton of work. How did you get through it?”

We all are required to at least occasionally place our noses on the grindstone. Most people can slog through the drudgery because they have to.

The candidates you want to hire can take on a boring task, find the meaning in that task, and turn it into something they want to do.

Great employees turn the outer-directed into the self-directed – and in the process, perform at a much higher level. And gain a greater sense of fulfillment.

On the flip side…

Questions 4-12 are here: 12 Unconventional Interview Questions Entrepreneurs Should Ask

The Power of a Single Clarifying Question Reply

By Chris Simmons

As the name implies, a clarifying question is a follow-on inquiry that seeks to expand upon a previously discussed topic. Often, this approach strings together these questions in a continuously narrow focus to move the discussion closer to the truth. However, in certain scenarios, you can get to the truth with a single question.

Known as a “conditional” clarifying question, the only requirement is that your counterpart has already agreed with you on a subject. This technique is intended to determine whether their agreement was sincere or simply a polite brush-off.

Multiple examples come to mind:

Your freshman daughter is back for her first weekend at home since starting college. Like any parent, you ask “So, is college everything you hoped it would be?” She answers with “Yeah, its pretty good.”

As you prepare to go out on the town, you ask your roommate “Does this outfit look okay?” She answers “Yes, it looks fine.”

At work, you pitch a colleague on the concept for a new computer app. After summation, you ask: “So what did you think?” and she replies “I like it – it’s great!”

Having received conditional agreement on your original question, the key to success with this tactic is to immediately ask a precise follow-up question that requires critical thinking on their part. For example, in scenario #1, a good follow-up would be “What would it take for you to be really excited about college?” In the second scenario, you might ask “What one thing could I do to really jazz up this outfit?” Likewise, in the workplace situation, you could follow with “What would you suggest I do to improve the concept?” In every situation, you intentionally asked for a form of soft criticism. And since you asked so directly, a person tends to offer a sincere and objective critique.

Where most people fail in this approach is not immediately soliciting feedback. Instead, they let their emotions get in the way, which kills any chance of honest feedback. Returning to the college scenario, let’s assume you follow your daughter’s response of college is “fine” with comments like “Oh, I am so relieved. I was so worried you might be homesick, have roommate problems, not like the school’s vibe, or whatever.” Your emotional outburst has effectively negated any hope of honest feedback. Knowing that you are emotionally invested, your daughter is unlikely to say anything that would hurt your feelings. You’d see similar avoidance by your roommate and work colleague.

For a conditional clarifying question to work, you absolutely must keep your emotions under control and ask a focused follow-up. If you receive the soft criticism/recommendation, their original agreement was sincere. However, if they respond by saying no improvements are needed, you’ve received a polite brush off. Let it go and move on.

The “Amped-Up” Liar’s Law of Attraction — An Aggressive Variation Reply

By Chris Simmons

Yesterday we covered the simple beauty of the Liar’s Law of Attraction. As readers are aware, the biggest limitation of this Law is that it simply identifies that a lie of omission has occurred. In contrast, if one is willing to tell a lie to catch a liar, you can get to the truth by capitalizing on the liar’s existing paranoia and irrationality.

For example, let’s assume I’m interrogating a suspected terrorist. I begin our interaction by recounting many – if not all – of the facts we both secretly know to be true. I then add a false fact to use as a red herring. In contrast to the original’s law’s focus on the familiar, in this variation the liar immediately focuses on the unfamiliar as a potential way out of his current dilemma.

I truthfully accuse him of two bombings in Baghdad in April, May bombings in Basra and Kirkuk, and a July assassination in Ramadi. I then lie and accuse him of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack on a convoy out of the northern city of Mosul just two weeks ago.

My version of the events has caught him by surprise and provided him with an alibi. He immediately responds by claiming we’ve captured the wrong man. He was nowhere near Mosul two weeks ago and insists that he has friends and family that can verify he has been in Kirkuk for the last two months.

An honest person would have focused on the broader strategic implications of my accusations. i.e., you are a terrorist with a long history of violence against people and property. You will be tried for war crimes.

Instead, fear and paranoia manifest in the classic “freeze, fight or flight” defense. My lie appears to have offered the terrorist a way out (i.e., the ability to flee) and he fixates on the opportunity to escape. What he doesn’t realize is that by focusing on an event that never occurred, he has inadvertently admitted to the other attacks.