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WELLLLL . . . . . . is NOT a good way to start your answer!

Surprises in my business are not necessarily a good thing – especially when we are learning about a candidate.  We need to get to know candidates quite well.  We want to know about their education and experience.  We want to know their chronological history (the how/why of moves).  We want to know how they do things, not just what they do. 

Each conversation gets more in-depth

We start with basic information – we ask for a resume.  We ask basic questions to start.  If we get to a point of wanting to interview a candidate, we start with a simple verification of education credentials. 

Consent for Release form

Before we meet with any candidate, we verify their education.  To do so, we need a release form with basic information allowing us to make the inquiry.  It is signed by the candidate - they allow us to check them out.  This also allows us to perform reference checks (something we do later in our process).  This should signal to a candidate that we are going to learn about them from outside sources.

The Interview

Interviews start with chronology – explaining the moves we have not yet discussed.  Understanding motivation and timing is key.  We then get into examples of their work – the ‘how it was done’ as well as the outcome. 

WELLLLL . . . . . . .

If we run into a 'question' during our process of vetting a candidate, we simply ask the candidate to help us get to the answer.  Common areas of question:

  • We are having a difficult time verifying a degree.
  • The titles on your resume do not correlate with the titles your references used.
  • The dates do not line up with the background check data we have (by the way – candidates sign a separate release form for any outside background checking that is done; nothing is done in secret). 
  • Are you still with your employer (the one you list as ‘to present’ on your resume)?

The answer that starts with WELLLLL . . . . . . when we ask a clarification question is not a good start.  It is usually followed with an attempt to ‘explain away’ an untruth. 

Let me end as I started . . . . . . surprises in my business are not necessarily a good thing.  And as I told a recent candidate, surprises can be deadly in the process of being considered for a new role. 

The message is simple – tell the truth up-front

Not everyone has a degree and not every senior-level position requires one.  Titles are notoriously inconsistent across companies and industries.  Not all positions/transitions end well.  That is okay . . . . . telling us the truth up-front will not necessarily stop a conversation from moving forward.  Finding out about a lie during the process is a deal-breaker.