Be a good stalker

Who has time to waste on new employees who lack experience, personality or drive or who downright lie on their resumes?

One of our clients needed a manager and reached out to a local headhunter. I offered to review applications and conduct first-round interviews. Along came an interesting application — the individual had years of experience working with fantastic luxury hotels where I personally knew GMs. And so I did what I’d expect any of you to do — I ran my own reference checks.

I wasn’t looking for confirmation of employment; I was looking for a character reference. I wanted to know if the candidate had drive, passion and values. Why? When we look for matches, we spend hours interviewing candidates, their old employers and even their former colleagues to really understand who they are, what they want, what turns them on and what turns them off. But the information I received about this candidate wasn’t a character reference — it was confirmation he had never worked there.

I learned two things in the two seconds it took me to read this email: I learned the candidate’s resume was full of untruths, and the headhunter wasn’t doing her job.

Now, I’m never surprised when I find candidates lying on their resumes when we’re executing a search for a client, but when someone is referred by a headhunter, it’s the least I’d expect.

The headhunter’s answer? “To be honest, it is impossible for us to check all the references before we send the CVs out. That would be a waste of time for us, as most of the clients don’t want to meet all the candidates.”

What a complete waste of my time and my client’s time.

Moral of the story? Anyone worth hiring is worth checking up on, and anyone worth hiring should have a relatively good online presence. So do your own reference checks. Don’t just call the references they’ve listed — go a little deeper. Ask questions that matter. Check out their social media profiles. See if there are any YouTube videos featuring them. Read their publications. Look into the associations they’re part of. In short, be a good stalker. You’ll thank me in the long run.