Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Unreliable Job Applications

                                                                        by Peter Hyatt
Not everything that is "unreliable" is untrue. Sometimes unreliable is noted due to deception, while other times,  it simply means that the statement is not reliable and that more information may be needed, via follow up questions.

The following is from a job application: 

Give me an example of honesty in your life:

"I found an expensive piece of jewelry and returned it to its rightful owner."

Describe a time in life when you made a mistake and how you learned from it:

"Charged in 2011 for an Operating Under the Influence.  Haven't had a drink since."

These two questions were on the same page of a job application designed to weed out liars and hire the truthful.

What has this applicant told you?  What has this applicant not told you?

1.  The applicant has told us that she found jewelry that did not belong to her, recognized it for its value, but returned it to its's "rightful" owner.

What does this tell you about her?

a. jewelry was "expensive"
b.  She, herself, would be an owner, but not a "rightful" owner.

The shorter way of saying this would have been:  "I found jewelry and returned it to its owner."  Additional words give us additional information.

She recognized its value and likely thought about keeping it, but did not.

Of matter of course in the interview, I will ask, "Did you think about keeping it?" hoping she will say, "yes", and not lie, as I seek to hire people who are honest and learn from their mistakes.

Who would not have thought about keeping it?  Think of this especially in light of how easy it is to pawn something and how expensive it was.  "Finders Keepers; Losers Weepers" some like to say, as a means of excusing the spirit of larceny.

2.  The applicant did not tell us that she was convicted of driving under the influence, nor has she told us that she has not had a drink since.

"Charged in 2011 for an Operating Under the Influence"

You will first note that "charged" does not have a pronoun.
You will next note that "charged" does not say "convicted" or anything like that.

Note "an" Operating Under the Influence and not "Operating Under the Influence", which will lead me to ask some questions:

a.  Who was charged?
b.  Were you convicted?

and most importantly:

c.  Were you ever charged prior to this one?
d.  How about after this one?


3.  She does not tell us that she has not had a drink since:

"Haven't had a drink since" with the missing pronoun.

Now, since it is "unreliable" information, it is necessary for me to ask these questions and it may be that she has had only one conviction and has not had a drink since, but due to the dropped pronouns and the additional wording, more questions are necessary.

Unreliable is just that, and we are playing percentages.  Sometimes it is unreliable because there is deception present while other times the subject simply needs more prompts.

Playing percentages is wise, as it allows for the most success.


Anonymous said...

Do you ever look for "The good"in Your analysis???

Tania Cadogan said...

Straight away i spotted the dropped pronouns and said fibber.

I find myself these days rolling my eyes when i hear someone speaking and dropping pronouns.

I know i shouldn't use SA on my family and i have advised others on this, as i am now the carer for my uncle who i moved in with me after his fun time in hospital working his way through the A-Z of interesting medical diseases i find it a huge help.
By my asking the right questions i know exactly if my uncle is telling me the truth, if he is minimising or if he is skipping info.
Given he neglected himself which resulted in him ending up in hospital in the first place, his refusal to go back to hospital if needed (he thinks if he lies and minimises he won't end up back there or now that he is in they will kick him out)it lets me learn what is really going on.

He knows i use SA and i will pick up on anything he minimises or skips.
This time he ended back in with an interesting UTI ( he has a stent in from his r. kidney to his bladder after he got kidney failure)I noticed he was dopey, he complained of feeling cold ( it was a hot day) he was off his food and generally not himself.
I asked why he was still in bed since he was claiming to be fine and he said i always sleep when i feel poorly. BINGO.
I called the dr out, made him do a pee sample into his pee pot and i checked his temp (slightly elevated) The Dr. arrived we poured some pee into a glass and it looked like pineapple juice, we both said Ewww at the same time 2 hrs later he was in hospital this was a week ago. I explained to uncle who was claiming to be fine, that if he was fine then the Dr would not have admitted him.
I updated the staff on his ailments and issues and also warned them he will lie and minimise as he doesn't want to be there in order to get out quicker.
I also made it clear the stent has to come out as it's been 6 months and either leave out or replace, he is not coming home if it is in situ.
My Uncle knows he can't lie or minimise , if i don't like an answer i will phrase the question differently or ask it again later and he always lets slip.

