6 Ways to Hire for Honesty
This article is a “break from the norm” in regards to the content I normally share. Although there is nothing earth shattering in the article (if you have ever hired anyone) there are some good take aways for both employers & candidates to ensure your first impression is top shelf. Enjoy.
Having dishonest employees can cost you big time.
According to Tatiana Sandino, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, employee theft costs businesses up to $200 billion annually. These losses can stem from stealing expensive products and equipment to fudging hours on a time card.
Dishonesty doesn't just wreak havoc on the bottom line, it can also:
- Tarnish your brand's reputation
- Drive away your customers
- Corrupt your company's culture
- Weaken the integrity of other employees
An honest business needs honest employees. Once you know what to look for, you'll know who you can and can't trust.
Here are six best practices when hiring for honesty.
1. Make Hiring For Honesty A Priority
Many employers make the mistake of jumping the gun and hiring people who have fancy educations or winning personalities without ever checking to see if they're trustworthy. They may get lucky, but why risk it when a bad hire can cause serious damage to your business. You can always teach people the skills to do the job, but you can't teach integrity. People either have it or they don't.
To avoid making this mistake, make assessing for honesty an essential part of your hiring process. You may not come away with the most experienced or skilled employees, but at least you'll be able to sleep at night, knowing you've got people on your team you trust.
Warren Buffet said it best, "In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don't have the first, the other two will kill you."
2. Tailor Your Job Posting To Attract Honest People
Set the standard from the start. In your job postings, clearly communicate your core values and the type of employee you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to state specific attributes and attitudes that align with your values.
When you’re clear about who you are and your expectations up front, you’ll have a better chance of attracting people who lead with integrity in everything they do.
3. How To Spot Lies In A Resume
Resumes are a breeding ground for deceit. Because few employers check them for accuracy, there is nothing stopping some people from stretching the truth or making false claims. If you really want to know who is legit, pay attention to these resume red flags.
Resume Red Flags:
- Job hopping or large unemployment gaps
- Skills listed are inconsistent with past positions or education levels
- Discrepancies between one's resume and other forms of communication
- Stagnant career progress or regression
- Inconsistent employment dates
- Vague descriptions of responsibilities in past positions
A study of 2.6 million job applicants found that 44% of them lied about their previous work experience, 41% lied about their education, and 23% falsified their credentials or made bogus claims on their resumes. According to a survey from CareerBuilder, 56% of hiring managers surveyed (2,000 +) have caught job candidates lying on their resumes.
4. Interview Questions To Screen For Honesty
There are endless questions you could ask in a face-to-face interview. But none are as valuable as those that target a person's level of integrity.
Other ways to assess honesty in an interview:
- Poor eye contact and a weak handshake (Some people are naturally timid, so this doesn't always indicate dishonesty.)
- Discrepancies between one's resume and what he or she says
- Inability to talk in depth about past positions
- Different answers to the same question asked on the phone and in-person
- Reluctance to provide references
- Badmouthing past employees
5. Give An Integrity Test
Many companies use integrity assessment tests to identify individuals who are likely to engage in unethical or illegal behavior while on the job. They also give you a better idea of those who might exhibit less severe, yet still undesirable, behavior such as being habitually absent or wasting time at work.
These tests can also be used to communicate the importance you place on using integrity to run your business. Some of the most widely used integrity tests include: The Personnel Selection Inventory (PSI), The Reid Report Risk Assessment, and the Veracity Analysis Questionnaire (VAQ).
6. Always Check References
ALWAYS ask for references. This alone will help you to attract higher quality prospects. You’ll be surprised what you learn about your applicants when talking to the people they've worked with.
Things to check up on with references:
- Their relationship to the applicant
- Applicant's job title/responsibilities
- Employment dates
- Work ethic
- Conduct issues
- The applicant's reason for leaving
And don't forget one of the most important questions of all: “Is this person eligible for rehire?”
When In Doubt, Trust Your Instincts
Sometimes no matter what you do, things just don't add up. If something seems off, it probably is. Trust your gut, and don't second guess yourself. It can only take one dishonest person to ruin a business. If you make honesty your top priority when hiring, then you're bound to find your next great hire!