We were recently engaged by a client to carry background checks out on the final three candidates shortlisted for a prestigious executive position within the client's company.
One candidate, the client pointed out, was the favourite: They were the "wildcard" in comparison to the vastly more qualified others but they, quote unquote, "gave such an exceptional interview" he found himself drawn toward them.
We took the information provided and set about our job on all three candidates. Two were very easy 'checks' with easily verifiable information and nothing of any concern. Although the highly unsecured Facebook account left a lot to be desired for one of them (As a side note, in the day and age of most big organisations being extremely equality driven, do you REALLY want to be seen to be following ‘Britain First’ and ‘Ban The Burka’ pages on Facebook?). Ultimately though, what was on the application was exactly what stood up to scrutiny.
The third? That so-called "wildcard" the client favoured? The warning bells dinged a bit when no such awarding body listed on their CV under 'Professional Qualifications' seemed to exist! We checked. And we checked again. We started to think that at the rate awarding bodies are bought out or conglomerated there was the possibility the “wildcard” had possibly put down the old name for an existing provider.
But no. There were three qualifications on the ‘Person Criteria’ listed as “Essential”. The “wildcard” claimed to have them all but from awarding bodies that didn’t exist. Clearly there was no way they could have qualifications awarded to them from a company that didn’t exist, right? Yet, there included with her application was copies of her certificates. All official looking to the naked eye.
The bells rang even louder when the contact details for ALL of the “wildcard’s” 'Previous Employers' were mobile numbers. Non-specific addresses for companies. Well-known companies too, but she couldn’t supply an email address for anyone – just a line manager’s personal mobile number!
By this point, we were looking at the details and looking at the client, then looking at the details again and thinking the client must be drunk or something to be favouring this candidate because nothing about the details on the form or the initial CV screamed “legitimate”.
We contacted the university where the “wildcard” claimed to have done their degree. They had never so much as attended a week-long night class there. We knocked at a handful of the companies directly that they had listed as previous “employers”. They’d never heard of this person. At all. They hadn’t just exaggerated the job they held at these companies. They exaggerated ever having worked there.
We were at this point feeling extremely satisfied that the ‘favourite’ in our client’s eyes had lied repeatedly on their application and their CV in order to secure employment by false means. We decided, for a sense of completion, to check out their listed references regardless though:
One phone call to the "Managing Director" of the esteemed accountancy firm the applicant previously worked at didn’t answer their phone so it went straight through to a voicemail message… that claimed he ran "the best mobile disco in the North East"! He eventually did pick up on a later attempt and confirmed he did not and had not ever worked in an accountancy firm but did know the “wildcard”!
We eventually sat down with the client who brought the applicant in question into the room with us present. They confirmed bold-as-brass that they’d “exaggerated” on their application but that “everyone does these days” because “no one checks” and, best of all, if I was going to “pick apart every tiny little detail on the form then [I] must have too much time on [my] hands!”
We'd like to end this case study by saying the only thing the "wildcard" didn't lie about on their application was their name... but it turns out their middle-name was invented too!
Article submitted by Member Gareth Howie [P/1510] of Surmount Investigations Email: firstname.lastname@example.org