Hiring Horror Stories – Part 1

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Mistakes during the recruitment process can be devastating for candidates as well as companies. Dishonest staff members could put you at risk of becoming a victim of fraud or even legal action as a result of an incompetent employee.

Halloween may be a distant memory, but hiring horror stories happen all year round. In this two-part series, we look at some of the most common hiring horrors caused by failure to correctly screen candidates.

The reference revenant

After a lengthy interview process, one company believed they had found the perfect candidate to head up their new department in Scotland and willingly covered the relocation costs for him and his family. As soon as the candidate took the position however, team members began to complain that he seemed to have absolutely no knowledge of the industry he had professed to be a specialist in. A background check was carried out after the employee had already been paid two months salary, and the references from previous employers, which were highly favourable, were found to be complete fabrications. The employee’s contract was terminated and the cost to the firm was in the region of £100k, as well as leaving them with no one to head up the new department.

The takeaway – always check references, they can be easily faked.

A case of mistaken identity

An enthusiastic new graduate was excited to apply for a position in the finance department of a large energy company. She knew she would be the perfect candidate for the job and was convinced that she would get the position. After a positive first interview, with everyone on the panel happy that she would be an asset to the company, she was surprised and devastated to receive a rejection letter through the post. The background check had revealed that she had a criminal record. She was never told of the reason why she was rejected. A mistake in communication in the HR department had led to her name being spelled incorrectly, and the criminal record check was carried out on a different person. The graduate had no criminal record and the company lost out on their perfect candidate.

The takeaway – outsourcing your pre-employment checks can protect you from mistakes and ensure that all reports are accurate.

The transforming techie

The perfect candidate was found for a start up tech company in Manchester. At the interview he was energetic, well turned out and seemed knowledgeable about the position. Everyone was excited to have him on the team. The first day went well and the staff felt that they had made the right choice. But gradually, the employee seemed to change. He began arriving to work late, wearing inappropriate t-shirts and complaining about how the company was run. His negative attitude began to have an impact on the rest of the staff and productivity within the whole team began to decline. Because the company was a start up they hadn’t felt they had the budget for complete background screening, but they decided to check his credentials after the employee failed to turn up to work for an entire week. Then screening showed that the candidate had lied on their CV about his previous positions and faked references.

The takeaway – the costs of a bad hire extend further than just financial, it can have an impact on the whole workforce. Running a full pre-employment check could have prevented this employee from inflicting his negativity on the company and saved them money in the long run.

Keep an eye out for the next article in the hiring horror stories series.