How not to be duped when recruiting by Charles Lesser

From the job centre through to the career coach, consultants who barely know a candidate write their CV, puff their responsibilities, inflate their achievements, coach psychometric tests. You can even buy qualifications. Forbes believes this is a $1bn industry in the US. Most candidates are not pigs of course. But the pigs now have more resources than the recruiters. 

Pity the poor recruiter. Their defence against this $1bn industry... gut instinct? That’s worse than taking a knife to a gunfight - it’s taking a magic wand: it’s Schwarzenegger vs Copperfield. Academia has rubbished the utility of standard interviews and gut instinct. No wonder firms find still recruitment painful. 

The rise of the ‘statement of employment’ in place of substantive references has fertilised dishonesty. It negated recruiters' best tool for the truth. Recruiters will remain on the losing end of the data disadvantage. A meritocratic workforce requires data. Take that external data away and it’s no wonder we have a meritocracy crisis: the diversity challenge. Reliable data helps improves selection, on boarding and retention, and that saves money. 

Fortunately, the reference is being revived, with a major upgrade and new identity, as the 'candidate 360'. When candidates consent not to use a wide array of referees, who are protected by anonymity, bias is controlled, and data is standardised, an accurate portrait of a candidate’s real achievements and contributions emerges, and recruiters can know candidates as if they are a colleague. Good candidates are thrilled that they can provide evidence of their achievements.

As ever, the UK is several years behind the US in adopting candidate 360°s. Here they are still relatively new. But candidates and referees seem to prefer them, with 5-7 references informing a 10-page report within 2-3 days. 

Given the fog of war in the war for talent, the logic of using reliable historical data is compelling and Galaxy Refer, a UK provider, sees 100% conversion rate of its trial users. Faster fairer recruitment tools are a welcome rebalancing for beleaguered HR teams and workforces lacking diversity. 


Charles Lesser spent the last ten years of his career at Partner and Managing Director level in international investment banks, before being tempted by parallels in the antiquated world of recruitment, where its old relationship based offering is being undermined by technology. He is passionate about clients, quality and the importance of recruitment practices to culture and performance.