When you make a placement, the candidate is effectively representing YOU. To maintain your reputation as a trusted advisor, you must protect your clients from making a bad hire. Hiring mistakes are costly in time and productivity. You can only make so many mistakes before your clients begin to ask themselves whether you are their best business partner.

In your effort to fill a position, you are actively recruiting every day. There are a lot of good people looking for the right job at the right time. Because of recent waves of layoffs and the increasing pool of people looking for work, applicants may be tempted to inflate their qualifications to differentiate themselves from the competition. According to an article published by Pro Source IT, “72% of Americans have created falsifications, with 35% deceiving people during the hiring process.” You need to make sure the candidates you put forward are who they say they are and that their claimed qualifications are true.

So how do you defend your reputation and credibility with your clients? Your first line of defense is to do background checks diligently. Thorough background checks should be the rule rather than the exception. Look for “Red Flags” that cast doubt on the truthfulness of your candidate. Examples of this include: Does your candidate call you back when asked to? Are they late multiple times? Are they “ghosting” you only to reappear on their schedule? Do they make excuses or constantly blame others for excessive job moves? Do they have exaggerated claims of performance on their resume? Dig a little deeper to ensure your candidate’s claims are accurate. A thorough background check will give you confidence that you are proposing a quality candidate and that you have minimized the chances for problems.

Always check references. A brief conversation with a former co-worker or employer cited as a reference often gives subtle clues about the candidate. Some applicants may actually cite references they know will not be supportive in the belief that the recruiter will not follow through with the nuisance of calling on the reference. If you sense hesitation or that the reference is not very enthusiastic about the candidate, the likelihood is that you have uncovered an inflated resume claim. The applicant should be quizzed about any seemingly exaggerated claim and given the opportunity to explain. There may well be a simple misunderstanding that can be cleared up to your satisfaction. Over-stating one’s education is a very common practice. Applicants may use word games to cover the fact that a course of study was not actually completed. Educational achievements cited on a resume can be verified with the institution even though there are significant delays presently being experienced.

Another defensive strategy is to propose the option of contract placement. You should still do your due diligence with background checks and reference checking, but the risk of a bad hire is reduced by the use of contract or contract-to-hire personnel. Apollo Technician’s January 2023 blog posting estimated the cost of a bad hire is up to 30% of the employee’s first-year earnings, as cited by the Department of Labor. If a latent problem is discovered after the hire, the employee can be terminated with a minimum of fuss. The client company is relieved of the overhead and burden of administering the employee and insulated from unemployment and Workers Comp claims. If the person works out, a conversion to direct can be done.

Recruiters should resist the urge to make a quick placement based on the initial information presented during the hiring process. A little detective work done early on will pay dividends by protecting your reputation for quality placements. Saving your client from the cost and aggravation of a bad hire is well worth the additional effort on your part. Save your reputation and know WHOM TO BELIEVE.

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NAPS Harold B. Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award Winner