A wrong hire is costly, frustrating, and often damaging to morale. “You better make sure you've got talented people who are also team players,” says Lee Wegner, secretary/treasurer of ABC Seamless, a Fargo, N.D., company that installs seamless siding and operates a franchise dealer network. “You have to have … people who are leaders in their own right, who want to grow, as opposed to somebody you have to continually explain things to,” Wegner says.

Five years ago, ABC Seamless needed to hire an accountant. The company enlisted the aid of a local accounting firm, which operated a service to recruit accountants. Wegner says everyone involved in the hire believed they had found their ideal candidate: a gentleman who'd worked with a large company that was also a franchise operation with affiliates in many states.

“At the end of the interview,” Wegner recalls, “the accountant with the large accounting firm asked, ‘Is there anything not on your resume that we should know about?' The guy's face turned pink. He admitted he'd gotten into the till at his last business.”

Ever since then, ABC Seamless has posed that question at the end of every interview. Most of the time people just say there isn't anything that they need to add. But not long ago, a candidate for a key sales position was in the office for his third and final interview. The candidate, who seemed ideal in all respects, was close to being hired. Until that final question was posed.

“The guy suddenly got very belligerent,” Wegner recalls. “He said, ‘What's the matter, don't you trust me?' He disqualified himself in a heartbeat.”

Wegner suggests that as many as 50% of resumes contain some type of misstatement. The company scrupulously checks all personal references and requires job candidates to take a personality profiling test. Many owners of ABC Seamless siding franchise operations also ask the final question. Wegner describes it as a “knockout” because “you can see their faces and you can see that something's not quite right. At that point, you better dig a lot deeper.”