Don’t Lie To Me

October 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment  

Lie to Me is one of my favorite TV shows and among the few that I watch. Perhaps the similarity between some of my work – administering behavioral employment assessments and the science behind reading facial expressions in order to find the truth made me feel like I am more of a participant of the show than just an observer.

In case you’ve never seen the show: Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) and his colleagues in The Lightman Group accept assignments from local and federal law enforcement to assist in investigations, reaching the truth through interpreting micro expressions, facial action coding system, and body language. The show is loosely based on a real person Paul Ekman a renowned psychologist who has been a pioneer in the study of emotions and their relation to facial expressions.

When watching season premier of Lie To Me I caught myself wondering about Cal Lightman’s presence during a job interview: the questions he would ask, the reactions he would trigger. It’s really fascinating, I am actually curios if any hiring manager, business owner or someone in HR department who is also watching this show has been wondering about the same thing as me.

– Could Cal Lightman’s expertise help when hiring someone who is going to handle cash transactions for the business?

– Could Cal Lightman help in assessing integrity when interviewing candidate who is going to have access to the most sensitive intellectual property of the business?

Do we just assume that dishonest executives, fraudulent accountants and lying financial advisors are all fictional characters from the pages of the newspapers?

I think we all know the answer to that.

There are a lot of things people that people don’t do because the

So what would it actually take to have Cal Lightman conducting job interviews. There are few of things that I think about right away: 1.expencive, 2. not always available, 3. liability.

Let’s start with a fee. The fee when you see a psychologist (in his office, by appointment) is around $200 per hour (if someone is looking for the exact number it’s $170 for 50 min appointment according the Alberta Association of Psychologists). Considering that Cal Lightman specializes in a very particular area of physiology, works with a team and probably doesn’t take any assignments that involve less that five figure price tag, it would be probably safe to say that his fee is significantly higher that $200 per hour. Keeping in mind that on average company goes through 5-6 interviews (or more) before making hiring decision the amount of money spent on such specialist would be simply astronomical for most (but not all) of the businesses.

 Is there an alternative solution that many businesses cans easily afford? Yes there is.

The availability: Cal Lightman is a pretty busy guy and it’s unlikely that he will make himself available every time you are trying to get a “reading” on a possible candidate. The liability: Cal Lightmen often doesn’t like to play by the rules and he doesn’t mind pushing the boundaries in order to achieve his goal. As a result employer could be dealing with employment standards and human rights issues.

To sum this all up: The least company can do today is to conduct pre-employment integrity assessment (run between $25-$60 per person) that will give employer powerful information about candidates honesty and/or candidates attitude towards dishonesty, work ethic, potential absenteeism problems and more. Depending on the product used, interview questions that are relevant to the candidate’s assessment and compliant with the rules and regulations can be part of the overall assessment summary. 

Relevant interview questions is a must have and one of the key features. You don’t need to hire Cal Lightman if you know the right questions to ask. People that want to sway away from the truth will be melting right in the front of you.  

Written by:

Gary plays a key role in leading and defining solutions to help companies overcome “people challenges” to create productive, engaging and prosperous workplaces. Twenty years of business experience including management and human resources, working with small companies and Fortune 500 firms gives Gary a solid “hands-on” knowledge of the industry. His passion is to promote ideas, solutions and technology that inspire excellence at a workplace and creates positive change. Gary’s primary focus is the development of business solutions to help companies evaluate, select and develop the very best people. In addition to managing a team and overseeing custom program development for the client, Gary works to increase each company’s productivity and employee engagement by implementing wide range of evaluation tools and strong system of support.

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