THE CLUES TO MISREPRESENTATION: Minimise the risk to your business.

It’s a catch 22! Candidates are not expected to provide references from current employees – and rightly so – it puts their current employment at risk. The downside to this for a hiring manager is that, to maintain confidentially, there is no way to verify a candidate’s true reason for leaving their current role or to validate their achievements.

In some cases a person will be leaving or would have left a role, because they have not been performing or are/were part way through a disciplinary or performance management process. After a candidate has resigned from a role, some businesses will complete an audit on their areas of responsibility and in rare cases, anomalies are discovered and formal investigations are set under way.

Not many candidates will share that information with you during the interview process, they will often withhold information or misrepresent themselves.

So how can you minimize the risk of hiring somebody who could be misrepresenting themselves to your business and also keep their application confidential? Identifying any underlying issues is a skill – It’s a perfect dance between logic and gut feel!


  • Reasons for leaving are too generalized or the candidate becomes cagey or uncomfortable in communicating them during interview.
  • It becomes hard work tracking down and contacting relevant referees (direct reports). The reality is that with the help of Linkedin and facebook, it’s pretty easy to find people.
  • You have trouble getting a signed application form back from a candidate particularly when it contains a clause stating the consequences of withholding information or misrepresentation. Excuses abound.
  • When you begin to voice your concern or ask for key information, a previously enthusiastic and proactive candidate goes off the radar, can’t be contacted or becomes defensive.
  • A candidate tells you that they may not need to work out their notice period or that they are on extended leave
  • It doesn’t make sense to you, as to why a candidate would be interested in a particular position given their previous experience
  • An honest candidate will work with you to get the information that you need to validate or verify what they have told you.  A dishonest candidate will create obstacles and make it difficult for you.
  • Information communicated does not follow a logical flow or seems out of context.
  • Trust your gut instinct if something doesn’t feel right it – explore it don’t ignore it. Everybody loves a win – but take off your rose colored spectacles.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and the techniques that you use to identify concerns – please do share them!



I have worked with Jodi off & on for 10 years now and have always been impressed at the time and care Jodi takes to get to know her clients and their current needs. I have lost count of the number of great people Jodi has sent my way and know I can rely on her to find excellent people!

Melissa Quirk GM People and Culture, Overland|Merchant 1948

Jodi would have to be the best recruitment specialist that I have worked with, always finding not only the best candidates but the best culture fit, in what was a challenging labor market in New Zealand. 
Jodi operates with great integrity, honesty and is a true professional.

Libby Sanderson Retail Director, Adidas Group

Jodi is a highly professional business woman who always delivered fantastic results. She is consistent in her delivery of service and has a deep understanding of recruitment in NZ.

Kerry Lila General Manager, Hallensteins Brothers

We have worked with Jodi over the last 7 years – Jodi took time to understand our business and our needs to ensure she presented the right candidates, efficiently and effectively every time!

Jacqui Coombes Director HR&NZ, Bunnings Australia and New Zealand Jacqui Coombes Testimonial - Director HR&NZ for Bunnings Australia and New Zealand

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