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.
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.