There’s a reason specialists exist.

If you had an ear ache, would you go to a gynaecologist?

I hope not. That would be awkward.

If you are recruiting for an executive level sales role, would you go to a recruiter who does not specialise in executive level sales roles?

I hope not.  That could potentially end in a waste of time and money for your business.

There’s a very good reason why specialist recruiters exist and the recent recruitment nightmare that Myer experienced is a testament to why it is imperative to use a specialist for executive level roles.  Myer’s new ‘star’ hire was recently exposed for having lied on his resume about his previous experience. Stating that he had held the position of Managing Director and Vice President Asia Pacific for global fashion heavy-weight Zara, it was soon found out that he had never been employed by the company in any capacity.

This recent case stands out because of the high-profile corporations involved and because of the very brazen lie that was told. Never in my recruitment career have I heard someone lie about working for an organisation they had never set foot in, let alone being the managing director of the company!

Instances of lying during the recruitment process happen more than you think. These range from “little white lies” like embellishing achievements and titles, to bigger lies, such as length of tenure and reasons for leaving.

The benefit of using a specialist recruiter or head-hunter is that they are experts in finding talent for a particular industry, function or geographical location.  It is the depth of information that is valuable in this instance, rather than the breadth.  A good specialist recruiter has long term relationships with talent and can therefore track careers.  Not only is it great to see the progression of individual careers but we can also see when work histories have been amended or changed. 

A specialist also has widespread networks in the field, making it easier to verify employment beyond the usual reference check.  Because I’ve recruited specifically for the FMCG industry for a long time, I can ask a candidate during an interview if they know a particular person at the company they work for.  I then follow up with the question “If I asked them about you, what do you think they would say?”  It is always interesting to hear the responses.

Companies need to take the appropriate measures in verifying the history of prospective employees and using a specialist recruiter is an effective way to do this.  Most candidates out there will not have anything to hide, some will use minor embellishments of the truth and very few will weave an intricate web of lies… but it is always better to be safe than sorry.