People are sometimes not as they seem. When a company is hiring somebody, they pretty much have to do a background check these days. This is what happens when that background check backfires.
“We had hired a new entry-level graphic designer. Let’s call him Will. He had talent and a decent portfolio, but there were some strange things right from the beginning
For example he would always come in wearing expensive suits, despite our being a jeans-and-t-shirt office, and his having a very low-paid position. We didn’t care much about that. No clue how he affords that wardrobe, but that’s none of our business. He’s a designer, and I guess he likes to look nice.
The weirdest thing was that he adamantly refused to accept direct deposit for his paycheck. He wanted a physical check every other week. Strange, but okay. Designers are eccentric sometimes.
So, one evening we’re all working really late on a project together. We’ve got some bottles of drinks around, some pizzas, etc. It’s miserably long hours but we’re a good team and having a good time.
All of a sudden Will looks up from his computer and runs as fast as he can out the door. Not a word to any of us, he just dashes out. We all look at each other, try calling him, etc, with no answer. We finish up the project and go home still wondering what happened.
The next day Will doesn’t come into work. He doesn’t come in the next day either. We try calling his emergency contact, but don’t get any response there either.
So we Google him, and see the FBI press release. Turns out he was arrested about 500 miles from our office a few hours after he ran out. I guess he got a tip that the FBI was onto him and decided to make a run for it.
Turns out he had been defrauding payroll companies for years, to the tune of about $1M. That’s why he didn’t want direct deposit for his paycheck. What he didn’t know was that we processed our physical checks through the same payroll company as our direct deposit, and they reported his new address to the FBI. Oops.”
Just Make Sure To Lock Up At Night
“I was interviewing a much older guy for a similar position of mine. Everything seemed okay, and he was our best candidate. Before moving forward, I did a quick Google search to only find out that he was fired from his previous job because of stealing $5000 worth of computer equipment.
My director hired him anyway.”
I Interviewed My Stalker
“I used to manage a group home for developmentally disabled adults. I was in charge of hiring the staff that we needed to make the house run properly. I saw a name come across my desk that I had to interview and I instantly looked them up.
Turns out, this was a girl that had an obsessive crush on me from years ago, and on her social media, she still did.
I was in a panic, because she was basically stalking everything I did, and I really couldn’t back out because it was 5 minutes before the interview. She came in, and it was so weird…she acted normal.
We interviewed in a professional manner for about 15 minutes, showed her around, and I thought, ‘Wow, maybe she has done some maturing and just let it go.’
Then we got back to my office.
I started a sentence like, ‘Well, (name), it’s been a pleasure having you here and I-……’
‘Oh, no no no, we aren’t done yet. You think you can ignore everything like you don’t know what’s going on?!’ I know where you work, now. I know where you live, and I’m going to keep calling.’
There was more she was saying along the lines of me telling her to kindly leave, but a phone call to the police, as well as a restraining order kept her away from work and my life.”
Fake It Till You Make It
“Everything looked good on her resume, she was very professional and enthusiastic in her interview and just had that…thing. That self-starter attitude that made you feel like ‘this girl is going to get stuff done.’
Well…we ran a background check and literally nothing checked out. She was not actually licensed in her field like she claimed and she had about a dozen priors for various white collar crimes and none of her work history or references checked out. I guess she was just hoping that her charisma would win us over and that we wouldn’t bother checking up on her.”
They Hired A Monster
“I was a restaurant manager and the owner hired this guy as a chef without doing basic research (which he did a few times). Anyways, the guy said he had won several awards and worked with celebrities, etc.
The guy was a total punk to everyone on staff. I decided to Google him. First hit is a mugshot from a narcotics arrest. Then more articles, one about where he lied about getting a James Beard award from a previous restaurant he worked at. A comment about him owing 25,000 or something to his former boss. The only positive restaurant review he had was from 1990.
