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The two minute tool.

After investigating thefts in several nursing homes and hospitals, I developed a potential tool to screen dishonest candidates out of the hiring process. Its basic premise is simple: Dishonest employees are often easily detectable because they cannot remember how they lied.

This is why "The Two Minute Tool" is very effective.

During the interview phase of the hiring process, with the employment application out of sight, the interviewer places a blank sheet of paper in front of the prospective employee. The interviewer then instructs the candidate to write his or her employment history in revere order from the way listed on the employment application (i.e. present to past or past to present). The rationale here is that people generally remember events as they occurred, in a sequential order. The dishonest employee may forget how the lied on their employment application. Once the reverse-order listing has been completed, have the applicant sign and date it.

If the two histories are fairly consistent, proceed with the pre-employment screening. Any discrepancies, however, are clues to key on for the interviewer. A clear pattern may appear with the candidate attempting to conceal a bad history. For example:

* The order of previous employment may change.

* The dates of employment may be substantially different.

* They may be workplaces they "forgot" to mention.

These discrepancies should be followed up in the interview. Very often one finds that the dishonest candidate becomes confused, acts uncomfortable and says things that virtually telegraphs dishonesty.

Admittedly, an industry-wide paranoia seems to exist over what can and cannot be done during an employment interview. And it is true that guidelines promulgated by the EEOC and other human rights bodies, as well as "Right of Privacy" litigation trends against hospitals, should make administrators and human resource practitioners very careful of how they conduct an employment interview. The key is consistency, and a rigid standard of practice.

After all, nobody wants to intentionally hire a problem. From the human resources and crime prevention points of view, it is better to leave a position vacant than to hire a bad employee. If this technique is applied consistently to all applicants in a given job class, discrmination cannot be an issue. An explanation, if needed, may be, "We have selected a candidate who more closely meets our criteria." Accusations of dishonesty should be avoided.

If the rejected candidate persists or hedges towards a discrimination complaint, a second interview may be adviseable during which the most serious discrpencies can be reviewed. Certainly, legal council should always be consulted in these situations.

Even if the applicant is hired, the Two Minute Tool may be saved for eventual use during an internal investigation. Documented evidence of indicating background falsification may be used as further grounds for termination.

Obviously, the Two Minute Tool is only part of the interviewing-hiring process, and it must be used with some judgment and understanding of human nature. It just may, though, give you that all-important clue that will save you from headaches and heartaches in the future. And you can't beat the cost: One blank piece of paper.

See facing page for an example of how this works (names have been changed).

Ken Bayne, CHPA, is security director of the Deaconess Medical Center, Spokane, WA, and a consultant for nursing homes and hospitals.
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Title Annotation:screening of nursing homes applicants
Author:Bayne, Ken
Publication:Nursing Homes
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Words:550
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