Published On: Sun, Feb 2nd, 2020

Check References or Hire the Wrong Person!

You have two choices, check references the candidate’s or hire the wrong person! A close friend, the President of a large university, told me a story about one of his employees. The employee was a full-time faculty member, who worked for him for over ten years. This person was a department head and had three diplomas on his office wall. They were for the professor’s bachelor’s degree, a masters degree and Ph.D. My friend was in his office one day and noticed the signature on the diploma for the Ph.D. degree. He knew the President of the University, and that was not the person who signed the diploma.

Check References or Hire the Wrong Person!

At that time when he noticed the signature discrepancy, he did not say anything to the employee. My friend did start checking the authenticity of the degrees. As a result, the professor did not have a valid degree at all, and never went to college. This individual was an instructor for over a decade. The university quietly terminated the individual because they did not want the story in the newspapers. The situation was very embarrassing for the college.

Check References or Hire the Wrong Person!

My friend failed to verify this person’s college degrees or do a background check. Then, years later hired the person who had fraudulently created these diplomas and got through the interview process.

Companies would like to know the accuracy of the information about the candidate from prior employers through verification of employment. Most companies are defensive about telling the truth to another company who calls to get a reference on a past employee. Because of the many lawsuits, employers are smart not to discuss information with anyone calling for a recommendation.

Instead of calling the candidates’ prior employers, companies are skipping making the phone calls. They know that they probably are not going to get accurate, reliable information. Rather than verifying employment directly with an applicant’s former employer, they are taking the easy way out. Employers depend on their “gut feeling” about the individual. Unfortunately, people are attempting to get a job without the proper credentials. They are successful at times because they’re skilled at lying their way through the interview process.

I tell all my clients to do a background check and check references, without exception, before hiring anyone.

The background check includes:

  • Criminal
  • Credit
  • Driver’s license (MVD)
  • Degrees and professional licenses
  • Drug tests

Some companies take the easy way out and just do an internet search. The problem with the web is that the accuracy is not as reliable. Looking up the candidate’s Facebook or LinkedIn page is a good policy, but it does not replace a doing a legitimate background check. The information on the internet may be wrong, manipulated, or fabricated. If your company relies only on data from the web, you are jeopardizing your search for qualified top-tier candidates. Or even worse, you could end up hiring, like my friend, fraud and not know it until it is too late.

There are no real shortcuts in an interview/screening process. Use discipline to recruit excellent candidates when going through the complete hiring process.

My clients only get caught once making this mistake. They understand the value of the background check. It is like an “insurance policy” against hiring the wrong candidate. Background checks will not ensure the candidate is going to be a good hire. But, it will reduce the problems that you may have after the candidate is on your payroll.

listen more during interviewsMy name is Robert Curry, and I am an Author, CEO Coach, Keynote Speaker, and Turnaround Specialist. Over the past 20 years, I have worked with more than 70 companies taking their businesses from Loses to Profits.

Please click on the links below to read my other articles about business like this one – Check References or Hire the Wrong Person!

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Employee Theft or Sign Your Own Checks!

 A Secret to Help You Get Back to Sleep!

I have recently published two books about turnarounds: “From Red to Black – A Business Turnaround” and “The Turnaround.” Both books are true stories about turnarounds of real companies that I have turned around during my career. In both books, I have shared all my Profit Improvement Recommendations (“PIR’s”). PIR’s helped to grow sales, reduce expenses, improve cash flow, and most importantly, strengthen the management teams.

If the information in this article Check References or Hire the Wrong Person! helps you, your family or a business associate, please email me at and share with me the story.

If you would like to purchase either or both books autographed by the author, please click on the following link: Losses to Profits Series.

Weak Manager on your Management Team?

The Turnaround & From Red to Black

About the Author

- Robert Curry is an author, seasoned business coach, and successful turnaround specialist. Earlier in his career, he served as President and CEO of three different companies, the largest with annual sales of more than $1 billion dollars - all which experienced successful turnarounds under his management. In the late 1990s, he started his turnaround consulting firm, and for the past twenty years, he has turned around more than seventy distressed companies in many different industries helping each to establish a strong management team and become profitable. He has published two books: "From Red to Black" and "The Turnaround." He resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his wife, Esther.

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