What is your company’s reputation worth?

A lot of people get a little creative with the truth when it comes to their CVs, but in some cases, a candidate’s credentials can be more fiction than fact.

Take Veronica Theriault for example, who in 2017 bluffed her way into a seven-week stint as Chief Information Officer of the South Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet based on fabricated employment and education qualifications.

The fact she made it into such a senior position – with an advertised annual salary of $244,000 – made the fallout of Theriault’s sacking and subsequent arrest all the more embarrassing for the state government, and sparked a maladministration investigation into the recruitment practices that led to the appointment.

It’s not just high profile cases though, hiring the wrong person can be bad for business and your corporate brand regardless of the size of your organisation. Director of RECRUIT2retail, Merryn Hailes, explains just how damaging mis-hires can be.

The cost of one bad seed

Your employees are the face of your brand, and people will naturally interpret the service and treatment they receive as a reflection of your corporate identity.

After a negative experience, the reputational damage to a business can spread far beyond the person, team or outlet directly involved in the incident.

“Word of mouth is such a strong form of feedback, so it can certainly have a flow-on effect,” Hailes says. “Even loyal customers, if they don’t get the service they are used to receiving, might not want to visit another store in another location, and there’s a good chance they’ll tell other people about their bad experience.”

The ultimate cost could be a lot higher than you think. According to the Harvard Business Review, organisations are particularly susceptible to reputational damage because a whopping 70 to 80% of their market value comes from difficult-to-measure assets like goodwill, intellectual capital, and brand equity.

How to get it right

With the following practices in place, Hailes says you can weed out bad hires during the recruitment process and find the right person for the role.

1. Have a detailed brief on the role

As Hailes points out, it’s not always the incoming employee’s fault when things don’t work out.

“It might be that the organisation wasn’t really specific in terms of the type of strengths that they needed from that candidate,” she says. “For example, let’s say you’re looking for someone to lead a team that is a little bit challenging – maybe [the team] has been there for ages and feels like it owns the place. In that case, you might need a really strong, assertive manager who’s great at policy, procedures and performance management.

“If you recruit someone who doesn’t have those strengths, the team can really unravel.”

2. Tailor your process

Once you’ve established what you’re looking for, you can then tailor your recruitment process to focus on the qualities you need.

“If you know you need XYZ skills, you can ask candidates where they have had proven success demonstrating those skills,” Hailes says. “Anyone can say ‘I’m a great manager’, but it’s about drawing out examples of those skills in action and their proven results.”

3. Do your investigative work

Don’t just take a candidate’s word for it that you’re speaking with their previous manager.

“I’ve had candidates give me their supposed hiring manager’s name and number, but when I search the number on Facebook it comes up with a person who is a friend of theirs and clearly not a real referee,” Hailes says.

“Look up the referee’s details on LinkedIn, and confirm their position and employment from a head office landline. This ensures you are actually speaking with someone who can provide a really good detailed reference on their performance.”

4. Check, check and check

To really fill in the blanks, Hailes recommends requesting all necessary background checks as a matter of course.

Depending on the demands of the job, police checks, traffic and license checks, and predictive psychometric testing can all be used to help eliminate mis-hires and protect your brand’s reputation.

The added bonus of implementing these practices? You won’t be wasting time, money and resources replacing people who shouldn’t have been hired in the first place.

While it’s a necessary part of the hiring process, screening your candidates doesn’t need to be time-consuming. Get results quickly, securely, accurately and conveniently by outsourcing your pre-employment screening and background checks to CVCheck.

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