I came in after the weekend to show my boss this stuff, when I learn he was fired the night before for exposing himself to one of the waitresses.”
They May Seem Cool
“A guy got hired at my work when I was in between being contract and permanent, so I never met him.
Dude had just left a good teaching job with a quickness, was vague about his reasons for leaving for a temporary, lower paying job with less benefits. He was apparently super normal seeming and very nice, everyone liked him.
Some weeks later he just doesn’t come in. Find out that night shift while I was messing around Googling people and found out that teacher dude had been arrested for having absolute loads of child smut. The background check hadn’t caught it because he hadn’t been charged (or maybe I mean convicted) yet (was what I was told).
Obviously that bit of information zipped around the company almost instantly and HR fired him immediately. He was in prison last I heard.
Also one of my girlfriends dated a guy who had killed someone outside of the US. He just told potential employers that he ‘couldn’t remember’ his address when he was living abroad and so he’s been passing background checks with no problems.
So employees of a large overpriced electronics store, some of you are working with a murderer who did time in an international prison. At least one, anyway.”
Just Throw His CV Away
“Had a guy apply for an entry level post with us recently. His CV was okay, so we offered him an interview. Social media seemed okay too. He never turned up for the interview.
A couple of weeks later, there’s a story about him in the local paper. Turned out that he was living at the local boarding house, and was found in the kitchen one morning totally wasted, wearing nothing but a pair of socks. When a couple of women who also lived there tried to take him back to his room, he got violent and assaulted them. Given the dates stated in the paper, he didn’t turn up because he’d been in jail at the time of the interview.
His resume has now been added to the ‘do not touch with a 10ft barge pole’ section in our filing cabinet.”
What A Scheme
“I was hiring for our late night shift (shifts ending at 2am/3am) and she was willing to work anything and looking for about 25 hours per week. This was absolutely what the company was looking for. She had mentioned that she was ‘grieving her little boy who passed two weeks ago and needed to do something to occupy her time.’
She finished her one day of computer training and stopped showing up. Later in the week she sent me an email stating that she ‘wasn’t ready to come back to work like she’d thought’, which was understandable.
My assistant manager and I decided to look her up only to find that she had multiple GoFundMe pages set up for her sob story with different amounts of time that the supposed child had been dead for. Her facebook was full of selfies and party photos.
She ended up asking for the job back a few months later and we shot her down pretty quick.”
“We had a near miss with one senior hire. We were talking about him and how something seemed a little off when we Googled him. It was like he didn’t exist at all and the odd super positive tidbit of information that was always a bit too much of a stretch to be completely believable. I mean one or two people saying you’re the best thing on earth is one thing but this was like all you got were these sporadic and hyper, manic observations.
One of the junior members of the team pipes up at this point. She’s overheard what we’re talking about. Turns out she’s worked the last two places he’s worked and he’s like a locust. He’s extremely good at his job but an absolute nightmare in all other ways. Unwanted harassment, bullying, turning up wasted. He has a really niche skill set, there are always more roles than people to fill so he hops along, bullies everyone out of their role in his team, brings in his entourage to the point where almost anyone normal rage quits because the atmosphere is so toxic. Then when HR try and step in he hits them with a constructive dismissal case and drags lawyers in so there’s no paper trail
She said he’d done it at her last job and the one before. It’s one of those things that once you know, you start to notice stuff. So at events when somebody mentioned this guy’s name half the table would just give each other a look and the others would have no idea. It’s not quite an open secret but it’s definitely on the grapevine anecdotally if not formally.
Glad we dodged that bullet.”
She Did Not Like Printers
“I worked at two ad agencies in a row, and in NYC, ad agencies can tend to be a bit incestuous – everyone knows everyone because they’ve all moved around from ad agency to ad agency.
