Mismatch of information during recruitment process

Hoping for some advice please.

We advertised a Midday role, received one application who was interviewed by 2 colleagues. 

They wanted to offer as felt that she would be a good fit for the team etc ; so I made a few further checks and discovered that there was a  mismatch with information provided around dates previously worked in companies.  Contacted applicant to outline concerns (a mum at school) and was sent a further list of dates/companies worked which did not match with the information received.  I confirmed that due to the lack of consistent information, in line with our strict safer recruitment practice(s) I would be unable to take the application forward.

She came to see me today when picking up her child to say how sorry she was for not being clear on her application but she suffers with ADHD and completed the form in a blind panic as was concerned about missing the closing date.  She understands she has messed things up and completely understands our need to safeguard the children and would like another opportunity to sit down and provide clear chronological information regarding her history of employment.  She has not worked for a while.

She also informed me that she has volunteered in one of our Trust schools (newly joined the MAT) and was responsible for raising a large sum of money by organising a charity dinner in 2018.  She didn't mention these on her application as she did not feel it would be relevant and we would only be interested in paid employment history.

I have told her that all I can do is put her version of events to the HOS who would need to make a decision as to whether we proceed but it is doubtful based on the inconsistencies within her application.

She is a mum at school who is known to a few of our staff.  Does anyone have any words of advice as to how we should proceed fairly with this.

  • You have nothing at all to lose by sitting down with them and getting all the facts. Going through their history carefully.

    At the very least it will be seen as a PR success with parents.

    Then you can make an informed careful decision.
  • It appears you have a policy which excludes anyone who may, for whatever reason, put information on their application form which is either accidentally or on purpose incorrect but later provides an adequate, reason - such as she's explained? Mmmmm? Not too sure thats a good enough policy. I don't quite see how failing to put the correct information on an application form 'safeguards' children but never mind.

    Is the information you put on an application form so damming that it cannot be rescinded in the face of an adequate reason or explanation? Sticking to any policy in the face of common sense strikes me as too inflexible - in terms of recruitment.
  • Also a word of caution. She has mentioned her ADHD to you - this may amount to a disability. To not provide adjustments (e.g. in the form of sitting down with her and giving her another chance to explain) could amount to discrimination. Give her another chance - you have nothing to lose and then make an informed decision.
  • Hi Sharon,

    I know that in a school setting, the strict safer recruitment policies are sometimes out of your hands so you may have identified the only option in terms of putting her version of events to the HOS and seeking their approval to proceed, or confirmation that the inattention to accuracy is too concerning - like Keith said, it would be worth getting her to go through it again at least - you may find a third attempt proves/disproves inconsistency will be an issue.

    Something I'm not entirely sure on from your post; did the applicant just get the dates of employment wrong - so she did work at wherever she said, but just got the dates muddled e.g. said June when it was July OR was it almost as if the version submitted at application was completely different to the version you were able to obtain via your later checks?

    Kind regards
  • Hi Sharon, I work within Education setting too and it would appear that your Trust has interpreted Safer Recruitment Guidelines in its harshest sense. It doesn't say gaps are not acceptable just that they should be explored to ensure there is nothing of concern. As she has not worked for a while you are likely to be into needing personal references anyway so does it really matter that there is some confusion on dates as long as it is explainable. Confusion on dates is not unusual really as you can be going back numerous years and I assume you do not reference for an infinite period, so as long as you get a version you are happy with is that not enough?
  • In reply to Sandra:

    Hi Sharon, I would echo Sandra's advice, the guidelines allow you to explore and ensure you are happy with the explanations and have no further concerns. You have nothing to lose by asking her to come back and go through together.
  • In reply to Rachael:

    Thank you all for your responses. I am happy to hear that you are in agreement with getting her back in and am working with her to at least try to understand where she has been working (or not). I am conscious of the ADHD diagnosis which could be considered a disability which is why I wanted to receive opinions from my initial post. Really hard in schools when attending Safer Recruitment training and listening to all the awful things that can happen. The responsibility to do all we can to keep the children safe is massive!
    Anyway I have asked my candidate to come back in and we can discuss her previous roles and what she has been doing. I also intend to ask the charity where she did the fundraising for a reference and then take this to the Head for a decision. Thanks again, your advice/support on this site is invaluable.