Identifying the Not-So-Perfect Candidate

Recently, I’ve come across a few interesting candidates (to put it lightly). On paper, they’re ostensibly of the highest caliber imaginable. Is it too good to be true? I’m finding out that sadly that sometimes, yes, it is.

Obviously, at the end of the recruitment and hiring process, you’re bound to do a background check, consult references and so on to uncover any dirt or skeletons. But do you really `want to wait for it to get to that stage where you’ve already put in so much blood, sweat and tears, only to find out the candidate is a bona fide fraud?

Probably not.

There are some measures you can take to minimize the risk, and believe me, I’ve found out the hard way!

* Ask flat out if they are currently employed at “X” company

Far too often, candidates will speak in the present tense as if they are still working in order to mislead you. Example: “I manage a team of 12 sales representatives and I have to say my greatest challenge is training them.” Many candidates will claim they “forgot” to update their resume, which says “April 2012 – Present”, when the truth is they were laid off months ago

* Google them

You may not have the immediate resources of a background check, but use what you have and dig a bit yourself. My team and I have come across numerous articles and interesting tidbits from the web on candidates. We’ve found arrests for assault and battery, presenting “inappropriate content” to minors — you name it! A lot of times this was shocking because after speaking with the candidates on the phone, you’d never suspect a thing

* Match their resume with their Linkedin profile

Even the best of BS artists get sloppy and careless. When they stretch the truth on a resume, they sometimes forget to make it consistent with their LinkedIn profile, which can be identified and addressed immediately. This usually takes place with employment gaps, shortened tenure, etc., which some candidates are ashamed to admit.

If you’re in recruiting, you’ll inevitably come across candidates who are going to try to bamboozle you. (If you’re a candidate, just be honest. There’s sufficient resources and technology out there to expose your fibs. Most employers will give you a chance if you were laid off. It’s a tough economy – we all get it! Many companies are ready to give others a second chance. But the second it’s discovered that you’re a liar, it’s game over.)

As a recruiter, to make sure nobody pulls too many fast ones on you, take the simple steps described above and minimize the risk. There’s only so much you can do, and sometimes you will have to just wait until the background check and references come back, hopefully yielding positive results. Remember to never assume anything at the end of the day.

Good luck!

Victor Mahillon
Victor Mahillon
Director of Recruiting

Victor Mahillon is the Director of Recruiting at Kamcord. Previously he was a Talent manager at OpenView.
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