My star recruit is a liar. How could I have checked her out?

Dear Aunty B,

I have just made the devastating discovery that my new “star” employee is a liar. I paid an agency $8000 to find this person eight months ago. I assumed that the agency had done all the proper checks but they didn’t.

It now appears that a lot of her background is made up. I asked her to leave last week and then needed to contact her but now can’t find her. She says she was living with her parents but the numbers she gave the agency get no reply.

I am now going to hire people myself. What should I check out so this never happens to me again?



Dear Furious,

Poor thing. I know an entrepreneur who hired a general manager that she adored – for almost a year. But then the general manager went on holiday and the entrepreneur found out she had been thieving from the company and also had a fabricated background.

But do you know the really amazing thing? The entrepreneur found out after sacking her that the thief had ended up at one of her client’s businesses. She rang the client and warned her that her new employee was a thief. And the employee is still there. Her client didn’t believe her!

Here is a full list of what you can check, from the sensible to the paranoid:

  • Get the full name and date of birth of applicant.
  • Check their passport, birth certificate and driver’s license.
  • Get their correct address by checking rates notices, electricity bills and tenancy lease.
  • Get their mobile and home phone number by checking phone accounts.
  • Ask for a police clearance check, which anyone can obtain by paying a fee at any police station.
  • Get their car details including make, model, colour and registration.
  • Get details of next of kin including correct name, address and phone number.
  • Check qualifications.
  • Consider alcohol and drug testing.
  • Check bankruptcy, corporate ownership and property ownership, which will reveal financial stability.
  • And speak to all past employers. Most people applying for jobs only provide references from people who like them. Always ask to speak to previous employers and check why the person left those last jobs.

For more on this, see the book “Bullet Proof Your Business” by Michael Featherstone, and read the chapter on employee due diligence.

Good luck!

Your Aunty B.


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