You are on page 1of 8

2016 1 July

A MarketPoint Whitepaper

Hiring: A Game
of Cat and Mouse

Hiring: A Game of Cat and Mouse

here are many business aphorisms

related to employees. (If you dont
believe me, check your LinkedIn feed,
where most of them seem to be attributed to Richard Branson.) My personal
favorite is Hire slow; fire fast. Im not quite as
fond of People are your greatest asset too
simplistic. But one I think we can all agree on is
Talent is expensive. So if talent is so expensive,
why do so few employers invest comparatively
little focus on screening and interviewing?

Well, thats not true for us! you say. We spend

a lot of time, from the executive level down,
screening and interviewing our people. And it
would certainly seem that way, given the fact
that most of us feel its a significant interruption
to our daily operations. But thats precisely the
problem: Hiring is not an interruption to our
operations it is central to our missions. And
in recent years, it has become increasingly challenging.

Resumes: Fabrications, Deceptions and Lies

ssuming youve done everything in

your power to identify and attract
qualified candidates (and your
job opportunity is potentially rewarding), you should find yourself swimming
in a sea of resumes and applications. Unfortunately, the sea in which you are swimming
may present grave, hidden dangers for your

According to Career Builder, 58 percent of employers have caught applicants lying on their
resumes, and one-third have seen that number
increase since the economic recession, which
began in 2008 (Career Builder). False claims
include names of previous employers, dates
of employment, job titles and responsibilities,
skills, awards and recognitions, credentials and
degrees and even military records (Olson). All
industries seem to be affected, from financial
services to manufacturing, to nonprofits, to retail, to healthcare and accounting.

Keep These Federal

Regulations in Mind
Organizations doing business with
the federal government face stringent
record-keeping and reporting requirements. Equal opportunity and affirmative
action are no longer feel-good recruiting
euphemisms. Government contractors,
for example, may be required to have candidates self-identify, with respect to race,
ethnicity, gender, disability and veteran
status; they may be required to report
on the diversity of their workforce and
to take compensatory action to achieve
or maintain a balance of representation;
and they may need to keep logs of all
applicants, tracking their classifications
to ensure that recruiting practices provide equal opportunity to all potential
candidates (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).
The requirements for all other businesses
are much simpler. All employers, regardless of size, are required to provide equal
pay to all genders, for equal work. Organizations with 15 or more employees
may not discriminate on the basis of race,
color, religion, sex (including pregnancy),
national origin, disability or genetic information, and employers with 20 or more
employees may not discriminate against
candidates age 40 or above (U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission).
Individuals or organizations with
fewer than 15 employees are not specifically covered by Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or affirmative-action standards, unless they
contract or subcontract with the federal government. However, all employers
are encouraged to consult with legal
counsel to determine how federal regulations apply to their organization, and to
contact the EEOC for final determination.

But lying might be a good strategy for the applicant.

While more than half of employers surveyed report
catching some candidates in lies, they likely dont try to
validate every applicants claims before the first phone
screen or interview. Whats more, only 51 percent of
employers said they would automatically dismiss a
candidate caught lying. 40 percent said that it would
depend on what the candidate lied about, [and] seven
percent said theyd be willing to overlook a lie if they
liked the candidate (Career Builder). Recognizing the
obvious fact that not all exaggerations and misrepresentations are caught and often, a candidates claims
go unchecked the lying applicant has better than a
50/50 chance of being successful.

Fabrications, Deceptions and Lies

(Career Builder)




of employers
have caught a
lie on a

of employers have
seen an increase in

of employers said
that they would
dismiss candidates
caught in a lie

of employers say it would
depend on what the
candidate lied about

say theyd be willing to
overlook a lie if they liked
the candidate

Screening and Interviewing


s any human resources professional will attest,

sorting through applicants is a tedious process.
Or, to introduce another aphorism, Narrowing
can be harrowing.

Forty-two percent of employers report spending at least two

minutes reviewing each resume they receive, and 86 percent
have more than one employee review each resume. By the
time a hiring decision is made, one in five employers will involve four or more employees in reviewing that candidates
resume (Career Builder).
Telephone screens, skills tests, intelligence tests, personality
tests, drug tests, background checks (including social media)
and candidate presentations are just a sample of the screening
processes used by employers. Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, chief
economist at Glassdoor, reports that the percentage of job seekers reporting background checks has grown from 25 percent in
2010 to 42 percent in 2014, and nearly a quarter of todays applicants receive drug tests and/or skills tests (Glassdoor).
In the U.S., 56 percent of qualified candidates applicants
who have been selected to advance for consideration of employment receive telephone interviews, and two-thirds of
those who advance are screened in person" (Glassdoor).

What Do
Lie About?
(Career Builder)

Skill sets


Dates of employment

Job title

Academic degrees

These kinds of screens perform many important functions.

Alison Green, who publishes the Ask a Manager blog, cites
seven basic objectives. Some of them should be obvious
to the applicant: ensuring your salary expectations are in
line with the position being offered; validating your understanding of the job; clarifying issues from your resume or
application; confirming availability; and establishing qualifications. But some may be less anticipated, including making
sure that you're sane and reasonably intelligent, and seeing
if you'll say or do anything obvious that takes you out of the
running (Green).

Companies worked for

Awards and accolades

The Waiting Game

n the U.S., employers take an average of 22.9

days interviewing the successful candidate
(Glassdoor). Of course, the successful candidate is seldom the first one interviewed,
so the entire process can take several months.
As evidence, 39 percent of employers report
having jobs that stay open at least four months,
for lack of qualified applicants (Career Builder).
Positions that have the longest interview cycles include police officers (128 days), assistant
professors (59 days), senior vice presidents (56
days) and program analysts (52 days); whereas the shortest interview cycles are enjoyed
by entry-level marketers (4 days), entry-level
sales (5 days), servers and bartenders (6 days),
entry-level account managers (6 days) and dishwashers (7 days) (Glassdoor).
***At this point, any self-respecting marketing
major should be wondering why employers would
invest two more days hiring a dishwasher than an
entry-level marketer.***

Thirty-eight percent of employers require candidates to interview with a C-level executive; 23

percent will dismiss candidates they feel do not
fit the organizations culture; 18 percent will filter candidates based on salary expectations; and
a commanding 58 percent will expect a thankyou letter after the interview (Career Builder).

Employers Take Their Time

(Career Builder)




require candidates dismiss candidates

to interview with
who dont fit their
a C-level executive company culture


expect a
thank-you note
after an interview


eliminate candidates
whose salary expectations
aretoo high

have held jobs open four

monthsor longer, for lack
ofqualified candidates

Candidates Wait for the Call


127.6 days

87.6 days

60 days

58.7 days

55.5 days

51.8 days

for Police

for Patent

for Government

for Assistant

for Senior
Vice Presidents

for Program

Great Expectations

mployers expectations of a candidate

may be patently obvious. They usually include job competence, likability,
cultural fit, work ethic, team orientation, probable longevity with the organization,
and willingness to endure the negatives of the
job (Green, What Employers Are Looking For
When They Hire). But a survey of 1,200 of the
worlds top employers reveals that a majority
of large employers look for five other determining characteristics in a successful candidate:
professionalism (86 percent), high energy (78
percent), self-confidence (61 percent); ability to
self-monitor (58 percent) and intellectual curiosity (57 percent) (Casserly).
And as the world is becoming increasingly social,
employers are raising their expectations about
a candidates social skills, connections and networking experience. Ninety-three percent of
employers now report checking social media
profiles, including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, as part of the vetting process (Harris). In
fact, 44 percent of employers surveyed reported finding candidates through social media.

Applicants beware: Employers have come to rely

on social media posts as windows into a candidates
true personality, as indicators of a candidates
probable behavior on the job or in the community, once employed. For example, a candidates
network may be viewed as an indication of her
level of connection or prominence in her field. Or
a profile picture may provide clues as to whether
a candidate is sensible, or approachable, or creative. Some employers will read what a candidate
shares, to determine whether he is insightful and
articulate. And 42 percent of employers surveyed
said they have declined to make a job offer, based
solely on what they have seen online (Harris).
Clearly, the evidence suggests that both the employer and the job applicant have upped the ante
in this cat-and-mouse game we call hiring. Yet, as
each side struggles to gain the advantage, victory
becomes harder for both to attain. Perhaps, one
day, new systems and technologies will make it
easier for organizations to achieve their ultimate
goal: putting the right person in the right job, for
the good of the employee and the organization.
But in the meantime, may the best players win.

What Do Employers Say Theyre Looking For?









Intellectual curiosity

Ability to self-monitor

About the Author

ichael Zimmerman is the Senior Marketing Strategist at MarketPoint

LLC, a business consulting firm specializing in strategic communications, brand management and outsourced marketing. Calling on 36
years of management experience, including two CEO positions and
several marketing leadership roles, Michael is a regular contributor to SmartCEO
Magazine (New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and DC editions); he has been published in Social Media Today, Technorati, The Social Customer, and Sales and Marketing
Management Magazine, and speaks frequently at area universities.

Tracy Giordano contributed research for this whitepaper.

Works Cited
Career Builder. Fifty-eight Percent of Employers Have Caught a Lie on a Resume. 7 August 2014. Press Release. 3 June 2016.
. New CareerBuilder Study Reveals Nine Lessons for Job Seekers and Recruiters That May Surprise You. 17 October 2013. Press
Release. 3 June 2016. <>.
Casserly, Meghan. Top Five Personality Traits Employers Hire Most. 4 October 2012. Column. 3 June 2016.
Glassdoor. Why Is Hiring Taking Longer? June 2015. Andrew Chamberlain. Research Report. 3 June 2016.
Green, Alison. What Employers Are Looking For When They Hire. 10 October 2012. Blog. 3 June 2016.
. Why Employers Do Phone Interviews. 9 September 2012. Blog. 3 June 2016. <
Harris, Peter. The top three things that employers want to see in your social media profiles. 5 April 2015. Article. 3 June 2016.
Olson, Lindsay. The Top 10 Lies People Put on Their Rsums. 2 October 2013. Blog. 3 june 2016.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Coverage of Business/Private Employers. 2016. Regulations. 3 June 2016.
. Employers. n.d. Regulations. 3 June 2016. <>

Please pass it on!

Copyright 2016, MarketPoint LLC, Havre de Grace, MD. Reprints by permission: 410.942.0600