snake in grassYou read the resume.  It looks great.

The person in front of you, in a pressed suit and tie, with polished shoes and perfectly cut hair, looks the part.

When you interview him. He says all the right things.

He hands you a sheet of references and every one of them answers the phone when you call.  They all say glowing things.  It’s one rave review after the other.

Then, after you hire him, things go horribly wrong.

You find out the job history on the resume was doctored.  The academic background was phony and the references were all friends or family members.

How could you have been fooled so badly?

So I have a confession to make: I have been fooled by several employees. You see, when a person is sitting in front of me, I can usually find something to like about them. I don’t assume that people are lying on their resume or lying to me, despite my occupational training. I have been several times dismayed to learn that an employee oversold me on their abilities to do their job — or worst, outright lied to me, straight to my face!

But it happens all the time. According to a recent study conducted by payroll giant ADP, 46% of employment, education and/or credential reference checks conducted revealed discrepancies between what the applicant provided and what the source reported. A lot of people have a lot of nerve, and apparently they get away with it or they wouldn’t do it!

So I asked a management consultant whom I trusted how I could do a better job filtering out bad candidates before they became employees. And then I came up with recruiting systems that allow me to vet employees more easily at each step.

The best way to make certain you have hired someone who is truthful is to verify all the information on his or her resume. Here is a three-step process to do that:

Get Permission to Run a Background Check

Step one: Get permission from the employee to run a background check. There are numerous sources that will provide this service for you for less than $150. A simple background report will help verify academic history, places of residence and business relationships. Make sure that you use a reputable service that complies with your state’s laws as well as the numerous Federal laws.

Verify Employment History

Step two:  Ask the candidate to provide you with references from employers, customers and personal connections. Ask them to have the references call you. This is critical because it is one thing to take a telephone call on someone’s behalf but it is entirely something different to pick up the phone and call on behalf of someone else.  If an employer, a customer and a personal connection will pick up the phone and call on behalf of this person that is a bold statement.

Be Thorough About References

Step three: When you speak with the references, ask them to name some other people who know the candidate. Call those people directly and ask them about your prospective employee. These “surprise” references will give you the straight scoop. They were not prompted or primed in any way.

Give me a call today to talk about the releases you will need in order to do this level of personal due diligence. We can also talk about the services I recommend to conduct these background checks.

This may sound like a great deal of work. And it is. But conducting this level of research up front will help make sure you don’t have to invest time and money with a dishonest employee on the back end. You wouldn’t dream of spending tens of thousands of dollars in any other type of business purchase without doing your due diligence. Why would you do less due diligence when purchasing labor than you would when purchasing a computer?

Employees are usually the largest expense in a business. And they represent the highest risk for losses. A little due diligence before hiring any employee can really improve your bottom line, reduce turnover, prevent losses and lawsuits, and improve morale.

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