Recruiting a fraudster

If anything can scupper your business, it’s hiring the wrong person.
 


If anything can scupper your business, it’s hiring the wrong person.
 

If anything can scupper your business, it’s hiring the wrong person.
 
Liz Jackson started her company, Great Guns Marketing, when she was 25. Working from home initially, she decided to hire a woman to help her who she thought had never been given a proper chance.
 
‘It was the worst mistake of my life,’ says Jackson. ‘She was a heavy drug user and I ended being fearful of being in my own house with her.’
 
For many business owners, it’s a case of having to learn the hard way. According to a survey recently conducted by the CBI, a growing number of companies are now looking to recruit additional staff. Among the 330 employers surveyed, the number of companies operating a recruitment freeze has fallen from a peak of 61 per cent in Spring 2009 to 7 per cent this Autumn, with these concentrated in the public sector and construction.
 
It’s good to know that businesses are looking to expand or, perhaps more realistically, at least get operations back to pre-recession levels of normality. But it does mean that the old recruitment conundrums will once again have to be faced.
 
Paul Ragan, a serial entrepreneur and investor who established insurance brokers Motaquote at the age of 23 and sold it for approximately £20 million in 2008, says you have to trust your gut instinct.
 
‘I had a guy who was being extremely successful in sales but clearly wasn’t putting the effort in. It didn’t add up so I challenged my guys internally and the guy directly to explain how he got these results. I eventually had an audit done and everybody told me it was fine. Six months later I discovered there was £1 million to be written off – I was right all along.’
 
As much as you need to go through the basics when hiring, such as checking references (which plenty of companies still don’t do) and giving tests, there will always be an element of the unknown quantity when taking on a new person. How will that person act under pressure? What’s going on in their private life?
 
It’s not easy to vet emotion and psychology, which is why mistakes happen. For Ragan, experience has taught him a simple lesson: ‘If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.’

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