Finding a job becomes increasingly difficult when the economy slows down or people have been out of work for a while. Job seekers are all doing what they can to get themselves noticed and get an edge against the competition, and that includes the occasional white lie.
Here are a couple of ways candidates are skirting around the truth and how you can go about ensuring you’re getting the right information.
The imaginary job
Daniel Fallows, Executive Director of Garda Background Screening Solutions, tells Workopolis that, “More and more often, candidates are declaring employment that they never had to help bolster their chances of getting a position. With diploma mills, there has also been an increasing trend of companies who offer the services of being a bogus employer for a fee.”
If you’re interested in finding out more about where someone worked or the nature and duration of their job, a simple background check will usually do the trick. All you need is the permission of the candidate. If you’re curious about the conditions under which a person left their last company, you’re already aware of the usual suspects: resignation, layoffs, or an unfortunate termination. The last of which people are probably not as inclined to talk about.
A reference check will also do wonders at helping you understand the nature of a termination. Since former companies may not want to face legal complications, a common HR pro-tip is to ask whether the candidate is “eligible for rehire.” If the ex-employer isn’t keen on whether that would be a possibility, you may have the answer you need to move forward.
What they’re not saying
When you’re speaking to a former employer, listening for what they may be leaving out is as great a skill as ensuring your questions are being answered. In other words, what they aren’t saying can tell you a lot. If you find a former manager can’t point to great skills or value that a former employee provided to their team, you may want to take heed.
Dates of employment
Candidates have the ability to make adjustments to the dates they worked with a previous employer, and although this is a little riskier than say, lying about their age, it happens more than you’d think. It could be for a number of reasons (things didn’t work out, a contract was cut short, the boss was crazy, they just didn’t like it there, they just weren’t liked.) Sometimes it’s simply the fear that they aren’t as attractive a candidate if they’re out of work.
If a candidate asks you not to call their current employer, your best option is to notify them that an offer of employment is contingent upon verification of employment history – pretty easy fix.
You made how much?
Lots of people inflate their salaries because they’d like to make more at their next position, which is understandable. If the numbers seem way off, you can check, again by simply asking their former employer. At the end of the day, the job you’re offering already has a particular salary tied to it, and what a potential new hire used to make shouldn’t necessarily drive that number down, especially if they’re a worthy candidate. Remember, lots of people take jobs that pay far beneath their skill or experience level. So if you find there is a huge discrepancy, don’t be afraid to bring it up with your potential new hire. Ask them why they felt the need to embellish, and talk about whether this impacts your hiring decision.
It’s always going to be up to you and your judgment of a potential new hire. Remember that keeping personal judgments aside and having professional protocol like reference and background checks in place are usually a great way of minimizing and getting around the grey area.