In this case using SA on my family is a lifesaver, the rest of my family are safe though my niece and nephew know they can't tell me porkies cos i will know :)

Annonymous17 said...

I wish I'd never learned about dropped pronouns, as it often leads to hurt feelings. The first time my sister-in-law texted me "Looking forward to your visit!" I felt bad. I need to get over it, though.

Red Ryder said...

Hi Anon, "the good"is noted as not deceptive or sensitive. My understanding is that we let the subject lead us through their words, if they don't say a thing, we don't say it for them (add interpreted meaning). When the unexpected shows up, this is where analysis picks up steam to indicate red flags for further questioning or outright deception.
It is amazing how simply following the pronouns reveals so much! I use this principle with my teenagers when they are trying to pull the wool over my eyes. It's an effective tool in my parenting kit:)

Red Ryder said...

Anon17, many people habitually drop pronouns in texts. Maybe your SIL does this too? I do it too but for brevity sake, not out of deception:)

Unknown said...

I notice that I do the same thing Red Ryder.

When texting, I am more likely to drop pronouns, like...

'Heading to the lake'.

'Be there in about 45 min'

'Love you', etc...

I was thinking that I do it partially to shorten the message, and also because the sender and recipient are implied.(Meaning, I'M texting YOU, so there is no need to add 'I', or 'you', to define it any further.)

On the other hand, if I was texting my sister, to tell her something my husband said, I would add pronouns, such as...

'he said to tell you'.

Anonymous said...

conundrum: IF we all lie than what is so important about getting anybody to admit that they lie. Surely if you allow for the fact that they lie you can allow for the fact that they lie about lying.

Unknown said...

Hi Anon 2:26

I believe the question is asked to find out if the person will lie about something if it benefits them, and to see if the person can admit their flaws and shortcomings.

A person who can't/won't admit when they are wrong, or lies to cover up things they have done wrong, is not someone you want as an employee.

trustmeigetit said...

Peter said that a dropped pronoun doesn't always mean deception but he said "more questions are necessary"

So don't just assume your sister n law lied.

That's the common thing people miss.

The dropped pronoun just needs more info to determine deception.

And texts especially. I think we all shorten them to save time.

My husband and I will say "I love you" when we speak but in texts we usually just say "loves you"

Statement Analysis Blog said...

What's really interesting is a text or email without any pronouns until one shows up.

It is the one that shows up, especially the pronoun "I" that is so very important.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 7:49


Look for the good? What good would that do? If another person-other than the one making judgement-were to exhibit any characteristics deemed desirable, they'd invent another science to do away with those characteristics.

Kellie said...

LOL Jen Ow. I REALLY try to shorten those text messages. I suppose because I absolutely HATE texting. It seems so dumb to me. It feels like going BACKWARDS rather than forwards in communication. It's like hieroglyphics to me!

Your comment about how you would text/say when you'd be home, mine would go something like this, me+home=45 <3

Anonymous said...


Three women married. Three is obviously not legal, so one is "handfasted" (whatever that means). Same sex marriage is one thing, but I imagine those fighting for same sex marriage, between TWO people who love each other, would find a threesome marriage a mockery of what they were fighting for to begin with?

There are statements from the women, if anyone is interested in analyzing.

Angelina said...

