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How to Find Out When Life-Science Job Candidates Are Lying

If you’ve been reading our blog, you know we like to think of the recruitment process the same way we do dating. We see ourselves as “career matchmakers.” We do everything we can to find the best matches between jobs and candidates, but every now and then (just like on Tinder) someone lies about who they are on their profile.

The Lie

Putting together our combined years of interviewing experience, you can imagine we have had our shares of horror stories from clients. (Just as often as from our friends who are active in the dating world!) They tend to revolve around a common theme: someone misrepresented themselves. Sometimes drastically. Someone lied.

One client told us about a potential candidate who actually provided a fake phone number for a fake person at a real company as a reference. Not only was the reference a fake, but it seems their experience was too. We encourage clients to consider candidates with non-traditional experience, but we do not encourage clients to consider candidates who lie. Beyond demonstrating a lack of trustworthiness, lying is outright (and illegal) fraud. Clearly not someone the client would have wanted as an employee – and they might have never known if they hadn’t checked the candidate’s references.

Costs vs. Benefits

Everyone who’s ever been on a Tinder date knows that people sometimes lie to appear (what they think is) more impressive. So why don’t more employers do reference checks?

Some employers cite a lack of time. It’s true, checking and calling and confirming does take some time – but not doing it can cost you even more. Money, that is. If you’re not getting what you thought you were paying for, that can be expensive indeed.

Other employers forgo reference checks because they trust a candidate. They believe they’re not lying, and they don’t expect to discover anything in the reference-checking process. To them we point out that reference checks offer opportunities beyond merely verifying the veracity of the candidate’s resume and interview responses. It’s also simply a great way to get to know a potential new employee better, from a new perspective. Their references can give you more insight into their knowledge, passions, previous experience. You might even learn something that will give you new respect for or interest in a candidate who’s been too modest or who hasn’t shared adversity they’ve overcome.

Whether what you hear is positive or negative, the bottom line is that there’s an almost certain chance that you are missing part of a candidate’s story when you speak to them and only them about their background, motivations and aspirations.

Potential Pitfalls

Of course, like anything, there are potential pitfalls in the reference-verification process. Privacy issues might come into play, or deeper security issues. Especially when hiring internationally. Particularly in that case, it can be a good idea to have a consultant help you navigate that obstacle course. They’ll (we’ll) make sure your benefits always outweigh your costs. We’ve been at this “dating” game for a while now, and we know how to get you the details behind the profile.

Find out how Seuss Recruitment can make the reference-checking process easier and make pharma recruitment more streamlined. Call us at +31(0) 20 29 00 016 for an interesting conversation or send us an email with your question to: