This week, I’ve had three cases of mistaken identity. I do have a name which is fairly popular on the Isle of Man and granted there are many others of the same name on social media.
The first confusion was via social media. I was selling some items in a buy and sell group and was contacted by someone who thought she went to school with me – simply a case of the wrong “Nicky Quayle”. I did challenge and say “are you mistaking me for someone else”, but the buyer was convinced she wasn’t!
The second and much more upsetting incident was that I was mistaken for another family member who is self-isolating on the IOM due to recently being in the UK. An easy mistake to make, apparently; we do look alike (so people say), and I was walking her dog. It’s comforting that people are vigilant, but not a good experience to be confronted by someone making accusations whilst out and about.
Lastly, there was an announcement, again, on Social Media that “Nicola Quayle” had won a major prize in a raffle. Many of my friends know that I have done a lot for that cause and I’ve been contacted many times to ask if it was me. I have to say I’m hugely disappointed that it’s not, but yet another worrying case of mistaken identity and people jumping to conclusions.
Assumption and Bias
It’s so easy to make assumptions about people. When I manage recruitment for my clients; and on and Island where “everyone knows everyone else”, it’s often difficult to keep focussed on the skills and abilities of people rather than “known personalities”.
So how do you really know who you are employing?
Taking into account the legislation covering recruitment and GDPR considerations, here’s some pre-employment checks you can do to make sure the person you are employing is right for you:-
If qualifications are important to the role, then it’s wise to check what is detailed on the CV. By asking for copies of results and professional certificates it’s easy to validate what is detailed. If the certificates aren’t available or you are unsure if they are real, then further checks should be undertaken.
Right to Work Checks/Work Permits
My Isle of Man Clients will be very familiar with the local work permit situation and associated registers. How many employers rely on the information provided by the employee themselves without doing further checks? In addition, the UK legislation which obligates the employer to validate the persons right to work in the UK is often overlooked. Does the candidate have the initial right to live and work in the UK?
Criminal Record Checks/DBS
Safeguarding of vulnerable members of society is spotlighted more and more. Whilst many organisations providing care for children and adults will make sure they have formal copies of Disclosure and Barring Certificates, how much focus is put on a criminal record check? There are many application forms which rely on self-certification, without employers requesting access to records.
With more and more strict Equality Legislation, employers are putting themselves at risk of claims by not handing this area correctly. There are many situations, where it is absolutely appropriate to ask medical questions, but knowing what to ask and when is extremely difficult.
Many financial organisations are used to running financial checks to protect against potential fraud and there are many systems which can be used to access information. Based on my recent experiences, it’s really important to make sure you activate the search on the right person and question any results with the person concerned.
On-line and social media checks
It’s increasingly common for companies who are recruiting to search the social media profiles of applicants and it’s a really easy way to make assumptions about people. Care must be taken to handle any information gained in the right way and to make sure a candidate isn’t disregarded on the basis of information on social media.
With so much uncertainty about the status of reference checks, many employers are taking the stance of providing very limited information. Many employers, are confused about the requirements to give or request references, and their fundamental duty of care, with many choosing not to give references at all.
It’s important, to make sure you protect your business from the negative impact of the recruitment of each and every member of staff by undertaking the appropriate pre-employment checks. Make sure you know the appropriate legislation and carry out the most appropriate checks.