At the first agency I worked for, one of the senior account people was this complete crazy lady. Just totally nuts, with real anger issues on top of it. During one incident, the toner cartridge in the printer ran out while she was printing something important. So rather than just change the cartridge out like a normal person would, she freaked out, almost tore the top off the printer to get at the cartridge, and then threw the cartridge across the room at her assistant’s head (who luckily ducked in time). Her assistant quit, and the boss lady was fired shortly after.
I also quit about six months later and wound up at a new agency, where about a year after that, the old assistant who almost got her head lobbed off interviewed with us. She didn’t get the job, which was a shame, because she really was good.
One month later, who should show up but the former boss lady, interviewing at our agency for a senior account position. Before my boss even got to her, I scooted into her office, shut the door, and was like, ‘Ohhhh, no no no no – I know her from the last agency I was at. She’s got a total rage problem; she almost brained her assistant with a toner cartridge that she winged at her head!’
My boss took that very much into consideration, and she wound up not being hired.”
I Didn’t Know I Worked In Africa
“I heard we’d hired a new guy and so I looked him up on LinkedIn. Turns out he was just leaving a job where my father-in-law worked. I sent pops a text and asked him about the new hire and opinions on him, and didn’t get an answer. When I went for dinner the following weekend, I asked again. Turns out this new hire said he was leaving his former job to go and take care of his ailing mother in Africa. His former company said to not worry about it. Take an unpaid leave, and come back when you can, however long it takes.
I went in on Monday and told my boss. He didn’t fire him immediately, but when he didn’t perform well in his job after a couple of months, he got canned…
And then proceeded to go back to his former company and tell them he was back from Africa. They did not rehire him.”
Good Thing I Called
“I was the intern responsible for checking references and running backgrounds at our company and this was in my first week where I was just learning how to go about things.
This guy did great in the interview so I got the go ahead to run a background check and call his references. Something popped up in his background so I had to call the police station to figure out how to get a copy of the police report since whatever happened had just happened.
I talked to someone on the phone and gave them a his name and who I was and what I was calling for. After doing so, whoever I was talking to didn’t know how to go about obtaining the information on her end. She put me on a brief hold then took a call back number and promised to call me back with some info.
Well, it’s a good thing neither of us knew what to do because I received a call from the police department less than an hour later. An officer told me ‘I’m really not supposed to be doing this but I just wanted to let you know that interview guy had been arrested for a carjacking a woman and that woman works at your company.’
He saw the company name and the guys name and warned us. I’m so grateful too.”
He Knew His Stuff
“Years ago at my previous company. A few co-workers met a young man interested in a software development position with us at a local trade conference and invited him to come interview with us later that afternoon.
Said fellow eagerly provided the link to his blog. Top post was about being recently released on probation after a stint for illicit narcotic sales, and how his upstream supplier was kind enough to front him some startup capital and some new inventory to resume his little side gig, as his previous stash was allegedly confiscated during a previous visit by law enforcement. Co-workers and I decided to read a few more posts just to make sure we didn’t confuse him for the wrong guy and inadvertently got the wrong link.
Sure enough, a few photos in some older posts confirmed it was the same guy. We managed to get little additional work done in the rest of the afternoon between speculation as to when his apparent commitment to full public disclosure would land himself back in the clink and whether we ought to even mention having checked out his blog.
We all had to try very hard to keep a straight face when he did come in for his interview. He actually was reasonably knowledgeable when it came to the job, and somehow we managed to completely avoid the question of his side gig in recreational pharmaceutical sales. We gave him an A+ for honesty, and an F for good sense.
He was not extended an offer for employment.”
“I worked for a service company. You know how places will outsource things like food service to Sodexo? Just hand off the entire department? That was how our company operated except we specialized in maintenance, housekeeping and laundry. I worked in the healthcare section of this place. I was assigned to a large nursing home and basically given charge of the whole department. I was a department head and sat at the big table with the DON, Director of Social Work etc. the only difference was that they were employed by the facility and I was getting paid by a third party company.
