How to catch a liar at the office

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“It was disappointing,” he said. “And it ended up hurting our relationship with the store.” What was most surprising to Bauer was that the dishonest employee had more than 30 years’ experience.

Michael Floyd, a former CIA agent, said employees generally lie because the fear negative repercussions – and the more senior an employee, the more serious the repercussion generally is.

The CIA way

Floyd says the trick to spotting a liar is down to how they react to questions – apparently, there are five signals that employers should look out for.
  • Non-verbal hints – people who make big gestures, put their hands to their face or clear their throat often could be lying.
  • Avoiding an answer – when some skirts around a subject and avoids answering the specific question.
  • Being persuasive – when someone seems over-eager to say convincing things in order to give off the impression that everything is fine.
  • Being manipulative – trying to take control of the situation by repeating questions or giving unhelpful answers like “that’s a good question,” or “do you really think that?”
  • Being aggressive – verbally attacking someone can also be an indication of lying.
Floyd says employers should look for at least two of these behaviours before assuming someone is telling a lie. When he sees several of these kinds of responses, he says he is fairly certain that someone isn’t telling the truth.

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