If you’ve ever been responsible for hiring someone, you know how frustrating it can be.  No matter how explicit you are about a skill, certification or type of experience being an absolute requirement, people lacking the requirement still submit resumes.  In fact, in many cases the vast majority of applicants are totally unqualified for the job.

The good news is that many of these are easy to catch.  If you ask for five years of experience in the area and they only list three, they quickly find their way to the rejection stack.  The same goes for a lack of education or professional credential.

Unfortunately, you can’t really look at a resume and determine if a person has integrity.  It’s one of the most important traits of any employee, but it’s also difficult to determine.  Not many companies hand out awards for integrity, and most people who lack integrity don’t list ‘iniquity’ on their resume.  Finally, a single act of integrity doesn’t ensure a person will sustain that behavior forever.

Here are a few questions to figure out if a person is willing to lie for their benefit.  Passing these tests doesn’t guarantee great behavior forever but failing them is a major red flag for any potential hire.  Make sure these questions are allowed by department policy and the law where your agency is located before using them!

Have you ever been fired from a job?  A candidate might not want to answer this honestly, fearing they won’t get the job. But if they have, it might come up in a reference check.

Have you had a chance to look at our website before the interview?  Many people don’t look at the website of every employer for whom they complete an application.  But if they say they did get a chance to look at it, they should be able to tell you at least one or two things they took away from the website.

You say you have experience with [skill].  Where did you gain that experience?  If someone claims they have a skillset required for a job, but you don’t see on there resume where they would have gotten it, it might be a red flag.  If they can’t answer basic questions about the topic, that’s two red flags – one for the lack of experience, and another for lying about it.

Tell me about one time your honesty has hurt a relationship or professional reputation at work?  Anyone with years of experience has had an opportunity to take a shortcut.  If an applicant can’t provide one example given enough time, that’s a bad sign.  If it sounds contrived, that might be worse.

Employees with integrity shouldn’t struggle with the decision to admit they don’t know something, even if they believe it makes them less likely to get the job. While some of these may seem like small lies, small lies can lead to bigger ones.  Employees who are willing to lie in order to get a job will certainly do what they need to do to keep it, even if that puts the agency at risk.  That’s why hiring for honesty is one of the best things an agency can do to minimize its risk of bad employee behavior.

To learn how CMTS:HR can help your agency handle HR investigations more efficiently, call us at 919-747-3812 or email us at Team_CMTSHR@CMTSHR.com.