I, too, do not understand texting. It seems very anti-social. Why not pick up a phone? It also takes so much more work than just speaking back and forth.
With the job interview thing. It is true that the biggest liar I have ever known claims they never lie when, in fact, they lie frequently, with ease, and about very serious bad behavior. I believe they operate under the belief "lie and lie some more and then they'll believe you and also present yourself as someone far above any type of lying". It is not that everything this person says is a lie but they construct their reality based on the building blocks of lies. Deception is their comfort zone, yet I do notice this person does avoid the stress of reliable denials (outright lying). The only thing is, with job interviews, I think some people would worry that if someone asks them "Have you ever lied?" it would be an attempt to see if they have a bad character rather than just seeing if they will admit to having human foibles. Therefore, they might tense up and say "No, I've never lied" but I agree those who present themselves in general as never having told a lie are covering up a very deceptive nature.

Unknown said...

Hi Kellie

I think everyone has a different text style. My cousin just turned 18 today, and she texts like the example you gave. The other day she sent me a text asking for my new address to mail her graduation announcement, and it stopped me in my tracks, lol. EVERYTHING was abbreviated/text speak.."cn u x ur addy 2...", etc. I was almost sure it was a butt text until the last few words, lol

Now that I'm thinking about it, there are people who I never text, and people who I almost always text, rather than call on the phone. It's just easier to send a text that they can see and respond to whenever they have a min. I agree it is not ideal for heartfelt or personal discussions, but for daily back and forth it's much easier.

John Mc Gowan said...


I have often had conversations with people, telling them that i am learning SA, and that it can sometimes ruin a Tv show, ie, CSI, and more often than not i can tell who is the perpretator of the crime.

They usually laugh and say you can't apply it to a fictional programe.

So, i was going through Mark Mclish's book "I know you are lying". He explains thus.

"Many times in the first fifteen minutes of the show, you can figure out who did the it by using SA. This is because the writer of the show knows which character is guilty. When this guilty person is interviewed by the police, the writer has him respond in the same manner that a deceptive person would answer the question.

Damn you SA. Lol

Anonymous said...

Who "killed""lucy beale"? Be quick im Going The bookies!

Red Ryder said...

John said, "Damn you SA. Lol."
SA has it's pros and cons for sure. I've taken to watching Chinese movies without subtitles! They have beautiful scenery, costumes, great action and I can't do any SA. Lol

GeekRad said...

A bit OT............Speaking of deception....Bille Dunn and Shawn Adkins. Saturday is the one year anniversary of when LE confirmed that the remains found in Scurry County were Hailey Dunn. It has been more than 3 years after she was last seen and one year since they identified the remains as hers (and scoured the site where she was found) and nothing. LE claims they are actively working the case but I don't see any agency taking ownership. This case needs fresh eyes.

Picked a Name said...

OT: interesting article in the New Yorker, "How to Tell When Someone is Lying."

Anonymous said...


They said they were called to the apartment several times, and in an exclusive interview with NewsCenter 5's Kimberly Bookman, Andrea Lavigne said it was because the neighbors heard the baby screaming.

"She had been colicky," Andrea Lavigne said "I was on certain medications through the pregnancy that she was withdrawing from."

Lavigne said she suffers from seizures and took Klonopin while she was pregnant.

Still, Grafton police said after one of their visits they filed a 51A report suspecting abuse or neglect with the Department of Children and Families.

"Just a few hours after she was pronounced dead, they were already questioning me for three hours and I was in a state of shock," Andrea Lavigne said. "It was very difficult with the police involved because it does make you feel like you did something wrong."

Andrea Lavigne said an autopsy was done on her daughter but she does not know the results.

"Believe me," she said. "I'm beating myself up over it a lot. Because I think any mother is like, 'What did I do? What should I have done? Is there something I did wrong?'"

"There's so many different people judging me," Andrea Lavigne said.

Pieces snipped from article above. There's also a video of the mother speaking.

Anonymous said...

I thought she said in the video that she was beating herself up over a lot of things, rather than over it a lot, as was quoted.

StopTheSupply said...

