Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

Would you trust AI to detect a lying candidate?

Would you trust AI to detect a lying candidate?

The robots are taking over, or so it seems. Not a day goes by when a news headline doesn’t detail some insidious encroachment on the human world by our technological companions.

And, in recruitment, it doesn’t seem to be any different. Whilst automation has opened up several opportunities to support consultants, the masterminds behind these advances are hopeful that more employers will hire their robot recruiters, instead.

For starters, they might be better communicators. With Eyal Grayevsky, the Founder of Mya Systems – a chatbot that can converse with candidates – estimating that 85% of applications fall into the recruitment 'black hole', this is one area where automatons can step in, providing feedback where recruiters cannot.

Yet, here’s the spanner in the works. Separate data has found that 85% of employers have discovered that a candidate has lied about something on their CV. Whilst Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems may be able to send out those automated replies that candidates love to hate, and scan CVs for appropriate skills, would they be able to spot something inescapably human, such as a lie?

We put the question to this month’s panel of recruitment experts to see if they would trust robots when it comes to telling if a candidate is lying or not.


Jo Sellick, Managing Director of Sellick Partnership

“There is no denying that technology is transforming the way we live and work. In recent years, the recruitment sector has changed drastically. These changes have largely been for the better, improving efficiencies and making it even easier to search for candidates and connect with people. However, we must not be naive in thinking that technology is always the best option - or that it is completely impartial. There is an argument to say that technology is still subject to the bias of the persons creating it.

“The recruitment industry is based on relationships, and I believe the best way to cement them is through face-to-face, human communication. As an advocate of the human element, I would not fully trust a robot to detect whether a candidate was lying. It takes a good, experienced recruiter to read a candidate’s body language and build a rapport with them to truly understand their skills and experience, in order to ultimately decide whether they’re the right fit for a role.” 



Rhiannon Cambrook-Woods, Managing Director of Zest Recruitment and Consultancy

“AI wouldn’t always get it right when it comes to a candidate giving false information. Of course, you could argue the same about humans. Sometimes, we make a bad call on something, or someone. We don’t trust our instincts, and it ends up costing us time and money. However, we do have those instincts to rely on. AI may be able to act in the way of a lie detector, but I’m not fully convinced it will be able to pick up on the facial expressions, body language or tones in the voice, that we are so good at interpreting face-to-face.” 



Tom Hadley, Director of Policy & Professional Services at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)

“AI is already being used in recruitment to narrow down large numbers of applications or to work towards eliminating bias. However, robots will never replace the judgement and expertise that recruiters bring to the table.

“In the same way that recruiters saw off the perceived threat of social media by becoming better at using it than anyone else, recruitment professionals must now harness AI to complement their work.

“Candidates are not doing themselves any favours if they lie about their skills or knowledge. They will usually be caught out by a recruiter, or if anything is missed it will quickly become apparent when they are interviewed by the employer.”