This is important because, to all outsiders, I worked for this nursing home and so did my entire staff.
We were constantly hiring housekeepers. It was a terrible job and the pay was horrific. You could make more money as a cashier at a convenience store without ever having to haul around giant contractor size garbage bags full of nasty adult diapers. So we always had jobs posted and I always kept a stash of applications at the ready.
One day I get a call from the front desk saying someone wants to apply. I’m busy, fill out the app and leave it. Nope, she’s insistent that she needs to see me.
This is a big red flag given the terrible nature of this work. If you’re that desperate for a job that is this terrible then there is usually a frightening reason.
But I meet with her anyway. She’s nice but seems off. Work history is solid. She seems motivated but there is just something striking me odd about this woman. She’s early 60s.
After she leaves I immediately call my counterpart at the last place she worked. What she didn’t know was that we both worked for the same company. That, if she came to work for me, she’d be working back at the same company she just left. She likewise didn’t know that we had the contract for all but two nursing homes in that 50 mile radius. And we were a close bunch.
As soon as I mention the name the other manager just yells ‘Nope!’ Into the phone.
She had been a CNA but she was fired by that facility. She was brought back in as a housekeeper because we had two different HR systems and she slipped through by switching shifts. She had been fired as a CNA for trading body services for narcotics. She’d tug off an elderly resident in exchange for their pills, basically.
As soon as the other guy found out, he fired her but not before complaints hit his desk that the new housekeeper was up to her old shenanigans.
Come to find out that her lengthy career was actually far worse that it looked on paper. She was an LPN for years but lost her license and job for stealing substances. She became a CNA because, at that time in my state, CNAs were certified not by the state but by private facilities. You got to call yourself a CNA if an RN worked through the 15 hour state mandated training with you. But you just had proof of completion for the course as evidence of this. You didn’t actually get licensed by the state (no longer the case).
So basically she would just change her job title. Jobs where she was a nurse, on her resume, became jobs where she was a CNA. Then, after that shoe dropped, she just went back and said she’d been a housekeeper the whole time.
She resurfaced some years later doing private duty personal care.”
It Gets Weirder
“I was the admin assistant at a smallish company. There was a dude in IT who creeped me out. One time he called the office (caller ID showed his last name but a different first name than I knew him by), and he just sat there silently on the line until I hung up. He also once pointed at where my necklace sat on my throat and said that if he stabbed me there I’d bleed out in like thirty seconds – another IT guy stepped in to take him back to their office. He’d tell big-fish stories about his time in the military, and show us scars on his hands and arms from deployments.
Bear in mind that I was 22 at this point, and this was my first big-girl job after college. Ten years on, I realize I should have reported him and also bought some pepper spray, but at the time I just thought he was weird and missed the serious red flags.
So one day this dude stops coming to work. After three days his paperwork was terminated per policy, but IT being IT, they Googled the guy’s name to see if he’d been in a terrible car accident or something.
What they found was even less expected.
Turns out the two-names thing was not him going by his middle name, like I thought. No, he’d given one name for work to pass a background check, because the other name – the one that showed up on caller ID when he creeped on me – had warrants out. Sounds like the work name and attached social belonged to a relative. His ‘military experience’ was a lie; the scars were from fights he’d gotten into over bad substance deals. He’d scammed people out of money ‘to buy him a bulletproof jacket for his deployment.’ Someone he’d defrauded had made a website with his photo and various aliases, warning people to beware of his lies, in addition to the public arrest records IT found.
Oh, but it gets weirder. I worked with a friend, and we were at a party talking about this guy, and said friend pulled up the tell-all site. Another friend gasped and said, ‘Holy cow I know him!!!’ She worked at a Common Sense, and that guy had been banned from the store for creeping on the employees. His smut fetish was bizarrely specific and also involved ladies with my skin tone and hair color. Ew.
HR updated their screening policies after that. One of my jobs from then on out was to Google the names of prospective employees.”