You guys/girls are hilarious. I totally agree. I have found this does not work well on children. "I didn't do it." You didn't do what? "Hit Susie." Um,,,put that in a full sentence. he says it correctly but now its an assignment and trying to capture the same lie or truth twice with that is...not worth it. I turned to a friend. That is not a reliable denial, I said, feeling NO confidence in my statement.
I quietly catch my bf in withholdings all the time. I know he has shame about our difference or his perception of things he should be ashamed about because of how he was raised. I am *RIDDLED* with flaws, but I am not a withholder or a truth shader, etc. I keep wondering, is this latest shame-based w/h the nail? Or am I about to end up on Who the Bleep Did I Marry? Except Mine might have to say, I Saw this Bleeper Coming and Now I'm Just a Horrible Warning!%#*

When is a shame based white lie cause to bail out?

StopTheSupply said...

I drop pronouns too for brevity. However, when I am about to do it or immediately after I do it I self consciously fix it. We're like medical students who think we have Lupus or Lymphoma after reading about them.

Tania Cadogan said...

I rarely text as usually it is along the lines of i'm on my way get the coffee on. Since i use punctuation, correct spelling etc, by the time i am about to send the text, even if i am miles away, i am outside their g house demanding to be let in and given coffee stat.

I have a new cell phone, my old one was dumb and, like me, easy to use.
my new one is a smart phone, except it wasn't.
I could not find anything on it and it couldn't find the internet, even when i somehow got it connected to my wi-fi and showed it my tower and monitor.
I was about to give in and tell my bro i can't use this when i had to do his wifey's hair. Aha thought i, he is a tech whizz maybe he can help it find the internet ( my provider had even sent it the settings which it failed to find.)
bro looked at it, pressed a few things and it was working.
Today i spent an hour playing hunt my contacts cos they weren't where i left them. i got my old phone out and played musical sims, the contacts were on the sim so why couldn't it find them?
Finally, and i still don't know how, i found them all so i could call my uncle.
Bro also said he put a night sky app on it, i can't find it anywhere and i know it's there cos i saw the stars on it.

I am a genius who can't use a dumb smart phone argggggggggggggggggh

Tania Cadogan said...

How many here when posting comments on a forum/blog or even face book look at what they are writing and go back and add pronouns to take ownership of what they are saying?

how many spot missing info, minimising, temporal lacuna and so on?

I know i do, i read what i am writing and i have the need to add in pronouns , change articles etc especially when it is with someone who posts here, i know they will be analysing it as they read since it is 2nd nature.

Annonymous17 said...

Thank y'all for clarifying the dropped pronouns in a text. Peter, I will be on the alert for any pronouns in her future texts, like, "I'm really looking forward to your visit." I'm newly married so maybe I'm just being overly sensitive to my in-laws. :-)

John Mc Gowan said...

Hi Hobs, its becoming second nature to me now. I don't feel comfortable with what i write if i don't take ownership. Its a weird feeling.

Tania Cadogan said...

Hi John , it is isn't it.

I feel compelled to make sure they see i take ownership of what i am saying so they know i am being truthful (even if they have no clue about SA i make sure i am truthful to keep me happy)

I find now phrases like "to be honest, I have no idea, kinda like, fine fine fine, just fine, etc make me internally roll my eyes and think why did you have to go and say that? or AHA got you, you bugger.

I do a lot of testing for new food products and i have found that SA is helpful when i read the concepts, the product description they will using and so on. Sometimes they use really dumb words and phrases and i tell them do not use this or that as it implies...

SA is an amazing tool, it can also be a pita when you hear or read trigger words and phrases.

Annonymous17 said...

Hobnob, I said, "To be honest" the other day and thought afterwards about why I had said it. What I said after the phrase was not a lie, but I did say something that I otherwise would not have said. I think sometimes use "to be honest" instead of "to be frank," so they're not really lying, but are being more frank than usual and saying more than they usually would.
Peter, could you chime in on whether "to be frank" is the same as/interchangeable with "to be honest?"

lisa said...

Hobs- I hated my smart phone at first,too. But, once you get used to it you'll love it. Just don't ever update the operating system cause you'll be back to square one. I refuse to upgrade to IOS7 and my tech savvy kids think I'm nuts.
I, too, tend to edit my comments with the SA audience in mind. I wondered if you're relationship with your brothers wife if not very close yet, or maybe even strained. You didn't take ownership of her by calling her your sister in law, rather you referred to her as your brother's wife. Additionally you called her his "wife" which struck me as uncommon. If you don't mind, would you tell me if I accurately picked up on something or if I am totally off base. Thanx

lisa said...

In regards to above, I meant to quote "wifey" not wife

Anonymous said...

Saying"wifey(as Hobnob did)is affectionately referring to her,,? I think so :)

Katie said...

That is so interesting. I came here to ask about SA and movies and you have this comment! I have noticed that, well from my very limited knowledge of SA, that characters say the right or wrong thing accordingly. For example, when a character told another guy his mom said she slept with the guy, he said "She told you that? It wasn't like that." He did not deny it. That's only one example of a character wriggling out of a denial. So, there is an explanation, as you've pointed out. The writer knows! But how does the writer keep from having the culprit outright lie, etc? Fascinating subject.

Katie said...

I was always taught, when writing, for example cover letters, not to start each sentence with "I" so I had to find other ways to write the sentences. I was taught to look down the page and if each paragraph started with "I" it was not good and to fix it. They said it made us look like selfish, non-team players. Now I like taking ownership too. I feel empowered when I do.

Tania Cadogan said...

Wifey is our(mine and bro's) nickname for Julie
My brother Piers is always referred to as bro,he is the youngest of us kids by dad's first wife (our mom), Merlin is the only child out of dad's 2nd wife (Lesley) and there were no kids out of Mag's (dad's 3rd wife)and the youngest out of all of us. Middle bro Craig is the indecisive depressed one out of us and he is always referred to as welsh bro as that is where he currently lives, his wife(Joyce)is known as the welsh witch, commoner that trailer trash and a mouth like a sewer. Every other word is the f word or the c word)
Julie and i have a good relationship although sometimes i rolls my eyes when she whines over nothing or has a drama queen moment(usually when bro and i have found something ridiculously funny that she doesn't)
She is our responsible adult when we all go out for the day.
She rolls her eyes when i take the mickey out of x factor and other shows of that ilk.

I know it is an incomplete introduction and i should know better, it is though how we refer to each other she is wifey or jules, i am goose,bingo, mutt sis or tasty depending on who i am talking to or who i am being introduced to, I only get called Tania when i am naughty or it is something really important.

It is rare we get round to introducing ourselves or family members to people using our proper names, it's always nicknames.
My uncle who is currently back in hospital knows my mate's mom as mom even though her name is Glenys, i have always called her mom (Glenys is a bit of a mouthful) I introduced them as mom this is Andrew, Andrew this is mom.

it gets real confusing since we used to do living history (We were part of the Younger gang)and people only knew us by our character names, as a result my uncle Duncan (Andrew's brother) is always referred to as Miller,and his wife Ann is known as Cheyanne close friends of ours Colin and Mrgaret are known as Cole and Belle, if have a cousin lil Rodge ( his dad was big Rodge. they looked identical at the same ages and sounded identical over the phone. His sister is Dawn and is actually called by that name, her son though is R2D2 (Richard Roger Douglas Davies) his dad kevin is Kev, Rodge and Dawn's mom is Judyand is called that though she also gets called senior witch)

Basically it boils down to we use nicknames for everything unless it is really important and depending who we are talking to they may know us as one of many names.

Lisa said...

Hobs thanks. That makes sense. I didn't want to jump to conclusions or "accuse" just wondered if it meant more. My brother and I use a lot of nicknames, too. To an outside listener the names would sound bad or negative, but to us it's funny. Sometimes we just make up a new one to rhyme with whatever we are saying.